Wing, fin, or bulb...what are the trade offs? - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Old 08-16-2008
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I have a wing keel on my Freedom 45. I sail a lot in the Florida Keys. I agree with Cruisingdad that there are good tricks to unstick these things, but I must suggest that kedging with the anchor should first be tried from the stern, otherwise the wing seems to bury itself more deeply.

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Old 08-18-2008
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I used to have an O'Day 272LE with a wing keel. I did manage to run her aground a few times, and did not find it particularly hard to unstick. I did not use the method of trying to heel the boat a lot more, as that would never work with a wing, but kedging off seemed no more difficult than in other boats. All my groundings were in soft sand, your mileage may vary.
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Old 08-18-2008
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Don't dismiss the full keels.

The modified full keel design with the cut away forefoot , like many of the Bristols, has some real-world advantages. Weeds, crab pots, and other junk, just slide off the keel and attached rudder. The prop is protected on my bristol in a cut-out just behind the keel. I've never caught anything on the underside of my boat. Some of these designs also have encapsualated ballast, which eliminates leakage, and keels falling off. I like the way it tracks on course. I can lash the tiller on a beat, and the boat will hold course a long time. The auto pilot easily keeps up. Most of these boats are quite heavy, but sail well. I can often outsail similar sized boats with wing and shoal draft keels. Especially in heavy weather. Pointing is on par with many wing keel boats, and better than most shoal keels. I've run aground at 6kts without any damage, and was able to pole and motor off. They take skill to back-up under power. Like any boat, docking is a learning experience.
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Old 08-26-2008
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We stuck out Beneteau 445 wing keel in some deep seagrass/muck/sand and it seemed to quickly dig a nice hole for itself and was very hard to get off. And, we just recently bumped on sand and got off easy. I guess that the wide surface area kept it from digging into the sand and stopped us before we could get in too bad? Trade offs. We do point quite well and 5'9" in 44' is nice to have.

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Old 09-17-2008
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Have you considered a retractable fin or bulb keel?
Although it has its disadvantages (occupies some of the place in the cabin/ needs a well designed lifting mechanism) it combines the advantages of the shoal draft keel and the fin keel.
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Old 09-17-2008
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I sail Narragansett Bay, wing keel now, and first aboard a Catalina '27 (deep draft). Sailing differences are valid (pointing higher deep keel or experincing more drift with wing) but what's wrong with tacking more with the wing? Keep the crew tight and on their toes.

And ask a broker which would sell quicker, in the Northeast, a '34 with a deep draft or a '34 with a shoal draft? It's a buyers market now, but some day you'll be the seller, and i'll bet the broker will say the shoal draft will sell quicker.
s/v Libertine
Hunter 44DS
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Old 09-17-2008
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Well the original post is 4 years old so I guess its and interesting topic so I put in my piece. I've a wing keel on my Hunter 326. I hit rocks once 2 years ago that bent the wings upward (quite uniformly) so it looks like mantra ray. Couldn't bend it back. Then recently I ground on rocks (breakwater actually) and bent one wing more than the other. didn't affect sailing or pointing. so I don't know what effect a good set of wings does for the boat let alone a bent one. But if I have to buy a new boat, I'll go with fin (no wing).
2002 Hunter 326, SV Millennium 2
1999 Macgregor 26X, SV Millennium
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Old 09-17-2008
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Fin keel (sort of) and a draught of 5'6". Also fully encapsulated making it safe from coming loose or being knocked off.

It is longish (as opposed to deep , not evident from this angle) so does marginally influence the turn rate when tacking but it's great for shallow water.

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