Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: NE & Windwards
Thanked 190 Times in 181 Posts
Rep Power: 7
Re: What type of Keel do you prefer....
Been thinking about BSs statements about bilge keels. Accept that in some very limited circumstances they make great sense. For instance Brits with a large tidal gradient and shingle bottom. But for most of us think there are much better choices.
If you sailing in areas with mud bottoms bilge keels limit your options. Best time to get free is in the seconds you are running aground. With other keels you can bear off. Back winding the sails or even the sudden turn itself is often sufficient to reduce draft and you are free. Such a turn increases the draft of bilge keel boat as heel increases.
Similarly, once you are aground reducing draft by attaching an anchor to a halyard and setting it a distance athwart ships is not an option for the bilge boat.
Your options to kedge off are also limited. Whereas, with other keel designs you can set the kedge to both reduce draft and pull you to safer waters with two keels it will be hard to pull in any direction other than straight forward or aft.
Then again as you head south were there is little tidal range with the bilge keeler you may be there for quite awhile. One would particularly worry if moon phase is causing decreasing tidal range.
Of course in many places there is a layer of soft, soupy, loose mud of several feet above the true bottom. Places chewed up by frequent anchoring like block or much of the Cheasepeake. Here the suction that causes, particularly if the boat sinks to rest on its canoe body may make it hard to get free.
In short other than areas where there is a firm bottom and good tidal range other keels may offer both better performance and peace of mind. If the intention is the dry out or to gunk hole a true centerboard such as on Hannah2 s Boreal. Not burdened by the weight of steel many Al boats can have excellent avs but still get by internal ballast unlike the situation as in BS boats where it is in the keels. Or to just generally cruise a fin of moderate draft and aspect may be the best choice.
Of course the canting keels or very deep high aspect fins of the racers meet other needs as do the various fixed keel shoal designs.
Last edited by outbound; 02-01-2016 at 09:34 PM.