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Saluki86 04-19-2012 05:23 PM

Looking to buy C21-many keel questions
Hello All,
I am looking to buy my first ever sailboat. I have found (but not seen personally) a 1973 C21 that looks in terrific shape.

It sounds like a great first time boat. I will be doing lake sailing and am 'upper' (cough cough) 40's and will probably sail it singlehanded.

But honestly, after reading what I can find on the web, the keel work needed is somewhat daunting and perhaps beyond my skill level. If I understand it correctly, to lower the keel;
  • The winch sits on top of a board and between the seats in the cockpit.
  • You crank down the keel GENTLY so it doesnt fall and crack the hull (really??) or fracture the hinge.
  • Go below and insert a pin (into where?) to lock it in a down position. Is that really needed?
  • Go back up. Unfasten the cable from the winch (?) and secure it (somewhere).
  • Remove the winch and board and place it below.
  • Cover up the keel slot with another board?
  • Reverse it to trailor.

Then the keel itself seems to present so many problems:
  • What is it made of? Iron will rust right?
  • What shape is the pivot pin in? How do you even see it to tell?
  • Is the cable fastened to the keel securely? What happens if the cable breaks? How is it fastened to the keel.
  • Should the pin be used if the keel is down? Seems like I have read YES ALWAYS put it in and then NO DONT put it in.
Sorry for all the question and non-correctly terminology but I was really ready to buy it but now I am unsure even what to look for or ask when I go see it.

Any advice or pictures would be great. i have read the Cal21 Keel thread and have a better understanding but sometimes the terminology twisted me up.

Thanks in advance.

cal30 04-19-2012 07:45 PM

Re: Looking to buy C21-many keel questions
Howzit Saluki86,
Illinois, Right? Your team was at the Maui B'Ball tournament recently. Anyway, go check out the boat, and trailer. If it is terrific then go for it. A centerboard set up is not too difficult. Most of your concerns would be alleviated by equipment in good condition. You'll be able to tell right off.Don't know where you'll sail, so I'll leave the performance of the boat to other owners. Most Cals are good sailing and user friendly . Good luck.

Saluki86 04-20-2012 11:03 AM

Re: Looking to buy C21-many keel questions
Yep, that would be the Salukis!! Ugliest racing dog you have ever seen.

Thanks for the info. I am thinking of moving to a fixed keel boat for my first one.

Any suggestions? I am thinking of staying in the 16-21 foot range, used, and trailorable.

Saluki86 04-20-2012 12:51 PM

Re: Looking to buy C21-many keel questions
Also, what exactly is the keel plug used for? Do you use it with a pin to hold it down?

cal30 04-20-2012 07:24 PM

Re: Looking to buy C21-many keel questions
not familiar with the keel plug, unless it's used to cover the space in the housing of the keel. We just stuffed a towel in there until the centerboard came back up. A fixed keel, trailor sailor would be harder to launch and would probably need a trailor tongue extension and a good sized truck. Rhodes 19 ia a good sailing boat. Don't know of many others. Good luck.

jimmyb514 04-21-2012 08:13 AM

Re: Looking to buy C21-many keel questions
The keel plug is as the name implies. It is a piece of wood (mine has a metal foot at forward end that rests against back edge of the lowered keel) that fills the slot in the center of the cockpit floor, from where the keel is lowered. It's not a tight seal that keeps the boat afloat, it just keeps your feet a little more dry. Should there be a problem with the one offered with the boat, there are dimensional drawings available online. Simple to make. I'll try to get back with a link to those drawings, and it contains a lot of other good info. Good luck!

jimmyb514 04-27-2012 10:16 AM

Re: Looking to buy C21-many keel questions
Here's that page. Credit Rod & Gordon Johnson/ NODROG. I had the chance to buy his boat, but passed it up as I didn't have a trailer. With the knowlage I now posess, I should have built a trailer just to get it home. Oh well.

sailnova 05-02-2012 06:01 PM

Re: Looking to buy C21-many keel questions
I can't help but get in on this conversation...I went back and forth with what I wanted in sailboat and ended up buying the cal21 without any research (go figure) because it was the "right" price. If you are looking for a boat you can easily launch then a swing keel boat is pretty ideal. Obviously both have their benefits. If you have been reading my threads you can see that we ended up doing a lot more work on the boat than I ever intended but this is a great boat and price to learn lessons on.

I have yet to use the plug with my boat. We have a cover that keeps the water at your feet to a minimum...this project is somewhere down on the list.

The trailer is also very important too. We bought a newer trailer for almost the same price as the boat.

rjohnson 05-08-2012 01:01 PM

Re: Looking to buy C21-many keel questions
After lowering the keel and inserting the locking bolt (by now you probably figured out where it goes?) you unhook the cable from the tip of the keel, and reel in the cable on hte winch. Originally, there was a pole with a "V" shaped end that was used to fish the cable down to the keel before raising, and to unhook it after lowering (we eventually just used a boathook). The Keel Plug "seals" the bottom of the keel well to reduce turbulance and any surging of water up into the keel trunk. There is a separate cover that covers the hole in the cockpit sole and further ensures dry feet.
Yes, you do need to use the locking bolt. It keeps the keel in position and will reduce wear and tear on hte pivot bolt and pivot hole in hte keel. The locking bolt also serves as a back up "keel retention" if (heaven forbid!) the area around hte pivot should break on hte keel. (Keel is made with a steel/iron backbone encased in a fiberglass/resin fin with a 360# lead bulb cast onto the end of that backbone. The pivot point is part of the backbone or welded on to it). The web site that Jim refers to has a link to a description of rebuilding the keel by one CAL 21 owner. That includes a drawing of what the keel is made of.
The cable conects to the tip of the keel for raising/lowering using either a small notch molded into the lead, or some boats came with a nice stainless-steel hook in hte tip of the keel. (the hook will be easier to catch with the loop on hte keel cable, but hthe notch works if you are careful!) On some boats the owners have replaced the notch with an aftermarket hook or other attachment.
Watch the winch board while raising/lowering the keel, once you pass a certain point while lowering, or until you reach that point when raising, the pull on hte winch tends to make the winch board want to slide forward along the seats. We intended to add a couple of braces to the winch board to hold it aft, but ended up selling the boat before we did that.
Oh, and there is a copy of the Owners Manual on that web site as well.
( or use Jim's link.

growser 01-25-2013 11:42 AM

Re: Looking to buy C21-many keel questions
The owner's manual link does not work, do you have another link by chance?

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