Keel Position & Forward Movement Question - SailNet Community

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Old 05-28-2014
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Question Keel Position & Forward Movement Question

A little info, I am a beginner and my fist boat had a drop in type keel(it was a very small boat) that was only set in one position. Now I have a boat with a swing keel type setup. The reason for my question is I took my new boat out for the first time and had no trouble sailing down wind, but when I tired to come back up or across the wind the boat just slid sideways.

I am sure some of the problem is my lack of experience, but I do know the keel is supposed to help keep the boat moving forward and when I was sailing the boat made no forward movement when sailing across the wind it just slid sideways or turned back down wind.

Does it matter what position the keel itself is in relative to being all the way in (parallel with boat) or all the way out(perpendicular to the boat) to how the boat will move forward?

I have found a lot of information on what a keel does and basically how it works, but I haven't found much on how to actually set it up properly.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 05-28-2014
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Re: Keel Position & Forward Movement Question

You'll likely want your swing keel fully extended beneath the boat for any upwind work. Make sure you've got your sails sheeted in and your main's traveler and boom up to windward as far they'll go if for max windward sailing.

You can have the swing keel partially down for beam/broad reaching, and all the way up for running downwind to reduce drag.

We started with a swing-keeler and loved experimenting with keel position on different angles of sail.
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Old 05-28-2014
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Re: Keel Position & Forward Movement Question

this is basic dinghy sailing

downwind keel (daggerboard) up almost 3/4 way up some even more, when surfing
upwind al the way down and strapped, body out and forward attacking

upwind body forward
downwind body aft over rudder keeping things in control

also you would do great finding a good sailor or someone to teach you the basics...or taking some classes in a local sailing school if you can


this is in general terms...doesnt apply to all small boats or dinghies but works for most any boat sizes in general

look at pics of racing boats big and small and youll see what I mean

cheers
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Re: Keel Position & Forward Movement Question

the drop in keel is called a daggerboard...

a centerboard is usually in reference to a boat with a swing keel that can be stowed in a trunk(or keel stub)

a keel is a fixed fin or long keel or cutaway etc...

most people differ these by saying KEELBOAT sailing or DINGHY or SMALL boat sailing

cheers
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Re: Keel Position & Forward Movement Question

Thanks for the info I'll keep practicing.
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Re: Keel Position & Forward Movement Question

Can you give us a little more info? What kind of boat? Year? What did you have for sails up? And how much wind? Was there any current involved?
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Re: Keel Position & Forward Movement Question

It is a hand built wooden hull boat made in 2012. Despite my best efforts to find out what kind of boat it is the original owner had suddenly past on so I don't what the boat is specifically. It is an 18ft boat with a swing keel, a main and jib. I was in a small lake so there was very little current. Winds little over 10mph.
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Re: Keel Position & Forward Movement Question

And what direction was the wind coming from when you were side slipping? Both sails up, what position were they in? In tight, half way...

I'm thinking here you were having more of a sail position issue than a CB position issue.
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Last edited by Delta-T; 05-28-2014 at 04:55 PM.
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Re: Keel Position & Forward Movement Question

I stared perpendicular to the wind then turned so that I was at an angle to the wind (Sorry if my terminology isn't all correct) during most of the time the boat was side slipping. The sails were not tight, but more then half way in. I tried a couple times with and without the jib. My fist boat only had a main so I have never used a jib before that day. Basically we could sail out from the dock with the wind at our backs but we had to sail into or across the wind to get back.
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Re: Keel Position & Forward Movement Question

I find it very hard to sail with main sail alone, my boat goes almost no place except down wind. My boat is well balanced with just the head sail or head and main together. This is a good learning tool...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wOD...39RWTI&index=2
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