Full or fin keel? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 847 Old 01-28-2012 Thread Starter
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Full or fin keel?

Can somebody pro/con a full vs. fin keel for a newbie (will learn to sail on said boat) and taking it thru the Caribbean? All I can seem to come up with so far is fin keel is better to the wind, and a full keel will protect your rudder.
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post #2 of 847 Old 01-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utchuckd View Post
Can somebody pro/con a full vs. fin keel for a newbie (will learn to sail on said boat) and taking it thru the Caribbean? All I can seem to come up with so far is fin keel is better to the wind, and a full keel will protect your rudder.
So far so good.

A full keel will generally track better dead down wind. Full keel boats tend to have a smaller draft allowing them to get into shallower water. But as you inferred, they do not tend to point as well as fin-keels. They also need more speed to get steerage way.
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post #3 of 847 Old 01-28-2012
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Well you might consider this.

Your keel is what keeps your boat from slipping sideways which is why full keel boats track better and so cruisers like them. Fin keels are better for racing because they allow for quicker turns.

If you want to cruise you also have to consider worse case scenarios. Like what happens when the wind is so severe that all sail must come down. In that case sometimes people have to put out drogs, not just to slow the boat but so that their boats will be quartered aft to the wind, which is recommended for heavy weather. On many full keel boats this position occurs naturally when in severe weather.

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post #4 of 847 Old 01-28-2012
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Oh, and I forgot one other advantage. If you are a cruiser with a full keel boat, you don't have to fiddle with your windvane as much as with a fin keeled boat.

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post #5 of 847 Old 01-28-2012
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A full keel with bad hull balance wont track anywhere near as well as a fin keel with good hull balance. A boat travels many times the length of any keel in the time it takes to broach, so keel length has far less effect on tracking than one would assume.
On a steel boat, a full keel means having an extra 400 lbs of dead weight in the stern , which aggravates hobby horsing, and is an inaccessible area , hard to maintain, and useless for a carrying any weight, being too far aft.
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post #6 of 847 Old 01-28-2012
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Linda,
To suggest that cruisers in general prefer full keels is simply not sustainable. Some do, no doubt but in this day and age a goodly number don't. Yesterday coming down the coast we passed an old gaff rigged, no doubt full keeled, schooner. Passed being the operative word and the Womboat is no greyhound. No thanks, not for me. I've owned and sailed both full and fin, albeit moderate fins and i'd not choose to go back to full. Otoh Bob Perry's Babas are fine boats as are Bill Crealock's efforts. Horses for courses as it were, the issue is not black and white.

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post #7 of 847 Old 01-28-2012
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Trick is making sure your rudder and skeg are strong enough on a fin keeler, not hard to do, but often not done..
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post #8 of 847 Old 01-28-2012
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When I sit down with Mr Perry or another designer to have my ultimate cruising boat designed (yah, right!) I would ask for a conservative (longish) fin keel configuration. I think it is reasonable compromise.

Back home on Lake Ontario after something over 36,000 nm circumnavigator. Not surprisingly there is a lot of stuff I want to get done on Ainia both cosmetically and functionally. Getting an early start so it will be ready to go for next summer (Lake Superior?).
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Quote:
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When I sit down with Mr Perry or another designer to have my ultimate cruising boat designed (yah, right!) I would ask for a conservative (longish) fin keel configuration. I think it is reasonable compromise.
Some of Bill Creaclok's boats have a 3/4 keel as a compromise.


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post #10 of 847 Old 01-28-2012
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Bob Perry's Passports are similar.. one of these would be high on my list as a serious cruising boat:



BUT... this configuration does not 'back' much better than a full keel and for me, coastal cruising (frequent marina stops/unfamiliar docking situations, tight quarters anchoring, rafting) that's a bit of a deal breaker.

I don't feel, though, that it's necessary to go the full keel route for serious cruising but if you can handle the performance knock and the other characteristics, there are lots of very 'shippy looking' solid boats out there. For around here, though, give me my fin keel and spade rudder, thanks.....
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