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post #1 of 14 Old 02-18-2010 Thread Starter
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Which type of keel to choose

So here is my question, I am preparing to purchase a boat. My first cruising will be done off of Florida and the Bahamas, however after that I would like to have something that is seaworthy enough to go further abroad and hopefully do some blue water cruising. Am i going to be too limited while cruising Florida and the Bahamas if I get a vessel with a 5' 5" keel? Will I be too limited in more open water if I get something with a draft of 3' 11"?

I very much appreciate your advice!

EDIT: Let me rephrase my question: I would prefer to buy a boat with a deeper keel, how big a limitation will this be while cruising off of Florida and in the Bahamas? Is there many places I won't be able to go because of the extra few feet of draft?

Last edited by pos3idon; 02-18-2010 at 02:32 PM. Reason: Clarifying Question
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-18-2010
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It all depends on what boat you're looking at. Some boats with very shallow drafts are perfectly capable of crossing oceans... some with deep drafts are not... It would help a lot more if you said what boats you're looking at specifically, or what your budget and the size of boat you're looking for are.

As they say in the programming courses: Garbage in ==>Garbage out.

The better information you give, the better the answers you will get.

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Originally Posted by pos3idon View Post
So here is my question, I am preparing to purchase a boat. My first cruising will be done off of Florida and the Bahamas, however after that I would like to have something that is seaworthy enough to go further abroad and hopefully do some blue water cruising. Am i going to be too limited while cruising Florida and the Bahamas if I get a vessel with a 5' 5" keel? Will I be too limited in more open water if I get something with a draft of 3' 11"?

I very much appreciate your advice!



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post #3 of 14 Old 02-18-2010 Thread Starter
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Let me rephrase my question: I would prefer to buy a boat with a deeper keel, how big a limitation will this be while cruising off of Florida and in the Bahamas? Is there many places I won't be able to go because of the extra few feet of draft?
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-18-2010
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Keel vs draft

First, this post really belongs in the Boat Buying area vs Sailing Related.

Secondly, there are many factors that make a boat better suited for off-shore...and the depth of the keel is just one of several. Other factors, such as full keel vs fin keel vs swing keel vs bulbed keel vs the weight of the keel may be important in the overall seaworthyness of the boat for bluewater sailing. The keel is just one part of the boat and other parts (such as the hull) may actually be bigger factors to consider in the overall picture.

You'll likely get a better answer to your question if you could be more specific; maybe by asking which of several boats would be better suited for bluewater, or for coastal (shallow) cruising...

I read once that J-Boats had a more comfortable ride for bluewater sailing than most other boats. Granted, the article was quite old. Nevertheless, it did play a factor in my decision when buying my boat. But, J-Boats (with deep fin keels) have added draft which limits their shallow water cruising capabilities.

I hope this helps...

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post #5 of 14 Old 02-18-2010
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What size boat are you looking for?

Draft is a relative thing. On a 25 footer, a 5.5' fixed draft would be on the deep side. Probably needlessly so. On a 45' boat, 5.5' would be very shoal (shallow) draft, and could compromise upwind and/or off-shore performance (depending on design).

More info.


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post #6 of 14 Old 02-18-2010
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Yes

We draw 7' and have to allways be carefull becasue even with a lot of water depth with swells you can find the bottom in water much deeper than 7'

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post #7 of 14 Old 02-18-2010
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Bahamas

generally for Bahamas it is best to keep draft around 5 feet.

Yes, you will give up windward performance for that on most boats.

Draft of 8 feet and you can still cruise the Bahamas but you will be limited in certain anchorages/harbors.

Never anchor in water shallower at low tide than about 8 feet with a 5 foot draft.

Don't forget tide tables are metric.
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-18-2010 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimB517 View Post
generally for Bahamas it is best to keep draft around 5 feet.

Yes, you will give up windward performance for that on most boats.

Draft of 8 feet and you can still cruise the Bahamas but you will be limited in certain anchorages/harbors.

Never anchor in water shallower at low tide than about 8 feet with a 5 foot draft.

Don't forget tide tables are metric.
that is an excellent answer, thank you :-)
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-18-2010
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Have you investigated 'centerboards'?
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-18-2010 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Have you investigated 'centerboards'?
.
I know this is my own preconception but: I feel ok sailing in my 17' hunter with a centerboard since it only weighs about 500lbs if i capsize it I can climb up on the centerboard and right it (assuming it hasn't turtled) but something about my 30' home having a centerboard seems a little scary.
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