My First Coastal Cruiser
I am looking to buy my first coastal crusier. I have owned several beach cats, and made the decission that is is time to turn in my beach cat for a more versital boat. I am looking for something that is about 30 to 35 feet in lenigth. My question is what year and style of boat would be best for me? Also, what is the performance differences in a wing keel and a regular keel? What are some of the disadvantges of these hulls also?
It would help if you said where you will be sailiing, and what your rough budget is, as well as how many people will generally be aboard. Saying that you're looking for a coastal cruiser doesn't mean a whole lot. The sailing requirements for the Chesapeake are a bit different than those of the Pacific NorthWest, which vary a bit from those of New England. Garbage in ===> Garbage out... as they say in Comp Sci classes.
Also, just kind of curious, but why 30-35' in length?
I would suggest that you go to a few Fall boat shows and go on as many as possible, talk to the people there and get a sense for what most appeals to you from a functional, aesthetic and cost standpoint. Make a shortlist of these boats and do some searching on yachtworld.com.
There's a huge inventory of pre-owned 30-35 ft cruising sailboats on the market today. Take your time to check out the ones for sale near you, walk the docks of local marinas and strike up conversations with boat owners. You'd be surprised at how much sailors love to talk about their boats.
That is what I would do in your situation, before heavily relying upon biased information obtained on forums. Once you've narrowed your focus - then ask questions here.
This may be a little more info than you wanted but....
Firstly, let's assume that the following statements refer to well-designed boats where keel sizes, shapes and angles have been calculated specifically for the boats that they have been attached to.
The primary function of the modern keel is stability. The weight of the keel counteracts the lateral forces imposed on the sails and the rigging by the wind, allowing the boat to remain relatively upright.
Hence a keel has a certain weight, and this weight is carried sufficiently low, to provide the boat with enough stability to keep it close enough to level in order to obtain optimum performance in the range of windspeeds that the designer expects it to encounter. There is an additional margin of safety that is designed into the boat in order to ensure that it is likely to survive occasional winds that are stronger than anticipated.
Almost as important as this function of stability is the function of providing directional integrity. The keel, in conjunction with the rudder, is largely responsible for the boat's ability to maintain a course. This is particularly true in the case of shallower, flatter hulls, such as are often found today.
When you look at a wing or a fin keel, you will find that the keel has a foil shape, similar to that of an airplane wing, or a sail. Just as a wing or sail provide lift, the keel does as well. If a boat were able to sail completely level, and if there were no current in the water, there would be no need for this shaping as it is properly a symmetrical foil that is mounted exactly in the center of the boat, thus when the boat is level there is a null lift effect - i.e.: both sides are generating the same lift force, cancelling each other out.
But, because boats heel and because there are subsurface currents in the water, as the boat leans and the keel presents an angle to oncoming water, the keel acts like the wing of a plane to some extent, and provides an amount of lift to the hull, theoretically reducing wetted surface area, cutting down on friction and allowing the boat to sail faster.
The keels that provide the most lift to windward are the long, thin keels such as those found on Mumm and Mount Gay racing boats. Keel design is a subscience of yacht design and becomes quite complicated, taking into account hull shape, wind speed, hull loading, drag and flexibility.
In the case of a wing keel, there are additional lift forces and turbulence factors that come into play. Whereas a fin keel offers no lift when a boat is running directly downwind, the wing keel is shaped so that the horizontal projections, which are also foil shaped, provide some lift to the boat in the same manner as the fin does when it is angled on a boat sailing to windward.
In order for this to work properly, the angle of incidence of the wings has to be such that the keel does not create a stalling effect. Basically, if the boat is not going fast enough, the keel does not provide any lift and it does nothing but create additional drag. But when the boat is moving at sufficient speed, the wing keel will lift the boat up and allow it to sail more quickly.
When a boat heels as it sails to windward, the vertical fin area of the wing keel provides lift in the same manner as the fin keel does, but the wings themselves generate lift in a direction that is roughly 90 degrees to that generated by the fin portion.
As a result, it is very difficult for a boat equipped with a wing keel to sail quite as close to the wind, as a fin keeler, as the keel is generating what amounts to additional leeway.
Additionally, the wings create turbulence in the water flow at the point where they are attached to the fin, not a significant amount but it is there.
Where a boat is offered with two or three keel options, wing keels and shoal keels also tend to be heavier than the fins, as they are usually shorter, hence the righting moment they generate is less because the weight they carry is closer to the fulcrum (waterline) of the boat.
Finally, the surface area of a wing keel is usually greater than that of a fin or shoal keel, which creates additional drag.
In the end, it comes down to a matter of personal preference. As with everything else in life it is a compromise and there are benefits to both wings and fins.
I personally feel that a well-designed wing keel allows for a better all-around boat, but there are many who will argue this point bitterly. In order to notice the difference in performance between a fin and a correctly proportioned wing, you've got to be racing to windward pretty consistently and at my age the only racing on our boat is from the cockpit to the head and then to the fridge.
I enjoy the offwind bonus and shorter draft.
Thanks....I am sorry I should have specified where I would be sailing. I want to sail up and down the East coast of Florida and the Keys, also with some trips to the Bahamas here and there.
The boat will be Captaned by myself and my Girlfriend, with the ocasional stowaway here and there. My price range is from 30,000 to 35,000 dollars and I have found alot of boats in the 30 to 35 foot range for that price.
Thanks for all of the input from everyone and I will go to some boat shows this fall..
Well to really enjoy both sides of the keys you need a shallow draft so I would encourage you to look at centerboard boats which will also be good for the Bahamas. Pearson35 centerboard would be a good choice but there are lots of boats that will meet your requirements that have centerboards...Tartan, Irwin, Sabre, Bristol among them.
Thanks to everyone for the input... I have another queston though. What about the Gunters and the Catalina's? There just seems to be alot of them on the market in my area. Are they just a bad choice or a poorly made boat or are there just that many of them out there..
Now you may have started something. For every boat that is loved there is someone that hates it. Boat 101!
I would suggest that you do some searching on this site and you will find every and all questions delved into. Many opinions, some by people that actually have a clue. Some not! If nothing else, you will learn some things. If this thread takes off it will just end up being a regurgetation of old threads that would probably benefit you more.
What boat should you buy for $30-35,000. Probably a $25,000 boat with $10K to spend fixing it up. Good Luck.
I would suggest that you just go start looking at boats that brokers have. Check everything out, there is no perfect boat, but you may find something that appeals to you more than others. Then start researching the ones you like. Don't stretch your budget, buy under and leave room for improvement. Catalina 30 tall rig with shoal draft is good for your area, but not as good for a trip to the Bahamas. With price range, you can get a really good one and have money left over to put all the bells and whistles on it later if you like it enough to keep it. There are lots available because there were lots built, very popular. IIRC they are still the most produced boat out there.
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