Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Charlotte, NC
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Re: 20' to 22' swing keel with small cuddy
Oh, no question that a swing keel can be stable and I wouldn't dissuade anyone at all. Putting the weight further down definitely helps and allows you to get more stability from less ballast, which makes trailering easier (lighter overall) and launching easier since you don't have to float the boat as much. Note that I did point him to the MacGregor with the swing keel and would have not have turned down a boat with one. There are the disadvantages of a lot of weight hanging on one pivot bolt, more weight to crank up and down, and they are definitely tippier with the board up but not generally all that bad. I also don't like the clunking you can get with a swing keel that's not locked down and then there is the whole 'lock the keel down' thing. But again nothing that would really dissuade me from owning one.
Boats with shoal keel/CB setups tend to have a lot more ballast to compensate for the weight being shallower which makes them less desirable to tow (heavier) and harder to launch (higher on trailer). The upsides are that you can lose the centerboard and they still sail pretty well and it also really opens up the interior since you don't have the keel trunk.
Either way you will have fun so get out there and sail!