What are the drawbacks of keeping a swing keel lowered at all times?
Thanks for the question. The main disadvantage to keeping a swing keel lowered at all times is draft. If you keep your keel down all the time, you won't be able to enter shallow anchorages. Of course with the keel down your boat will track better and you'll be able to point better, but you'll also lose speed off the wind.
We firmly believe that use—keeping your boat active—is the best form of maintenance for systems aboard a boat. A swing keel left in the down position all the time is more likely to attract sea critters to the area inside the centerboard trunk for a home, which will later make it increasingly difficult to retract the keel. Also, the further the keel is down, the more cable or line you'll have exposed to the water, and therefore the more of it that is exposed to corrosion.
The other disadvantage is that you won't be taking the full use of your boat's abilities. For additional information regarding swing keels, you might want to have a look at what Tom Wood had to say in response to a similar question not too long ago: Swing Keels and Centerboards.
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