Centerboard Keels - should I even consider? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 40 Old 06-20-2011
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A guy at our club has a Hood Wauquiez 38' which he has taken to Gibraltar and back to NY. WAUQUIEZ HOOD 38 sailboat on sailboatdata.com.. More than 6000 sailboats, sailing yachts, dinghies and sailing craft listed.
This boat gets a 10'+ draft with the board down and 4.5' with the board up.
Yes, having a center board adds a bit to working gear but so does everything. The advantages of being able to get into shallower areas is worth it to me.

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post #12 of 40 Old 06-20-2011
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A guy at our club has a Hood Wauquiez 38' which he has taken to Gibraltar and back to NY. WAUQUIEZ HOOD 38 sailboat on sailboatdata.com.. More than 6000 sailboats, sailing yachts, dinghies and sailing craft listed.
This boat gets a 10'+ draft with the board down and 4.5' with the board up.
Yes, having a center board adds a bit to working gear but so does everything. The advantages of being able to get into shallower areas is worth it to me.
That is the only advantage I see to a centerboard. If the boat performance is so much better with a CB, then why do americas cup boats as well as all of the mono hull around the world race boats not have a center board?
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post #13 of 40 Old 06-20-2011
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That is the only advantage I see to a centerboard. If the boat performance is so much better with a CB, then why do americas cup boats as well as all of the mono hull around the world race boats not have a center board?
For one, we are not talking about multi-million dollar around the world racing boats. For another, most 1 class dinghies are center board or even dagger board models. I wonder why that is? I'll even bet that the last Americas Cup multi-hull racing boats had center boards of some kind in their amas.

I even race my 'old shoe' full keel C/B boat. When was the last time you were able to raise your fin keel on a downwind or cross wind point of sail in order to reduce drag or take advantage of added leeway? We routinely catch up to 'faster' boats then ours on a downwind leg by raising our board, thus reducing drag.

I don't currently have a working depth sounder on board. The center board acts as an early warning system allowing me to easily get off any low spots without actually grounding. I actually spent the evening on an O'Day 272 with a winged fixed keel that sat down on a flat beach as the tide went out and the boat stood up on the keel while all the water ebbed out. The boat was left sitting on the sand. Truly amazing - but not a hull design I'd recommend either.

When was the last time you were in waves big enough to roll your boat over and how many times have you been rolled? For the kind of sailing that many of us do we are (hopefully) able to avoid really nasty weather, waves and winds. If you are getting rolled frequently you must be doing something wrong.

Don't get me wrong, fin or fixed keel boats are great too and can point higher into the wind then my 'old shoe' when beating. All designs are compromises with good and not so good aspects to each.

Being able to get into a safe harbor is just the icing on the cake.

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post #14 of 40 Old 06-20-2011
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Hinckey
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Tartan

and others build bluewater centerboard boats that I wouldn't think twice about doing distance offshore travels with.


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post #15 of 40 Old 06-20-2011
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Quote:
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That is the only advantage I see to a centerboard. If the boat performance is so much better with a CB, then why do americas cup boats as well as all of the mono hull around the world race boats not have a center board?

They're not cruisers worried about shallow water. Since they don't have to go site seeing, they can make a long smooth keel with all of the ballast at the bottom and use the hardware for a canting keel.

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post #16 of 40 Old 06-20-2011
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Ok.... The Sabre guy is here. Been at the boat all day..

We have a CB and ironically did a significant repair on it this year. Opinions:

1. I would buy it again.
2. Boards increases pointing and reduces leeway as others have said.
3. No stability enhancements since the board is only 110lbs.
4. Worried about rolling? In those situations, that's the LEAST of my worries. The board is encased in solid lead, it can thump all that it wants. I had a 700lb board let lose in a Catalina 22 and nothing bad happened to the boat. The Sabre CB is trivial by comparison.

Problems:
1. Cable can wear. But realistically, if it wears there is a reason for the wear other than simply usage. The reason has to be found and resolved.
2. In Sabres, there is a wheel over which the cable passes and makes a 90 degree bend before exiting the boat into the CB case. We've had problems for the last 4 years with the board being very sticky going up and down. It turned out that the wheel disintegrated. It was made of bronze and we had a new one machined and SS welded into the housing for $81 + $151 of hoist time. We had a slight leak in a weld that required removal, re-welding, and reinstallation. Should be good for another 25 years. Took an afternoon.
3. Stuff like mud can jam the case. BUT Sabre has a pusher-downer rod that is inserted from inside the cabin through a fitting to push the board down.

