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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 10-14-2007
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Question Shallow keel sailboats

Hi everyone,
I'm new to sailnet as well as sailing. I just bought my firts boat last June. It's a Reinell 22 footer. I picked this particular boat for it's shallow keel, without thinking the balancing factor of it.
I used to sail with smaller boats those you don't mind capsizing Now I feel like a cat trying to avoid water... Yesterday I was out around New London harbor to witness some sailboats tilting so close to the water. I thought they were to capsize but were keep going without a fuss...
Does anyone have any experience or knowledge about those shallow keel sailboats? The draft is about 2-2.5' and makes me really nervous when the boat takes winds over 8knots... Am I simply being a amateur?
I'd appreciate any information. Thank you.
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Old 10-14-2007
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You're going through a fairly normal process. Your boat is actually quite a bit more stable than it seems. Go slowly and only sail in winds that you feel comfortable handling. As you become more experienced, you will find you are mor confident about going out in stronger winds. Your boat will be able to handle it.

Good Luck and enjoy !
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Old 10-14-2007
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Yesterday was crazy windy on the Sound, so I don't doubt folks were heeling quite a bit. If your boat was properly designed (and I bet it was), it will not tip. It is what we call "tender" though, meaning she will be easy to make heel over, maybe as far as 20-25 degrees. This will feel like you are about to be dumped out of the cockpit. Don't worry, you won't be. however, Sailorman is right, the only way to learn this is to be out there and to get comfortable. Be assured that it will take more than wind to knock down your boat (a combo of strong winds and well-placed wave action is usually necessary), and even then, she should right herself. Anyway, this is supposed to be fun. If you are worried about the wind being too strong, there are a bunch of things you can do to ease your stress: put a reef in while still at the dock; only hoist your main; if you don't have roller furling, get it. It not only elminates the need to go forward in a blow, many sailors will also only unfurl the genny/jib in strong winds. Quicker than you think, you will become comfortable in a range of conditions. Btw, I didn't check because I couldn't go out yesterday myself, but I would have been surprised if there weren't a small craft warning on the Sound yesterday. It was blowing at least twenty steady here, twenty miles inland, gusting even higher. I don't take my Oday 23 out in weather like that unless I have a crew aboard that knows what they're doing and likes rough weather.
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Old 10-14-2007
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The sound was blowing pretty good yesterday. No small craft advisory, that was lifted Friday. My Seaward's got a 25" draft and I sailed yesterday with reefed main only. I was single handed, so it made getting back to the mooring a bit of a challenge I still get nervous at 25 degree heel, but moving the traveller to leeward helps flatten her out.
Mike
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Old 10-14-2007
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Dont' get too hung up with the depth of your keel; its not the only, or even the primary factor in determining how much your boat will heel. There are full keel and fin keel boats that are tender as well. The weight of the ballast, the shape of the keel and the shape of the hull, as well as the depth of the ballast (i.e., the draft) all play in to the boat's stability.
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Old 10-16-2007
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Welcome to sailing - and on LIS. I sail out of the Bridgeport area. This past weekend was a bit breezy - but not too bad. Was gusty on Sat though.

Heeling is normal and good - in fact at a certain angle of heel your boat will begin to "stiffen" as the weight counteracts the heeling action.

Since you are new to sailing - my advice - as others have stated are to:

1) keep your sailing experience in light air - under 10 knots until you have a good feel for the boat/handling.
2) consider taking a keelboat sailing course or go with someone that has expertise sailing keelboats.
3) know how to reduce sail area (reef main and furl head sail if you have a furler.
4) learn to use your traveler - as someone mentioned it reduces heel
5) find some crew/rail meat to place on the windward rail.
6) once you have the feel for sailing her - find a local club that does Wed nite racing - race the boat - you will learn more racing in one summer than in 2-3 years tooling around day sailing

Once the summer starts - you'll be fine since LIS is light air during the summer - except for this year where we had lots of wind...

Rick
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Old 10-18-2007
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Thank you for the replies... I'll try my best... I went out yesterday to witness the most flat sea I've ever seen... Literally looked like a lake... No sailing winds (no winds matter of fact) whatsoever and no boats around... So I tried my chances with the fishes waiting for the winds to blow... Got a couple of blackfishes and porgies by the lighthouse(all keepers)... Winds started around 6pm but brought a fog bank with them. I just loved the face of powerboaters and fishers those went out to catch nothing and me coming back with my tiny sailboat bringing cooler full of fish... My revenge for their wakes
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Old 10-18-2007
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My best sailing memories are centerboard boats in a breeze. The wind is your friend, that is a mantra I have always used when sailing in heavy air. Sail trim, putting the boat in the groove, is a matter of practice and time in the boat. The biggest mistake you can make when it breezes up is to let a puff knock you down and then you bring the boat up sharply. If you can find the groove then slight adjustments in helm and trim will keep you on balance. Time in the boat.
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Old 10-23-2007
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a few things you can do...

In higher winds reef early... having less sail up can often result in sailing faster and more comfortably, since many boats are going to sail faster if they're not heeled over 30˚.

Ease the mainsheet if you get hit by a gust.... letting the main sheet out will often prevent the boat from tipping excessively.

Learn how to use the sail controls—halyard, cunningham, outhaul, backstay, etc. to flatten and depower the sail. This can allow you to sail comfortably with less heeling.
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