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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Sailboat Design and Construction
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  #1  
Old 10-22-2007
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Lee Boards

Another thread that no one will respond to. Does anyone have experience sailing with leeboards? Is there any inherant advantage or disadvantage to the lee board versus the centerboard? Any performance tradeoffs?

Thanks,
Freeman
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2007
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They are not commonly used on modern production sailboats of the larger size. You'll more often see them on smaller daysailers and camp-cruisers, where they are appreciated because they can open up the interior of the boat for sleeping by eliminating the d-board or centerboard trunk. Phil Bolger has employed them on a fair number of his designs, I think including the Dovekie (a little micro/pocket cruiser.) Another mass-produced lee-boarder is the Sea-Pearl ( http://www.marine-concepts.com/ ), which are popular with shallow water sailers and camp-cruisers.

Another advantage I've heard is that the lee-boards, if fitted port and starboard (some lee-boarders have only one), can be slightly assymetric in design to produce more lift on a given tack.
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Old 10-22-2007
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I think there is a big wooden sail boat that some small country builds that has big.. really big lee boards. I've no idea what country it is.

A name of one sailboat comes to mind.. "luger" ?

As John said they are used on smaller boats.. Most sailing canoeists that I've seen use 2 even though they know the lee is the one they really need.
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Old 10-22-2007
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I never sailed one, But I saw quite a few of them in Holland.
Holland is very flat land with many (shallow) channels and plenty of wind.
Something like this one:
http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listing/cache/searchResults.jsp?cit=true&slim=quick&ybw=&sm=3&is=&man=leeboard&hmid=0&ftid=0&enid=0&fromLength=&toLength=&luom=126&fromYear=&toYear=&fromPrice=&toPrice=&currencyid=100&city=&pbsint=&boatsAddedSelected=-1&ps=30
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Old 10-22-2007
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The lateral resistance of a lee board begins at the water line as opposed to centreboards which begin at the bottom of the hull. For this reason they provide shallower draft while presenting the same area of lateral resistance. Disadvantage is that they have to be lowered / raised when changing tacks. Aesthetics are a factor, one way or another depending on how your tastes lean.

As mentioned previously, lee boards have the advantage of providing uninterrupted interior space, great for a tender. Overall, it's a simpler design with less chance of jamming than a centreboard. It would also be easier to convert a non-sailing boat to a sailing one using lee boards.
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Old 10-22-2007
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I am looking at a 34 ft ted Brewer design gaff rigged ketch that has lee boards. Its pretty cute.
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Old 10-22-2007
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Unless I had a very stringent draft limitation, I would not want leeboards on a mid-size cruising boat. I wouldn't even want a centerboard. I prefer to keep things as simple as possible, and on Chesapeake Bay I can afford (draft-wise) the luxury of a moderate draft, ballasted, fixed fin keel. But I suppose if I owned waterfront lacking deepwater dockage, I might explore the options...

How does that Brewer design incorporate the ballast? Any specs available on LPS?
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Old 10-22-2007
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I've never seen this but I doubt that I'm the first to think of it. If the lee board was curved on one surface and flat on the other, similar to an airplane wing, there would be more lift (along the curved side) than with a centreboard which is symmetrical. You could have the same lift with less board area in the water. Less wetted area means less drag / more speed.

As well, if the angle of the lee board could be adjusted so that it was always vertical in the water, regardless of the amount of heel, the wetted area could be reduced further still compared to a centreboard with the same lift.
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Old 10-22-2007
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Lee boards were quite common at the tail end of the sailboat era in esturine waters, such as those bordering the North Sea. But they are a significant compromise unless you spend most of your time sailing in waters where if the wind dies, you can get out and pull the boat home.

On the other hand, some conservative dinghy designs still employ them.
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Old 10-23-2007
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Some not-so-conservative multi-hulls too.
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