Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Long Island, NY
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Here are my thoughts on various keel types for trailered boats:
My first boat was a Catalina 22 with a swing keel. The keel was about 500 lbs of iron. When up, the boat drew about 2' of water. When down, the draft was about 5'. The benefits are relatively easy launch and recovery from the trailer, and good sailing performance. If you run aground, you just raise the keel a little and sail off. The disadvantage is the keel pivot mechanism and the associated wear and maintenance. The Catalina uses a wire to raise and lower the keel and it can hum at certain speeds. There is a lock bolt that you are supposed to tighten when you raise or lower the keel. Many owners forget about that, and it wears out or breaks.
Another way of having a shallow draft is with a wing keel. No moving parts is a benefit, but a wing keel will be more difficult to launch and retrieve. I don't know if a wing keel boat would sail as well as a swing keel boat.
Some trailerable boats use water ballast. This is combined with a shallow draft. When you launch the boat you open a valve that allows water to enter a compartment. The water is used to ballast the boat and make it stiffer. When you recover the boat you open the valve and the water drains out. I have no idea how well water ballast works.
Some boats, like Marshal Catboats, use a wide beam and a shallow keel. These are suitable for trailering. The wide beam makes them stable, the shallow draft is good for thin water and trailer launch. They sail well off the wind, but not so well to weather.
That's all I have time for now. Others will jump in as well.
IMHO, I would not recommend a swing keel for a boat that is going to be left in salt water. Otherwise the swing keel is fine.
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY
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