Shoal Draft vs. Deep Keel - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 10-16-2007
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Shoal Draft vs. Deep Keel

OK... still trying to make the decision regarding the purchase of a Hallberg-Rassy 53. MOST (read: not all) bluewater boats of this size all seem to be within a foot of the 7'6" draft of the HR53.

On the other hand, you can get a shoal draft version of many boats. IN GENERAL, are you sacrificing righting moment or other safety when you move to a shoal draft keel vs. a "standard" length? I know you are sacrificing several degrees of pointing ability, but safety? It's my understanding that the change in righting moment is negligible, but please correct me on this and other points!

We're trying to analyze the trade-offs between a shorter (safer?) passage with a deep draft vs. safe harbor flexibility and shorter dinghy rides from anchor with a shoal draft keel. We'll be at anchor much more than on passages, but with two kids on board that I'd sacrifice my life for, I don't want to sacrifice safety for convenience.

Thanks!
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Last edited by labatt; 10-16-2007 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 10-16-2007
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lake champlain

beautiful sail,the only shortcoming is you will run out of lake.
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lake ontario
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Old 10-16-2007
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Bonnelaine - Right now we're on Champlain, but the HR53 (or other boat) would be used for a trip up the St. Lawrence, around Nova Scotia, down the east coast of the US and then somewhere, and then to Panama and beyond. Right now we're talking about 1.5-2 years, but the possibility for longer exists
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Old 10-16-2007
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My 2 cents: Depends on the boat and what type of sailing you do. You could argue that a shoal draft will have more inside ballast, but really in the conditions that your keel would come off, will normally cause you to turtle anyway. I think you could argue, and I am sure it has here, all day with tons of data and it still comes down to boat design and type of sailing and personal preference.

As far as safety, know your boat, know and define your and your crews abilities and always have a plan B.

P.S. I would take my family to sea in a seaworthy HR or Caliber anytime, but then again...I like HR and Caliber

Last edited by GySgt; 10-16-2007 at 07:55 PM. Reason: after thought
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god bless you and good luck .
if it was me i would look into min depths for the icw as it would be nice and good sense to have the option .good luck to you
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Old 10-16-2007
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Labatt,

The shoal draft version normally should have the same righting moment -- usually achieved by adding additional ballast. So I would not worry about the question of righting moment vis a vis safety. And on all but the hard legs to windward, you probably would not even notice any performance difference between the standard (deep) and shoal draft variants in a boat of this size. You might even see an advantage in the shoal downwind (a friend with a shoal J42 claims his boat is faster off the wind than the standard draft versions). A lot of open ocean sailing is with the trades, so you could conceivably make faster passages with the shoal variant. But all-in-all, I'd call it a wash with perhaps a slight edge to the standard draft.

I agree, it is hard to find a boat in this size range that is REALLY shoal draft and still has good windward performance. The exception is those fitted with centerboards or full keels, which you seem to be steering clear of. So generally you are choosing between 6.5' and 7.5-8.5'. In your place, I would try to keep it under 7' if possible. But if you end up with a deeper draft boat, you'll just have to accept some modest limitations on where you can go -- there's plenty of deep water on this blue planet. Also consider re-sale -- you might want ot finish that trip on the US West coast where shallow draft is much less of an issue, or back in the Med/Scandinavia.
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Old 10-16-2007
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Face it Chris, you're smitten. You want the HR, so just go ahead and get it, then get to the other side of the US as quick as you can
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John - It's killing me! I'm actually not completely smitten... a little bit of my logical side is peeking through, mostly when I'm talking to the loan broker.
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Old 10-16-2007
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I own a FIRST 42 with a tall rig and a deep fin keel, (about 8 feet) and I find you really have to watch your water. At the present, we're up in the California Delta, about 60 miles from the pacific and we find we often have to detour a number of miles to sometimes get where we want to go.
As for the righting of the boat, I would'nt think there would be much difference as when the boat heels, the further over it goes, the more wind it takes to push it over due to the sails dumping the wind, so at 15 degrees of heel, it may take twice the wind to push it another 5 degrees. What you may find is the boat might be a little more tender in movement with a shoal keel.
What I've found, my boat becomes more stable as the boat speed increases.. This very well could be a result of the deep fin keel.
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Old 10-16-2007
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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 her...you will have a difficult time on the East coast.
That said...if you do it...you will still have a wonderful time and it is a wonderful boat.
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