Catalina wing keel or fin keel? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 31 Old 11-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Catalina wing keel or fin keel?

Hi Forum,
I am considering purchasing a late 80s Catalina 27 with either a wing keel or fin keel. Can't sail in Montana in the winter to discover the difference, so I need help in considering the sailing characteristics of both of those Catalina keels. Would truly appreciate hearing from you who have Catalina experience and or wisdom on that keel topic. Your insights would help this winter as I look at and sail prospective boats on the west coast. Also, is Catalina still using that late 80s wing keel?
Thank You,
Gary
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post #2 of 31 Old 11-22-2013
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Re: Catalina wing keel or fin keel?

As I understand it the older Catalina 27's come in 4 varieties: std rig, shoal draft, shoal draft & tall rig and tall rig w/slightly deeper keel. I'm not sure that the shallow draft models are wing keeled models but they might be.
You can look up the different types here:
CATALINA 27 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
For the Pacific coast of the US you should have no need for a boat with a smaller keel from what I hear.

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post #3 of 31 Old 11-22-2013
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Re: Catalina wing keel or fin keel?

One difference between the wing and the fin is that when you go aground with the wing, it digs into the bottom and you usually stay stuck. With a fin, which is what we have, we have always been able to just plow through with no problems.

Another difference is the draft. Your boat won't draft as much with a wing keel and that is usually preferable if you sail in shallow water.

Donna


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post #4 of 31 Old 11-22-2013
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Re: Catalina wing keel or fin keel?

Deep keel = better performance upwind. It's that simple.
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post #5 of 31 Old 11-22-2013
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Re: Catalina wing keel or fin keel?

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Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
One difference between the wing and the fin is that when you go aground with the wing, it digs into the bottom and you usually stay stuck. With a fin, which is what we have, we have always been able to just plow through with no problems.

Another difference is the draft. Your boat won't draft as much with a wing keel and that is usually preferable if you sail in shallow water.
Donna,
This keeps coming up, but it hasn't been our experience sailing on shallow Barnegat Bay.

So far we've had no problems getting off when we've bumped bottom.

I really think the difference is overstated, though some claim a difference between mud and sand, that I'm not sure about as we didn't go aground with her on the Chesapeake.

Jim

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post #6 of 31 Old 11-22-2013
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Re: Catalina wing keel or fin keel?

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Originally Posted by JimMcGee View Post
Donna,
This keeps coming up, but it hasn't been our experience sailing on shallow Barnegat Bay.

So far we've had no problems getting off when we've bumped bottom.

I really think the difference is overstated, though some claim a difference between mud and sand, that I'm not sure about as we didn't go aground with her on the Chesapeake.

Jim
Of course there are no absolutes. As with just about any question asked about boats "It depends" is usually the best answer but very unsatisfying for the person who asked.

I'm not sure about it being overstated for those who sail in areas with mud bottoms. I've heard quite a few say that they got stuck and could only get free with help. I suppose sand won't create that same suction that mud would.

Donna


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post #7 of 31 Old 11-22-2013
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Re: Catalina wing keel or fin keel?

As someone that just bought a C22 I sailed a bunch of boats before making a decision plus a few C25 and C27's also. Most had wings and a couple had fins and I do believe the fins point slightly higher but you also need good sails to get that advantage.

Like others said, in the Pacific draft does not seem to be an issue.

Overall, I would buy the best conditioned boat with the most upgrades and maintenance history regardless of the keel set-up IMHO...
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post #8 of 31 Old 11-22-2013
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Re: Catalina wing keel or fin keel?

If you're planning on keeping the boat in the West coast there's no reason to seek out a wing keel and the question is somewhat moot.

If you're lake sailing it would depend on the lake. If there's a prospect of trailering the boat to different regions, a shoal/wing keel will facilitate ramp launching better than a deep keel.

If there's zero interest in racing, or in maximizing performance upwind under sail, then a wing keel isn't likely to be noticeably different to you and perhaps you simply choose the nicest/best value package you come across, as azguy mentioned.

Ron

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post #9 of 31 Old 11-22-2013
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Re: Catalina wing keel or fin keel?

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Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
Of course there are no absolutes. As with just about any question asked about boats "It depends" is usually the best answer but very unsatisfying for the person who asked.

I'm not sure about it being overstated for those who sail in areas with mud bottoms. I've heard quite a few say that they got stuck and could only get free with help. I suppose sand won't create that same suction that mud would.
This always seems to come up with folks who sail the Chesapeake. Like anything else "best" really does depend on your cruising grounds and how you use the boat.

Not to hijack the thread but how did you make out with your new diesel? Did you go Beta marine?

95 Catalina 30 Island Time

The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective." - Henry David Thoreau
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post #10 of 31 Old 11-22-2013
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Re: Catalina wing keel or fin keel?

Faster nailed it. It is all about whether or not you need the shallower draft that the wing keel provides. If you do, get it. If you don't, then either will suffice, but the fin keel will probably sail just a bit better.

Here in Florida it would be a no-brainer for me--wing keel all the way. Where you are...?
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