Shoal draft question - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 07-19-2006
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Shoal draft question

Will a boat with a shoal draft feel much different then one with a standard keel? Other then shallow water, why would someone want a boat with shoal draft?
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Old 07-19-2006
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You answered your own question. That's why it's called shoal draft. I don't know that it would feel different, but it would act different.
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Old 07-19-2006
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It is the only reason. If most of your cruising will be coastal (especially around NJ) a shoal keel migt be a good option. If you're heading out to see the world, I'd prefer a standard one, and just motor a bit farther with the dinghy when anchored.

Every sailboat is designed to roll up to a certain degree and come back upright (versus capsizing) switching out keels might change this angle and probably not in your favor, look into that. The difference should prove simply academic, but its part of doing your homework.
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Old 07-19-2006
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um, i guess if i reply I should answer your original question. Yes two identical boats with different keels will sail slightly differently, and one may heel a bit faster, but by no means does this make one better than the other, or one a bad design versus the other.
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Old 07-19-2006
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Shallow water is the only reason to want shoal draft. A shoal draft boat will be more tender, will slip sideways while trying to point and is difficult to get unstuck when grounded if it is a wing design. It might be heavier and therefore slower. They feel different to me due to the tenderness.
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Old 07-19-2006
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Hi Dominick. This is really a perfect question for Jeff H out of Annapolis so hopefully he will weigh in with the answer. The difference has to do with the way that the ballast is distributed. With a shoal keel the boat will not like heavier winds...You will need to reef earlier because the heavy weight of the shallow keel tends to over-counteract the heeling motion of the boat. A deeper keel will feel more comfortable in heavier winds. Thats just experience but I know Jeff has the engineering response.
As far as what you need, it depends on what you intend to do with the boat and where you intend to sail. For example, if you intend to sail on the Chesapeake Bay than a shoal keel is ideal for gunkholing. On the other hand, if you are racing or sailing in the ocean or in New England, deeper keel.
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Old 07-19-2006
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I searched the forum and found posts from Jeff H - Thank you for the info

Let me give some backround

I'm new to sailing and I am currently looking at a 29"' Hunter with a Shoal draft of 3' 10" as my first boat. I plan on doing most my sailing around NYC Harbor with no trips planned away from the shore-line.

Most of what I have read seems to say that a boat with Shoal draft will be a slower and Heavier boat. Both traits seem to be fairly positive for me since this will be a learning experience for the next few years. However I am uncertain if that also means the boat will Heel more and make sial more uncomfortable for me and my guests

In short - Im looking for a very comfortable "RV" on the water that I can also learn to sail on

Thanks in advance
Dom
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Old 07-19-2006
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Dominick,
was this keel aftermarket or is this a factory install?
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http://www.everyboat.com/c/s/2001-hunter-_2111.htm

not sure
I assumed all Keels were factory installed
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Old 07-19-2006
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I have a shoal draft boat, a Rival 32. These boats were offered as shoal draft however there was a standard draft version. My boat draws 4'-8". The primary difference between shoal draft and standard is that the shoal draft tends to be a little tender initially but will stiffen up quite a bit as the boat heels, & gets into a groove. Shoal draft boats like mind have a longer keel and the fin itself is thicker than those standard draft boats. This provides for good directional stability ( also able to dry out against a wharf breastwork when necessary).The standard draft tends to be a little lighter, points better and tends to be slightly faster which over the long haul can mean a lot. In terms of safety, I would say they are fairly well equal. In the case of the Rival line of boats from Britain, they are considered to be offshore designed sailboats and very safe in serious weather well offshore. Personally, I like the shoal draft as it offers the ability to go into coves, harbours, inlets and sometimes marinas where the depth of water is questionable.

Last edited by Ronbye; 07-19-2006 at 12:03 PM.
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