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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-03-2013 02:46 PM
Re: shoal draft keel vs regular keel

There are many marinas and channels with a limiting depth of 4' in the fla keys.

you end up using the dingy more with the fin in the Fl Keys. and need to pick your anchorages.
04-03-2013 02:06 PM
Re: shoal draft keel vs regular keel

I agree if we are talking about the same boat in the two configurations but it is not only a better pointing ability but also probably more 5º of leeway at least with some wind. The boat will also track better at high angles of heel and will be more forgiving in what regards rounding up.
04-03-2013 01:59 PM
Re: shoal draft keel vs regular keel

Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
I think it is pretty apparent that upwind performance is hurt by a shallow keel, but my question is HOW MUCH. Is it a little bit of pointing and VMG lost, like 10%, or is it much more?

Most of these shoal draft keels lack a NACA profile (haha I think even the standard fin keels generally lack this but less so) and are pretty thick, so I wouldn't be surprised if the difference in VMG is pretty high. But nautical engineering seems to be an art as much as a science sometimes...
I'll take a whack at your question, "HOW MUCH" on shoal vs deep draft.

If you're comparing the same boat with shoal/deep draft options, I'd guess it would be no more than 5 degrees, average. I base this on many years with a full keel centerboard boat that has 4' and 8' of draft with a simple flat plate bronze board.

There's little difference(if at all at) in how the boat feels board up vs board down. But you can often see the increase in your GPS track over the ground. Sailing to windward, a 5 degree average windward increase, sometimes more, sometimes less, is what I see.

Another thing I base my guess on, my friend has a J35. It points higher than my 1961 centerboarder . How much higher? I'd guess in 15 knots, sailing alongside, about 10 degrees. That's a lot.

Does that mean if I bolted his 7' foil shaped deep keel on my 1961 yawl, I'd point 10 degrees higher? No.

It's a combination of all the design differences in the two boats, not just one factor like draft(although sailboat hype may want you to believe it's one "new" advance).

Expect a boat with deep draft to sail a few degrees higher than the same with shoal draft.
04-02-2013 05:01 PM
Re: shoal draft keel vs regular keel

Yeah, that whole running aground thing. My current boat has a centerboard and water ballast so I've been spoiled by pretty much going anywhere I want to go. The only experience I've had with a wing keel is my friends Bene 32. I really like his boat but we did get stuck for a few minutes in the mud just off the Galveston ship channel. Had we been in a fin keeler we probably would have had an easier time getting out. As it was, a combination of swinging out on the boom and reversing/rocking finally got us out of there. I can only imagine what would happen had we hit some rocks or shell reef.

04-02-2013 04:23 PM
Re: shoal draft keel vs regular keel

I stated earlier that I took a wing keel Bennetau first from Key West, through the Bahamas, to jamacia and on down across the center of The Caribbean to Columbia. It was my first and only experience with a wing, but handled everything like a champ. The Volvo water pump sh!t the bed in Jamacia, I sailed it off the dock in light winds, out the channel. 450 miles open water to Columbia, the last part in 15 to 20 foot choppy seas, high winds, finishing with a tight squeez through the old spanish pirate wall at the entrance to Cartegania, and a brisk short tack 4 miles up into the Harbour to Club Nautico, and anchored right off the dock in a tight anchorage, all as I said, all under sail. Earlier We had crossed the banks in the bahamas and across from Nassau to the Exumas. while sailing down the Exumas a leaky rudder post caused me to run in to a shallow, un marked cut with a broken engine at night. we sailed down the leeward side a few miles at sunrise in 5 feet of water and fixed the problems in Staniel Cay. An uneventful run down to jamacia from there where the engine finally craped out for good. Prior to all that we motor sailed from key west to Bimini, and encounterd a rough passage in the straights. To sum it up, yes i do belive it's a good seaworthy, and performance under sail design. But I would'nt want to run aground in one.
04-02-2013 04:08 PM
Re: shoal draft keel vs regular keel

I have owned two boats with wing keels. Both of these boats were in the Chesapeake, where wing keels have some advantege in the shallow water.

There are plenty of performance disadvantages, but if you want to reduce draft from 6' to 4.5', for example, then a wing can be a good option.
04-02-2013 04:03 PM
Re: shoal draft keel vs regular keel

I have seen a few replies that said their preference would not be a wing keel. I can see where one of these when run into the mud might be tough to get out. On the other hand, they let you carry ballast low with a shallow draft. It also seems that leeway would be less than a standard shallow fin as the wings would serve as lateral resistance as the boat heeled. I know all boats are compromises, I'm trying to find something that will work well in the shallows of the Texas Gulf Coast as well as something for the Bahamas and Great Loop. Does anyone have experience with wing keels good/bad?

04-01-2013 10:56 AM
Re: shoal draft keel vs regular keel

Those interested in a centerboard weekender might look at the J/95 which draws 3.0" with the board up. In 2010 CRUSING WORLD named the J/95 the "Domestic Boat of the Year" and the "Best Weekender". Although reportedly built to ISO standards for crossing oceans in up to Force 10 winds, most of us would be interested in it's ability to navigate shoal water of Cape Cod, Great South Bay, Barnegat Bay, Chesapeake Bay, the Low Country of Georgia and the Carolinas, the Bahamas, Florida Keys, the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas.
04-01-2013 10:00 AM
Re: shoal draft keel vs regular keel

My understanding is that one of first Clearwater 35s, Kodiak, completed a circumnavigation, which is also stated in the listing found at Boater's Resources: Boating, marinas, accessories, equipment, and supplies at discounts you’ll love!.

When I was checking out the Clearwater, prior to seeing the one I finally bought in Florida, I visited the factory and interviewed Barrett Holby about this boat. I had a question about the keel "falling up" in a capsize, as it is controlled by a block and tackle arrangement and held in position by gravity alone. The original design showed a hydraulic arrangement that would have held the keel in position, but it was apparently never used in the actual construction.

I have a pin that is inserted in the keel trunk to act as a stop, but when I expressed my concern, Barrett suggested if I ever found myself in a situation where there was a threat of capsizing, that I should completely retract the keel. His logic was disarming: "Did you ever see a log capsize?" Since the ballast is contained in the leading edge of the keel in in the bilge, all of the ballast is low when the keel is completely retracted.

Another aspect of a retracted keel is that you can't trip on it. Note from a photo posted earlier, that--like the Southerly--there is only a smooth whaleback shape when the keel is fully retracted.
04-01-2013 01:34 AM
Re: shoal draft keel vs regular keel

I also looked at Southerly's for the conditions I have at my home port, but the price deterred me. I have only had "Heron" for 5 years, the previous owners kept her in excellent condition, I am trying to do the same. I was very lucky to find her when I did (I have hull #5).

I only have hearsay evidence that one of the 7 Clearwater boats has circumnavigated the globe, as such I believe they are seaworthy. My concern is what happens to that swing keel during a knockdown. I believe there is a mechanism to lock the keel in the down position built into the keel cabinet, but I have not investigated it as I have only be a coastal cruiser. My boat has a hydraulic system that prevents the keel from dropping rapidly unintentionally. The details in design and mechanisms evolved as they built these 7 boats, but the basic design is the same. Barrett Holby told me that the boat was designed to sail with the keel in any position, it was just a matter of how much leeway you could tolerate. I agree with Fallard in that my boat seems to find its groove at about 20 degrees of heel. I don't have a video, but I do have a nice picture taken during the Leukemia Regatta in NC last year.

I understand there may be another Clearwater 35 for sale in the Northeast, somewhat distressed due to a winter storm, for those that might be interested.
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