As I will try to look for a boat that will fit my needs first I need to figure out what that need is right now the 13 ft flying junior fits me. I was going to buy from a 16 to 26 foot looking at what could be pulled down the road. already looking at dreaming of the next boat. Do others do this? This kind of leads away from a fin I am in KY no huge waves here. I grew up on Lake Eire feel just fine on that water any summer wind or wave in my sunfish. Still this is not blue water. I plan to move but for now I am here. Next boat for here sailing in the lakes should be? I Like to scuba dive play on the beach . I would like to get on and in the water easy from the boat. From what I am learning about fin vs full a full keel shoal draft might fit my needs better? The next boat should be? Also I could get a slip an go up to say 36 foot but this would be a boat that would have to make the move with me and the move is 8 years min time frame away
Hello Lou, here is some of my experience on lakes. Centerboards are great, you can find the hidden shallow spots with the board down, just pull it up to get off, or it will just bounce off. Here in Maine the lakes were all raised for logging by dams. In fresh water wood doesn't rot, so there are stumps over 100 years old still down there with the sunken logs. I hit a big stump pretty far from shore with my center boarder, taught me I should never sit on the trunk, because the board kicked up the handle, which would have been between my legs
I avoid that area, I took rough sightings.
Now I know the bad spots on "my" lake, and am using a Victoria 18 there. I don't want to go much bigger, the lake is only 7 miles, and very narrow. The V18 has a fixed long lead filled shoal keel. My wife loves it, much more stable. However, be aware that you must anchor and swim to shore, or we sometimes use an inflatable and paddle in. This is not a problem for us, we never beached anyway because wave action works the boat against the shore. We always carry an anchor, and a light anchor to keep the stern from swinging. Here in Maine sand beaches on lakes are rare, there is much granite everywhere so again, we never think of beaching. To get in and out of the water a folding swim platform can be good, and a cheap ladder with hooks that you put on and off is OK, and below when not using it.
I'm sure a fin keel would be fast and fun, you might need to stay in deeper water. Harder to trailer and harder to launch without a deep steep ramp. Look for a depth map, fisherman at least make them. Mark off the areas that are too shallow for whatever fixed keel you look at, and decide if you are happy to give up going to those areas.
There are also swing keels (heavy swinging keel) which could be good, and shallow keels with small centerboards inside, maybe the best of both worlds? An example for sale here is a 23ft Seafarer Kestrel, very trailerable. SEAFARER 23 KESTREL (DAYSAILOR) sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
I purchased last fall and have not yet sailed a Seafarer 24, which has a weighted lead bottom with a slightly heavy swing keel/centerboard. Because the main part of the lead is up high, it can't be as good as a deeper keel, it is not an off shore boat, but probably great in the lakes around here.
To summarize, decide how much of the lake you are willing to give up (depthwise) to determine your acceptable fixed keel depth. Check your ramps by measuring how far out you need to go to launch. You can use an extension, but check for the "standard" deep hole right at the ramp end where prop wash digs out the bottom when powerboats power onto their trailer. Don't run your trailer wheels into that hole if too deep.
We like trailering for lakes, because we can go to new areas for variety and interest. And work on the boat at home, and no fees.
Edit: I almost forgot. Make sure that whatever boat you get to trailer has a hinged mast tabernacle on the cabin top, with support under it. Do not
get a keel stepped mast, very much harder to step and unstep.