Repair photos:
Victoria Centerboard Repair

ANSWERS TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS:
1. Does the cable and board need attention every year during the haul out? - NO, JUST LOWER THE BOARD AT HAULOUT AND CHECK THE THIMBLE EYE.

2. Will grounding (board up or down) be easily damage the board and cable assembly? IN A SABRE, NO. THE BOARD IS TOTALLY ENCASED IN THE KEEL, SURROUNDED BY LEAD AND DOES NOT STICK DOWN WHEN HOISTED ALL THE WAY. IF MUD GETS JAMED UP THE CASE, THE BOARD CAN GET STUCK, BUT THE PUSHER-DOWNER CAN EASILY BE USED TO FREE IT. IF YOU GROUND WITH IT DOWN, THAT MENAS THAT YOU WENT FROM GREATER THAN 8' (BOARD DOWN) TO LESS THAN 4'4" IN A HURRY. IN THAT CASE, THE BOARD WAS SIMPLY PUSHED UP INTO THE CASE. THE WORST DAMAGE COULD BE A CRIMPED CABLE. I CAN'T IMAGINE A SITUATION WHERE THIS WOULD HAPPEN WHEN THE BOAT IS IN REVERSE. IF YOU'RE SAILING IN LESS THAN 10' RAISE THE BOARD. SIMPLE.

3. Does the cable replacement be performed by the owner with skills? YES. I DID IT (TWICE - WHEN THE WELD LEAKED). IT'S EASY. NOTE THAT THE BOAT NEEDS TO BE LIFTED HIGH USING A TRAVELIFT, SO YOU'LL NEED TO SCHEDULE LIFT TIME. SEE MY COST ABOVE.

Sabre 38 "Victoria"

Last edited by Sabreman; 06-20-2011 at 11:41 PM.
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post #17 of 40 Old 06-20-2011
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Quote:
If the boat performance is so much better with a CB, then why do americas cup boats as well as all of the mono hull around the world race boats not have a center board?
Volvo Open 70's and 60's etc. Have boards in addition to canting keels for the same reasons as "normal people" boats - better upwind performance and reduced downwind drag.

Sabre 38 "Victoria"
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post #18 of 40 Old 06-21-2011
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That Antarctic cruiser mentioned above is named Pelagic. Custom built for Magellan Strait & south. IIRC the keel is bronze & on a worm gear.
Lots about it in Rounding the Horn by Dallas Murphy.


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post #19 of 40 Old 06-21-2011
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In principal, I personnally consider keel-centerboard boats one of the best options for a distance cruiser. When properly designed they offer a reasonable mix of shoal draft and decent performance. One big advantage beyond reduced draft and decent upwind ability, is that centerboard also allows an adjustment of the center of lateral resistance, which allows the helm to be balanced and therefore less tiring on crew or less current draw on the autopilot.

But there are also some big caveats to K/Cb's. Many were only engineered for coastal cruising and so were never really intended for offshore use, and since Keel/centerboard designs have fallen out of favor, many of the boats with keel/centerboard configurations are long in the tooth and so may have designs which otherwise are less than ideal for offshore use, or are old enough that they would need major rebuilds to be suitable for use offshore.

In answer to the performance issue, the current thinking on ultra high performance boats is a mix of canting keels and dagger boards. This is the current fastest set up for high performance monohulls. But for more normal performance cruising boats, the preferred keel type is a deep fin with a bulb. All other things being equal, (i.e. sail area, displacement, hull shape, etc) a keel-centerboarder cannot out perform an deep fin keel with a bulb keel. But if shoal draft with good all around performance is your goal, than a properly designed Keel-Centerboarder is the way to go.

Jeff


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post #20 of 40 Old 06-21-2011
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My old girl has a board and while I would have prefered to find a deep keel option as draft is not a problem where I cruise I am happy with the board option and it certainly improves pointing when down. It clonks a bit when down but as far as I can see everything is OK.

I am planning on removing the board for some minor fettling on the next haulout and will replace the cable. The lifting winch is an old style wire halyard winch and is deck mounted.

I would be happy taking her offshore and have done so.
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