Join Date: May 2002
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I'm not familiar with the Boomerang in particular, but I think the weight of the board in a small boat with a ballasted keel/centerboard is ordinarily enough to hold it down in a choppy sea. I've seen some small boats with a device to hold the board down, and others without. I think the reason for such a device is not so much to hold the board down in normal sailing, but to prevent the heavy board from slamming up into the centerboard trunk if the boat is inverted by a big wave. A number of such boats have had holes ripped in their bottoms, and have sunk. Boats with the heaviest movable centerboards seem to be the least likely to have such devices. I think the reason is because a 1500# board is in no danger of lifting and pounding in a seaway, and, if the boat rolls over, it would be very difficult to design a device to hold such a heavy keel in place. The manufacturer's advice would probably be, "Don't sail the boat when it's that rough."
Small boats with that type of keel/CB are not usually designed to be sailed in heavy weather. They're primarily designed for fair weather, bay and lake sailing, and coastal sailing in relatively fair weather. That's not to say that they're fragile or unseaworthy, because a little pounding usually won't hurt them, but they can't survive a roll-over without serious damage. When the waves get big enough to become uncomfortable and cause such a boat to pound, they're also getting big enough to be capable of capsizing the boat, especially if you stray into a shallow area that can create breakers. When you sense that the boat is starting to struggle and pound due to the condition of the seas, it's time to take the boat to shelter. If you sail the boat in the conditions for which it was designed, you won't likely have any problems.