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Hi Forum,
I am considering purchasing a late 80s Catalina 27 with either a wing keel or fin keel. Can't sail in Montana in the winter to discover the difference, so I need help in considering the sailing characteristics of both of those Catalina keels. Would truly appreciate hearing from you who have Catalina experience and or wisdom on that keel topic. Your insights would help this winter as I look at and sail prospective boats on the west coast. Also, is Catalina still using that late 80s wing keel?
Thank You,
Gary
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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As I understand it the older Catalina 27's come in 4 varieties: std rig, shoal draft, shoal draft & tall rig and tall rig w/slightly deeper keel. I'm not sure that the shallow draft models are wing keeled models but they might be.
You can look up the different types here:
CATALINA 27 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
For the Pacific coast of the US you should have no need for a boat with a smaller keel from what I hear.
 

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One difference between the wing and the fin is that when you go aground with the wing, it digs into the bottom and you usually stay stuck. With a fin, which is what we have, we have always been able to just plow through with no problems.

Another difference is the draft. Your boat won't draft as much with a wing keel and that is usually preferable if you sail in shallow water.
 

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One difference between the wing and the fin is that when you go aground with the wing, it digs into the bottom and you usually stay stuck. With a fin, which is what we have, we have always been able to just plow through with no problems.

Another difference is the draft. Your boat won't draft as much with a wing keel and that is usually preferable if you sail in shallow water.
Donna,
This keeps coming up, but it hasn't been our experience sailing on shallow Barnegat Bay.

So far we've had no problems getting off when we've bumped bottom.

I really think the difference is overstated, though some claim a difference between mud and sand, that I'm not sure about as we didn't go aground with her on the Chesapeake.

Jim
 

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Donna,
This keeps coming up, but it hasn't been our experience sailing on shallow Barnegat Bay.

So far we've had no problems getting off when we've bumped bottom.

I really think the difference is overstated, though some claim a difference between mud and sand, that I'm not sure about as we didn't go aground with her on the Chesapeake.

Jim
Of course there are no absolutes. As with just about any question asked about boats "It depends" is usually the best answer but very unsatisfying for the person who asked.

I'm not sure about it being overstated for those who sail in areas with mud bottoms. I've heard quite a few say that they got stuck and could only get free with help. I suppose sand won't create that same suction that mud would.
 

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As someone that just bought a C22 I sailed a bunch of boats before making a decision plus a few C25 and C27's also. Most had wings and a couple had fins and I do believe the fins point slightly higher but you also need good sails to get that advantage.

Like others said, in the Pacific draft does not seem to be an issue.

Overall, I would buy the best conditioned boat with the most upgrades and maintenance history regardless of the keel set-up IMHO...
 

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If you're planning on keeping the boat in the West coast there's no reason to seek out a wing keel and the question is somewhat moot.

If you're lake sailing it would depend on the lake. If there's a prospect of trailering the boat to different regions, a shoal/wing keel will facilitate ramp launching better than a deep keel.

If there's zero interest in racing, or in maximizing performance upwind under sail, then a wing keel isn't likely to be noticeably different to you and perhaps you simply choose the nicest/best value package you come across, as azguy mentioned.
 

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Of course there are no absolutes. As with just about any question asked about boats "It depends" is usually the best answer but very unsatisfying for the person who asked.

I'm not sure about it being overstated for those who sail in areas with mud bottoms. I've heard quite a few say that they got stuck and could only get free with help. I suppose sand won't create that same suction that mud would.
This always seems to come up with folks who sail the Chesapeake. Like anything else "best" really does depend on your cruising grounds and how you use the boat.

Not to hijack the thread but how did you make out with your new diesel? Did you go Beta marine?
 

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Faster nailed it. It is all about whether or not you need the shallower draft that the wing keel provides. If you do, get it. If you don't, then either will suffice, but the fin keel will probably sail just a bit better.

Here in Florida it would be a no-brainer for me--wing keel all the way. Where you are...?
 

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...

Not to hijack the thread but how did you make out with your new diesel? Did you go Beta marine?
Yep. Love that l'il red Beta.
 

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Barquito
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I'm not sure about it being overstated for those who sail in areas with mud bottoms. I've heard quite a few say that they got stuck and could only get free with help. I suppose sand won't create that same suction that mud would.
I would think heeling the boat over to get unstuck wouldn't work with a wing keel. It would just dig that edge in more. OTOH, if you wanted to dry her out in tidal conditions, it would probably sit on the wing nicely.
 

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I would think heeling the boat over to get unstuck wouldn't work with a wing keel. It would just dig that edge in more. OTOH, if you wanted to dry her out in tidal conditions, it would probably sit on the wing nicely.
No, it works, you just have to heel it over a little bit more (I have one). And, yes it will sit up, on the hard, straight up, with no supports (but, not recommended). :D
 

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MikeGuyver
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We have a C-390 now after selling our C27. Both fin keels. The 390 has a 7'2" draft. We spent 7 weeks last summer sailing from Portland Ore. to B.C. Never had a problem with depth. Mostly what we found is a lot of rocks and very deep anchorages. There are mud and/or sand bottom areas but mostly we like to anchor in 20-30' so draft isn't an issue. I trailered the 27 and had her launched with a travel lift. Most of the ramps I found were too steep to haul 10,000# of boat and trailer up anyway. Unless you find one with a tabernacling mast you will have to have a crane to step it up. There is a nice 27 for sale at Passion Yachts in Portland.
 

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I don't want to raise a red flag if it's not deserved but does the rudder on the wing keel Catalinas extend deeper than the keel? I recall a friend of mine grounding his C28 and bending the rudder shaft. That would be enough for me to go with the fin keel.

Again, I can't claim to be an expert, maybe some the Catalina owners can add some information here.
 

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I don't want to raise a red flag if it's not deserved but does the rudder on the wing keel Catalinas extend deeper than the keel? I recall a friend of mine grounding his C28 and bending the rudder shaft. That would be enough for me to go with the fin keel.

Again, I can't claim to be an expert, maybe some the Catalina owners can add some information here.
Looking at some profile drawings it appears that the rudders are as deep, but not deeper, than the shoal keep option, even with a deep keel...


image from sailboatdata.com
 

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On my Catalina 30 (1995) the keel is a bit deeper than the rudder - not a lot but it is a bit deeper.
 

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I wouldnt trade my full keel on my 27 for anything. I can point just about as high as a j105 when my sail trim is dialed in.
 

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I think most of the relevant answers posted in this thread. However, no one has yet mentioned the wing keel shoal draft designs usually have a bit more ballast than a fin keel of the same model. I think the wing keel C27 has about 220lbs more ballast than the fin keel. The extra weight is probably negligible unless you're a hardcore racer, in which case you're probably shopping for a fin keel. Ballast and draft differences also mean different centers of gravity, etc, but that's all too much math for my meager cruising sailor's mind.

We recently purchased a wing keel C-34 and are very happy. We don't require a shallow draft, so a wing keel was not a "must have". In fact, I suppose if I had my choice of equal boats, I'd take the fin keel just because. However, overall condition of the boat was our top priority so the keel design didn't really matter. We don't race so I don't really care about a bit of extra speed or marginally better pointing.
 
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