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Rhammill 08-03-2013 09:43 AM

Full or Shoal Keel on New Oyster 575?
I've purchased a new Oyster 575 and will need to make a "keel decision" in the next few months. While we will be bringing it across the Atlantic, most of the intended sailing will be in the Caribbean, out of the BVI. There are lots of opinions and I want to make the right decision - "realities" of the destinations versus all the performance concerns (pointing, leeway, stability, etc.). FYI, we are cruisers, not racers.

Short of a crystal ball, I'm amassing thoughts/perspectives form those of you who have "been there, done that".

Thanks so much.

Rhammill 08-03-2013 09:48 AM

Re: Full or Shoal Keel on New Oyster 575?
I neglected to include the draft differences on the 575 in my original post...

Full keel is 8' 10", shoal keel is 6' 9".


Minnewaska 08-03-2013 10:42 AM

Re: Full or Shoal Keel on New Oyster 575?

Originally Posted by Rhammill (Post 1068466)
....FYI, we are cruisers, not racers.....

There is your clear answer. For a cruiser, the performance drop just isn't all that noticeable. If you're cruising, its much nicer to have more anchorage options and/or margin. We have the shoal keel at 6.5ft. No disappointment at all.

A new Oyster?....... I hate you. :)

lajimo 08-03-2013 08:48 PM

Full or Shoal Keel on New Oyster 575?
Hard to not be jealous of this post :(

Zanshin 08-04-2013 07:25 AM

Re: Full or Shoal Keel on New Oyster 575?
That is the same draft as my boat and with almost 9 feet of draft I haven't felt myself constrained much. I keep my boat at Nanny Cay in the off season and getting to the haulout pit can be a bit challenging due to some shoaling and one can't get into Anegada but in calm weather one can always anchor outside the entrance markers with the other "big boys" :)

Although one can head out to a marina inside the lagoon in St. Martin, the anchorage is out - the only place I found to anchor was still halfway inside the channel and I was still churning up muck with the keel while swinging at anchor.

After that the anchorages further south are all deep enough for a deep keel, sometimes I end up anchoring further out in places such as Deshaies or Portsmouth in Dominica, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The only place that is going to be off limits, if I intended on heading that far up north, is the Bahamas.

All in all I like my deep keel and given a choice wouldn't reconsider and go for a shoal keel.

Minnewaska 08-04-2013 08:54 AM

Re: Full or Shoal Keel on New Oyster 575?
Zanchin, do you notice a significant cruising advantage of the performance keel under sail? You note a couple of basic advantages of the shoal keels around shore, where you have trouble getting to the travel lift or into popular anchorages. In my way of thinking, cruisers spend more time around shore than sailing. (Unless one sails more than 12 hrs a day, everyday :) )

Everyone should love their boat and have it the way they like it. I'm not suggesting there is a right and wrong.

blt2ski 08-04-2013 02:19 PM

Re: Full or Shoal Keel on New Oyster 575?

Some of the issue may also depend upon the how hard one ones to think/work at getting into a given marina, haul out etc. If one wants to go there at any time, one needs a draft that equals the lowest range. If one does not have an issue with thinking, planning etc, then one can go with a deeper draft! Then get the sailing benifits of the deeper draft boat.

If one wanted BOTH options, then one has to figure out how to have a CB or lifting daggerboard as some LARGER boat manufactures are offering. If the OP has this option, I personally would go that route, then deep draft, last after exhausting ALL OTHER options would be a shoal draft. Assuming one is going to have draft issues everywhere they go. I would have a hard time assuming EVERYWHERE there will be draft issues with the drafts mentioned.


Minnewaska 08-04-2013 02:28 PM

Re: Full or Shoal Keel on New Oyster 575?
My question, however, is how much of a difference in performance is there for cruising? For one, I find the shoal keel to make very little difference. I'm sure I slide a bit more to leeward at the highest point, but I'm cruising, not racing to a mark. If I have any room to spare, I may just have to point a tad higher than the performance keel, then there is virtually no difference in VMG.

On the other hand, having a shallower draft is clearly an advantage around the shore.

Again, I have no beef with anyone that wants a deep keel for cruising. I just haven't heard anyone even attempt an explanation on its cruising advantage. To me, it seems that slight advantage would be lost, while I was eating a sandwich on a cruise and failing to trim properly.

bobperry 08-04-2013 02:30 PM

Re: Full or Shoal Keel on New Oyster 575?
There is no substitute for draft.
To say the performance difference is negligable is not correct if you are looking at VMG's.

But if draft prevents you from going where you want to go I would consider that "poor" performance.

I would ask the builder to provide you with VPP print outs, not just polar plots but the entire print out and then you can see for yourself to three decimal places exactly what the difference in performance is. No need to guess. Be scientific about it. Wear a white lab coat. Put something important looking in the pocket.

blt2ski 08-04-2013 05:57 PM

Re: Full or Shoal Keel on New Oyster 575?

While as you say, you may need a bit extra to eat a sandwich with a shoal vs a deep. Assuming you only sail 10-50 miles to a place, anchor/dock etc for the night. Lets look at this from say a 2000 mile jaunt! A typical shoal vs deep draft is slower by 20-30 secs a mile in PHRF ratings. With this in mind, I realize put an AC crew in the shoal draft with bad sail, they will knock the socks off of a very well prepped but poor crewed deep draft of the same model!

lets say it is 2000 miles, at 20 secs a mile that is 28 hrs or there abouts if I did my figuring correct. A bit more than eating a sandwich. at 30 secs that is 42 hrs! A bunch of time in some cases.

Some say having a folding/feathering prop is not worth the expense, because they are cruising. I would say .5-.75 kph is also something to think about, as that is an extra 12-18 miles per day! Potentially as much as 24 for some boats. Again, over a 2000 mile stretch, that adds up to a day or two getting there sooner, less food etc to pack, potentially out running a storm or equal, reality is quite unlikely!

In our local race fleet, we have three of us with 28'ish foot on deck boats, my Jeanneau Arcadia, Cal T2, and a catalina 28 mk II. All have simalar hull deminsions. The C28 a shoal keel at 4' the T2's are ar 4.5, my Arcadia is 5.5'. WHen we have things going right, we can out point the T2's by 3-5*, the T2's out point the C28 by 3-5* also. Hence in this size boat, setups, why there is a 20 some odd sec spread in the boat ratings.

I guess if you do not care how long it takes to get somewhere, then the deep draft vs shoal is not an issue....... In my mind, if a person can afford an Oyster new, assuming the OP is buying a new one, I would swag Oyster would be willing to modify that boat with a dagger board frankly at a 5-10% max cost increase, so for me, well worth it to get the best of both worlds!


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