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dave6330 07-11-2013 01:04 PM

Full Keel
At the end of the Summer my wife and I will be moving into the Pac NW (Puget Sound area) and we will begin actively looking for our retirement boat. Previously we've owned a Pearson 365 Ketch and an Omega 36 Sloop.

Question for the masses: Just how bad are full keel boats at making way under sail in light to moderate winds - say 7-15 knots?

We've never had a full keel before and would be interested in knowing how well they perform in the conditions we can expect in the PNW.



ctl411 07-11-2013 01:33 PM

Re: Full Keel
The keel is only one part of the boats performance. One full keel boat my be fine another may not move unless its blowing 20. How did you like the performance of your 365 compare that against the specs of the boats you are looking at. Giving the 365 the edge for not being a full keel. Also walk the docks and get a few rides to see what you think.

dave6330 07-11-2013 01:46 PM

Re: Full Keel
We loved sailing on our first boat, an Omega 36 sloop. Kind of like a sports car - fun to 'run around' in but not sufficient for what we were looking for in a live-aboard cruiser. We sailed the Pearson across the Gulf of Alaska and absolutely loved the way she felt in a heavy sea. The deal breaker for her was the lack of a dedicated second berth. When we took our son and his family on a weekend cruise we found (to our chagrin) that you couldn't make out the settee into a double without completely blocking the path from the v-berth to the galley. We are looking at yachtworld by way of a preliminary search and have noted several interesting candidates, several of which are full keel boats. Great reputation for heavy weather cruisers but just how bad would they sail under 'normal' PNW weather?

bobperry 07-11-2013 01:53 PM

Re: Full Keel
I would warn you against lumping all full keel boats into the same performance basket.
And I will also warn you that in the PNW we don't consider 7 to 15 knots "light air". Here light air is 2 to 4 knots and we get a lot of it. Couple that with a 3 knots tide current and you can have a challenging few hours.

In light air wetted surface is your enemy and pretty much any full keel boat is going to have more wetted surface than a modern split appendage design. But the term "full keel" is used to describe a wide range of boats and there are full keels and all variations on that theme and some will have less wetted surface and more artfully shaped keel foils.

You should pay attention to the SA/D of the boats you consider. Horsepower is a huge help in light air as is overall height of the rig.

ctl411 07-11-2013 01:54 PM

Re: Full Keel
The ones I come across out on the lake are pretty doggy. Island packet 465, CT 41 and the like. My old boat H37c was not light wind rocket but would easily out run the CT and others like it similarly sized. The 465 would walk away once wind speed hit 12-15 kts.
If you liked the 365 how about a 424? Might be a good compromise as all boats are in one way or the other.

ctl411 07-11-2013 02:03 PM

Re: Full Keel
Bob types faster and better. And yes 12-15 true is a good breeze here also. My numbers are for apparent by 15 true my boat is/was powered up.

dave6330 07-11-2013 02:03 PM

Re: Full Keel
We'll probably take a look at the P424 - there are apparently a couple in Anacortes. Engine access would have to be better than on the P365 - I didn't mention that one. On the 365 you have to lay on the galley floor, reach thru a hole in the back of the locker under the sink and feel blindly for the engine dipstick. Not a good incentive for doing regular maintenance. Changing the impeller on the backwards facing engine requires getting into the lazarette along with some pretty athletic contortions.

dave6330 07-11-2013 02:06 PM

Re: Full Keel

Originally Posted by ctl411 (Post 1057662)
Bob types faster and better. And yes 12-15 true is a good breeze here also. My numbers are for apparent by 15 true my boat is/was powered up.

Thus far our only sailing experience has been in Resurection Bay, Aialik Bay, Day Harbor and across the Gulf. We hope to VASTLY expand the scope of our experience once I retire.

SloopJonB 07-11-2013 02:17 PM

Re: Full Keel
Around here, they post "Strong Wind Warnings" at 20 knots and most people stay home. :D

Listen to the Maestro and get as much sail as you can handle - trust me.

bobperry 07-11-2013 02:20 PM

Re: Full Keel
Thanks Jon. I'm not sure why the OP is limiting himself to full keel boats. Why not look at some fin keel, more modern designs? There is nothing going on here that makes a full keel more appealing. Just the opposite. When the wind pipes up and it's gusting to 6 knots a nice modern boat will still move you along.

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