SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: shallow draft pros and cons Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-17-2008 04:16 PM
Nottoway Nottoway, my Bristol 39 (40) centerboarder is not unlike Finsiterre, drawing only 4' with the board up. In rough seas, pulling the board up makes the boat less resistent to waves--it slides sideways a little more easily resulting in a less jerky motion. The board is a maintenace headache, however. It broke off in mid-Atlantic and a new one had to be built in the Azores. (The fiberglass board was built with steel re-bar to stiffen it, the re-bar rusted and swelled, weakening the board and rough weather finished it off.) The wire pennant has also broken a few times due to flexing and deterioration where it attaches to the board.
01-17-2008 12:06 AM
seabreeze_97 Intrepid, the Bristol 32 originally built for Ted Hood, has no problem plodding the Pacific between Hawaii and Japan, and they also do well in the Atlantic. While there was a centerboard option, the majority of them were shoal draft at 4 1/2 feet.
01-16-2008 02:39 PM
SailorMitch Concerning whether a shoal draft boat will survive in blue water -- Carleton Mitchell's famous Finnistere was a center-boarder designed by Olin Stephens. Finnistere won consecutive Bermuda races back when.

In sum, yes a deep fin is usually better, but that doesn't mean a shoal draft boat isn't seaworthy or can't go to weather.

Disclaimer -- I sail a P-33-2 with a winged keel that draws 4'2" and I haven't died yet.
01-16-2008 01:47 PM
chucklesR With no lead mine hanging below my Gemini, a wave passes under it and transfers no force to the non existent keel- so in monster waves my boat just slides on the face rather than tripping over a rock like a mono does.

Shoal draft boats generally carry more ballast than their deep draft sister ships, that is designed in to it to compensate for the higher center of gravity.
01-16-2008 01:42 PM
Tumblehome32 It has more to do with the angle of vanishing stability and keel side area, not just draft. I would think a lot of Morgan 321 owners could give you the best advice on real world conditions.
01-15-2008 09:46 PM
sailingdog It depends on the boat. If you're talking about a monohull sailboat, deeper drafts tend to be more stable than the same design with a shoal draft.

However, you can also get shallow draft via a multihull... in which case the Pacific was explored by shallow draft boats a long, long time ago. The Polynesian Islanders explored and colonized much of the southern Pacific in multihulls.

One major advantage of shallow draft boats is that you have more areas in which you can anchor. This becomes a huge benefit if you're trying to hide from a hurricane or storm.

A very shallow draft boat can go up small creeks or rivers or into very shallow bays, where the storm's effects will be severely blunted. It also means you can get into more harbors, without necessarily waiting for the tide.
01-15-2008 09:35 PM
Faster Someone like Jeff H can give you a much more technical review, but from a PNW perspective there's not a real need for shoal draft, as you say.

However, you have one so:
You will have an advantage in many anchorages in that you can "sneak" in behind the pack and anchor tighter to the beach of the end of a cove - this will be especially handy in the busy summer season. If stern tying, with caution you can tuck in closer and maybe get out of a breeze or current. You'll still need to keep an eye on the tides, of course.

As far as performance goes, there will be a bit of a penalty, mostly in progress to weather. Your numbers may well look OK, but if you are sailing upwind in close proximity to a similar boat with deeper draft, you will probably find you lose ground on each tack as you will suffer more from leeway. (Assuming both boats equally well sailed, of course)

At sea it will likely be a less noticeable difference unless, again, you need to fight your way to windward, or "claw" your way off a lee shore somewhere....

Many "shoal" versions carry some additional ballast weight to offset the righting-arm loss, so depending on design there may not be a huge difference in "stiffness".
01-15-2008 09:20 PM
shallow draft pros and cons

I just bought a morgan 321 shallow draft. It draws 4. So far it has performed well under San Juan winter conditions. I had it out in 30 kts with 4' bay chop- no problems. The general mentality up here as far as draft goes is: the deeper the better. There are plenty of deep anchorages and much fewer sand bars than in the east or the gulf. I just want to hear what some others think as far as pros and cons of shallow draft go. Is the stability altered when you get into some really heavy weather? How are they in the open Pacific?

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome