Shoal Draft vs. Deep Keel - Page 3 - SailNet Community

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Old 10-17-2007
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OK, I am certainly not a naval architect, but I don't get it.

You are thinking of buying a new, or almost new, HR53, most likely closing in on a million dollars. And now, because you think you may want a shoal keel, but are not sure, people are suggesting that you switch out the keel???????
Come on guys, HR is one of the most respected BW boats made, their shoal keel, according to Labatt, is about 6" less than the deep draft. Are we all nuts, or what?

First, the cost of replacing the keel on this puppy will probably be somewhere between $50K and $100K MINIMUM. When you get done, you will have a one of a kind. In this case that is NOT a good thing. How many buyers do you think you will find down the road for this one off? HR builds it one way and because you are not sure you switch to your own design and a future buyer just decides you were right and not HR? A buyer in your price bracket does not come along every day. A buyer of an HR, that is no longer an HR, at that price range is a one in a million. I almost said a one in a million idiot, but I know this is tearing you up and you have not made the decision forgive me. So, you invest $100K plus in the keel change out, and then the boat is worth what, $300-400K less than it should be because of the change?

Labatt, you are a lucky man. Probably worked your ass off for that luck, but you have a chance to live your dream. Decide WHERE you want to go and buy a boat to go THERE. Or, buy the BOAT you want and go where you
CAN and be happy with the boat. You will be making a compromise whatever.

In this size range and quality of boat, you should not worry if it is shoal or deep unless you are racing and worrying about that extra couple of degrees of pointing ability. However, I think that cruising is your dream and going to weather a few extra degrees is probably not an issue.

NOW, if you buy new, and HR says sure we can design this with a shorter shoal draft that will be just fine, then you have your boat, HR designed it that way, and you get what you want.

Now, if you really think about replacing a keel on one of these beauties, call a friend to hit you up side the head!
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Old 10-18-2007
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Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
I'll continue to be the contrarian here Chris...I agree with John that there is NO safety issue with a shoal draft.
I would not buy a boat with a 7' draft for all the reasons discussed earlier + if you ever want to sell will have a difficult time on the East coast.
That said...if you do will still have a wonderful time and it is a wonderful boat.

"East Coast" may be overstating it. I'm in the Newport area. It is virtually all deep around here and many people are much more concerned with performance than they are with gunkholing or shallow water cruising options.
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Old 10-18-2007
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough're right of course about the NE coast. But if you want to cruise the East Coast as Labatt does...then you need to be concerned about the whole does anyone who would buy the boat in the future. Not too many people buy 50'+ boats to stay put in their home cruising grounds unless it is a racing boat.
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Old 10-18-2007
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Shoal draft is usually refered to as 4 to 4.5 feet, calling 6.5 feet shoal draft is silly as hell.
I draw all of 20 inches board up and motor down, and I've run around or popped rudders twice this season - imagine what you are going to have to do with 6.5 feet of keel dragging around down the ICW?

Go catamaran and get over it
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Old 10-18-2007
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Buy it and move the West Coast around Seattle; cheaper than swapping out the keel, and much better sailing area. For free, I'll throw in the BC coast and Alaska coastal areas.
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Old 10-19-2007
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My "shoal" draft HR40 draws 11" less than the standard keel. I'd be surprised if the shoal draft HR53 doesn't provide a similar reduction.

Talk to HR -- if you really feel strongly about reducing draft, perhaps you can get a factory shoal keel and replace the one on the boat you are considering. Note that if the tank arrangement is anything like mine, you'll have to pull two or three tanks to reach the keel bolts. Readily done, but potentially messy.

I don't think I'd do it. If you like the boat then buy her. Put some of the modification money into a good set of davits and fast comfortable dink. You'll do fine in most of the cruising locations of the U.S. East Coast. The ICW is more limited by your mast height than draft. The difference between 7.5' and 6.5' in the Bahamas probably isn't significant -- you would still have to be very careful. Solution? Head down island sooner.

I don't think you'll regret owning an HR.

By the way, there is a very nice 48 for sale in Annapolis. I've sailed her, and sailed alongside her. She's great.

The biggest difference between deep and shoal drafts is how close to shore you are when you run aground.
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Old 10-31-2007
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There are plenty of boats with 5 foot drafts. I have gunk-holded in the calif delta with no problems. Get a full keel and your worries about sailing any points will disappear.
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Old 10-31-2007
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Deep Keel vs. Shallow Draft

You are looking at a great boat. I sail the great lakes and have been to New York and the East Coast in my Catalina 36 and I bought the boat to do the intracoastal, Keys, and great lakes. No question I needed the shoal draft. I see no difference in sailing which detracts from the pleasure. Look to where you wish to go. If staying east coast, Bahamas, and keys, consider the shoal draft. You will not be able to do the intracoastal but you have a bluewater craft so that is where you take her. Otherwise fair winds and great adventures
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Old 10-31-2007
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Good advice all around.

The OP (Labatt) has indicated in other threads that he has put a contract in on the standard draft HR53. So I think he got what he needed from this thread. We are all waiting to hear whether the deal goes through, especially those of us in the Annapolis area who all want a ride on it.
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Old 10-31-2007
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7 + Ft Draft will deter some fun

Greetings from Miami

Reading this thread I am reminded of a friend who purchased a deep draft vessel against all advice and found himself in trouble with his wife and kids - mostly because they had to anchor far from shore, bypassed the Bahamas and Florida Keys, and beacme obsesive with "good anchoring grounds" - he sold the boat, put his money back into the bank and got himself (against my advice) a Morgan 51 that needed some TLC - this is an ugly boat but fit his needs and the space and confort his wife wanted - I guess is good for the caribbean but I will never dream it for a round the world passage

Although passage making has a thrilling alure for many captains - the reality is that the crew rather spend their time island hop - and there is where a deep draft rob you from flexibility.

Most live aboards get their feet wet traveling down the east coast and later jumping to the bahamas and caribbean - rough weather can be avoided at any time by accessing the ICW - but draft and mast height can complicate things. I believe if you are set in purchasing a monohull, you should consider your options at full keel vessels (they track better) and keep the draft under 6ft if possible. Iwill argue that a ketch has more flexibility for all around weather and sail plan.

With the kind of money you are expected to lay - I would thing a Cabo Rico as an option - or refit any of the many ketches out there in the Caribbean for sale - Trinidad has very good yards and you can start your cruise with the good weather and beautiful island to get your crew used to their sea legs - see this Nautical 56 ketch for sale in St Marteen - draft 5 ft to 9 ft with the centerboard down. you can google at under 56' NAUTICAL CENTREBOARD KETCH

With the kind of money you will be spending I would get a catamaran - better resale value in the event you grow tired of cruising
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