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  #1  
Old 07-03-2007
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Shoal draft modification, is this a good idea?

I am seeking some advice about modifying my 23’ 1973 Aquarius. I am new to sailing (4months) and she is my first boat. I purchased the boat in poor condition and refurbished it completely and I have since enjoyed several weekend sailing trips on lake Texoma here in Texas. This boat has a keel on a winch and I have overhauled this system and it still seems to be to be the weak link when I am sailing (had a couple failures, nothing too serious). Is it possible on this type of boat to remove the keel and sail without it? Would this adversely affect my sailing performance? I have been out on a couple days where the wind exceeded 20mph and the boat seemed to handle the same with it up or down. Really the only difference I've noticed with it down, is it makes for considerably slower sailing. The keel is a 165lb piece of steel that rides on a pivot pin. The boat has 815lb of lead ballast. Would I need to add ballast to compensate for it being gone? This boat will only be lake sailed. Any thoughts on removing it would be greatly appreciated. If the idea of sailing without it is retarded, please let me know before I try it! Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-03-2007
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Have you tried looking here? Aquarius-owners : For all A-21 and A-23 Aquarius Sailboat owners "Coastal Recreation"

Generally, removing the keel would be considered only by the learning disabled.

Sailing downwind, you would get more speed by lifting it. You should get very poor performance on a beat or a reach with the keel up.

Last edited by CapnHand; 07-03-2007 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 07-03-2007
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Don't know anything about the particulars of your boat but it sure sounds like a bad idea. A lot of designs aren't perfect but I would bet that a lot of thought was put into that ballast and keel by someone with a lot more knowledge about these things than you or me. You would hate to learn that it was a mistake under bad conditions while under load.
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Old 07-03-2007
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To more directly answer your question, the impact of removing the keel is that your boat is going to be much more difficult to keep on point and, like CapnHand points out, on a beat or a reach you're going to be losing a lot of performance (you'll be heeling more as well as losing forward motion through lateral drift).

I know people who have added more keel to a shoal-keeled boat, but never heard of anyone removing their keel altogether.

Then again, as someone will no doubt be quick to point out, I've only got 13 or 14 posts to my credit, so I'm probably completely out to lunch.
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Old 07-03-2007
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Removing the keel is going to affect the boat's ability to point, but also its ability to stay upright. Really bad idea to mess with the design that drastically, unless you've consulted a marine engineer.
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Old 07-03-2007
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good good...

remove the keel and get a bigger mast and sails...you won't sail for crap, but will have a lot of stories to tell!!!!

TB..can you get some scuba lessons for free??
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Old 07-03-2007
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where the board is 165 lbs. you would have to add that weight back to maintain the amount of ballast as designed. it woulud have to go in the center board slot as low as possible. as stated above it would affect your beam to upwind performance. if the boat sails poorly as you stated in your post is probably due to the fact you are not positioning the board correctly for your angle of attack, wind speed, and the amount of sail area up for the given wind speed. also be aware sailing on a lake is much different than on the ocean. the wind changes direction much more frequently than on the ocean in a sea breeze. the saying is if you can sail lakes you can sail everywhere because of these conditions.
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Old 07-03-2007
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In time you will come to see there is a huge difference in sailing with the board up or down. You can't go to windward (very much) with it up. Have the the system that raises and lowers it fixed properly by a qualified person. Also have an experienced sailor show you the difference going to windward board up and down.

Yes sailing without it would be, in your words totally "retarded".
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Old 07-03-2007
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If the mechanism is totally screwed and u are not trailoring it u may want to look at making it into a fixed keel affair. This is done quite often. Alot would depend on your sailing area as well tho.
AL
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Old 07-05-2007
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..Thanks for all the input, it seems that as soon as I posted this I re-read it and asked myself what I was thinking. The raising/lowering system has been repaired by my machine shop. Perhaps I have been more frustrated with the failure of this system than anything. Hopefully Saturday the weather will be decent and I can try adjusting it for different points of sail. Any further suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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