Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: BC coast
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Re: What's the optimum draft for a...
There is no easy answer.
You will find people who will assure you need a long keel. Others who will recommend a long shallow fin with a skeg to protect the rudder. Most modern post 70s production sail boats have fin keel and spade rudders.
Which many would suggest are unsuitable for offshore, yet many successfully sail offshore.
If you are going to be in an area with lots of shallow water and drying harbors twin keel or even raising keel can be an advantage.
I am happy with my fin keel at over 6ft for a 35ft boat. I get better light wind performance and sail better to windward. I sail in the Pacific North West where its deep, and sheltered. You can find a lot of boats of this type. Most offshore, trade wind, boats don't need this advantage. A 7ft draft for a 40 ft. boat is OK. For most places, you will be restricted from a few.
To know you need to decide where you want to sail.
If you donít know. I would suggest a longish, shallow fin with a skeg, would be a good all round choice. They tend to be expensive. I donít know much about cats they tend to be old ugly D.I.Y. specials or very expensive.
Your best research is to get out on the water.
A full spectrum of live aboard courses from beginner up to offshore sailing would cost only about 1% to 2 % of your overall budget. You donít need to do the lot. Most people get on fine with just the beginner courses and some experience.
Advice to pick a small cheep sailor to learn on is also good.
Or Just by a 40ft boat, you may find you donít pick the right one for you though.