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post #1 of 21 Old 10-23-2018 Thread Starter
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Centreboard vs keel

I realise this has probably been done to death, but I'd like to get the opinions of more experienced sailors than myself.

If you could choose between a centreboard or keel for the same boat, which would you choose and why? Most of my sailing will likely be short, trailered trips in our local lake system, but I also have desires to take her offshore for coastal cruising. I will be building this boat, not buying, so a consideration must be given to simplicity of design, reduced materials cost, ease of construction, etc.

The boat in question is a Grey Seal by Iain Oughtred:
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post #2 of 21 Old 10-23-2018
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Re: Centreboard vs keel

We love our centerboard. We use it almost every day, at anchor and underway. At anchor, it minimizes roll in an anchorage and also underway, but it also can be used to reduce weather or lee helm by having it partially or all the way down.
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post #3 of 21 Old 10-23-2018
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Re: Centreboard vs keel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucknuckle View Post
I realise this has probably been done to death, but I'd like to get the opinions of more experienced sailors than myself.

If you could choose between a centreboard or keel for the same boat, which would you choose and why? Most of my sailing will likely be short, trailered trips in our local lake system, but I also have desires to take her offshore for coastal cruising. I will be building this boat, not buying, so a consideration must be given to simplicity of design, reduced materials cost, ease of construction, etc.

The boat in question is a Grey Seal by Iain Oughtred:
I would choose the centerboard boat. I like the ability to get into shallow water to anchor and even sail through. If the boat is intended to be trailerable then all the more the centerboard draft for increasing places you can haul and launch.

Ratings of the same boat with shoal vs deep keels allow about 3 to 5 seconds per mile. That's important to racers I suppose but has no relevance to me, a coastal sailor.

The Seal design, very beautiful, looks like a perfect keel centerboard. I doubt there is much performance difference between the two drafts.
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post #4 of 21 Old 10-23-2018
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Re: Centreboard vs keel

If you're going to be trailering the boat then centerboard. Absolutely.

The shallower draft simplifies trailer design, making for a less expensive trailer. It also makes it easier to get on and off the trailer, and opens up more ramps that you are able to use.

Having owned a number of trailer boats over the years, for me this would be a no-brainer.

Good luck, whatever your choice.
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-23-2018
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Re: Centreboard vs keel

I would be wary if the design was for a fixed-keel yacht and the manufacturer offered a centerboard version as an option. But I think there are real advantages if the design was centerboard from the start. The Ted Hood-designed Bristols are a good example of this, or so I'm told.
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post #6 of 21 Old 10-23-2018
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Re: Centreboard vs keel

To begin with, I would suggest that this is a very poor choice to build if your goals are lake sailing. Lake sailing tends to be a mix of extremely light air, and comparatively heavy air with relatively few medium days in between. This design would do poorly at either end of the wind range being obscenely heavy for a boat with this short a waterline length and being really short on sail area for lake sailing.

Normally, for all of the reasons mentioned above, I would agree 100% that the centerboard boat should be a more practical design for trailering. I typically am a fan of well designed keel centerboard boats.

But in this case, given your goals for the boat, I am not so sure that the centerboard version does make sense. Both versions of this design are severely short on sail area as compared to its drag, initial stability, and displacement. In the case of the centerboard version, there is less stability and so the sail area has been reduced as well. That would be okay if you normally sail in an area where the winds are rarely any more or less than 10 to 15 knots. But you are talking about both lake and ocean sailing and that requires a boat that is good at both ends of the wind range, which neither version would be, but the centerboard version with its smaller sail plan and stability would be much worse to the point of saying either change your sailing objectives or change your choice of design.

I would respectfully disagree with the statement "I would be wary if the design was for a fixed-keel yacht and the manufacturer offered a centerboard version as an option." since has been routinely done on boats with longer keels, and produced successful equally successful designs.

Jeff


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post #7 of 21 Old 10-23-2018
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Re: Centreboard vs keel

For trailering, centre board for sure. And the mast would ideally be in a tabernacle. A boat you can not easily rig and launch solo, you won't use.

An alternative design I might consider for the kind of mixed usage coastal/inland trailering I might consider the B & B Core Sound 20 Mark 3. Water ballast cat ketch. Fast, light, easy to launch and can take some weather. I have been aboard these boats. They are pretty sweet.

Core Sound 20 Mark 3 | B&B Yacht Designs
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post #8 of 21 Old 10-24-2018
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Re: Centreboard vs keel

There are builders and there are sailors. If you are a sailor and want a very small boat which will be safe in the ocean would get a Flicka or something similar. By the time your done building and outfitting not much difference in cost. The difference between 2 1/2í and 3 1/2í is meaningless as to where you can go when sailing. Yes itís a bit more of a headache when launching. But that additional foot is meaningful as regards righting arm.
So decide
Build or buy
Ocean or lake
Daysail or cruise
There are many great small centerboard day sailor designs. None are seaboats. There are a few very small ocean boats but the spectrum is large from minitransats to full keelers. The demands for an ocean v lake trailer boat are so different itís hard to image a design satisfying such diverse requirements. If youíre ocean sailing youíd likely launch and leave in the water for days and cruise. If youíre lake sailing probably donít even need bottom paint. If ocean youíd want something stout with a good avs. If lake something fast and fun. I think you will need to make up your mind. Itís sounds like youíd get more use out of a good centerboarder but donít expect to cruise in open waters. I donít get why people think coastal hops donít require a substantial good boat. You can get into a lot of trouble within sight of land.
If you go lake would get a more modern design. Something with a better performance envelope. Iíd get a folding tri but thatís my 2 cents. I say so as those are good bay and protected waters boats so quite safe for coastal cruising with a bit of common sense.

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post #9 of 21 Old 10-24-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Centreboard vs keel

I'm certainly not building the boat just to get on the water, I'd be mad to do that. The boat itself is the aim of the game, but when it's done I'd like to have some options with it. We have a substantial lake system (The Gippsland Lakes) on our doorstep, forecast winds for the rest of the week in the 10-20 knot range and I'd like to be able to use the boat there when finished, but we're also (relatively) local to places like Eden/Twofold Bay and I'm not opposed to the idea of driving up to the great barrier reef and pottering around the whitsunday islands, or putting in at one location and spending a couple of weeks sailing down to a pick-up point further down the coast in Queensland. So ideally I'd like a boat that can do both.

Like anything boat-building or sailing related, everything is a compromise and in an ideal world I'd have a dedicated boat for both goals, but the Grey Seal is described by the designer as being slightly over-powered in terms of sailing in order to perform well in light winds, and all reports I've read from owners/builders describe her as handling extremely well in more powerful winds as well. Plus it's just a downright beautiful boat, I love her lines and her traditional look, I think it falls within my capabilities as a builder and is the right size for one or two people to spend an extended amount of time on. Maybe in the future I might look at a second hand folkboat or something similar for extended coastal cruising, but time and money only permit one project at the moment!
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post #10 of 21 Old 10-24-2018
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Re: Centreboard vs keel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcb View Post
For trailering, centre board for sure. And the mast would ideally be in a tabernacle. A boat you can not easily rig and launch solo, you won't use.

An alternative design I might consider for the kind of mixed usage coastal/inland trailering I might consider the B & B Core Sound 20 Mark 3. Water ballast cat ketch. Fast, light, easy to launch and can take some weather. I have been aboard these boats. They are pretty sweet.

Core Sound 20 Mark 3 | B&B Yacht Designs
I have been impressed with the B&B designs too especially considering how well they have performed in the Gulf of Mexico in some fairly grueling seas that have caused others to call for assistance.

The Belhaven design with its bilge keel/centerboard design which give a more open cockpit and cabin and is based a bit on the CoreSound is another one that appeals to me.
Belhaven 19 | B&B Yacht Designs

Last edited by SeaStar58; 10-24-2018 at 10:32 AM.
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