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I have looked through hundreds of photos and only seen a couple where a bimini was deployed while sailing, and they were very large boats > 45 feet.
Here is a 19 foot boat with Bimini. Pretty sure Potter 15s are also sailed with Biminis. The reason you are likely not seeing more photos of boats sailing with biminis is it makes the boat less photogenic but more comfortable those for on the boat.
136426
 

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5 boats later, here's some advice for what it's worth.

Worry less about the exact type of boat or specific features, worry more about condition. Buy something that's up and running, fully commissioned (hasn't been sitting), been maintained by a knowledgeable owner, and go sailing right away.

If you have a specific constraint (like your dock is shallow), then take that into consideration. But don't get hung up on details. You'll get 1000 opinions here on what matters, what keel, what anchor, what sail configuration, hull shape, builder, etc. Everything matters far less than condition.

The first "cruising" boat will teach you what you like and don't like. But if you buy one that needs lots of work, it will teach you that you can spend all your time fixing things, and zero time sailing. Sail it for a few years, and buy something else.

Don't go bargain hunting. The cheap part of boat ownership is the purchase price. No one wants to talk about annual cost, but trust me, it's the expensive part and becomes even more expensive if you buy the wrong boat. If inexperienced, do some looking around for a good broker to guide you and when you find the "right one" hire a surveyor. Not hard to find, marine industry is tiny, everyone knows who the good and bad guys are. Ask around.

YMMV. Good luck, welcome to the madness!
 

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OP- Read Capecodda’s Post and then read it again. Sage advice to be found in it. AA🤙
 

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the full keel seems like the better option for a novice sailor.
As a somewhat novice sailor myself I'm curious what you base this on? I've never sailed a full keel, but this is certainly not the sense I have from reading about it.

I get wanting a "stable" boat for the family, though personally I'm not sure a massive blue water full keel beast is the best for family sailing, but that's just IMO. I take my 2 young kids out in a 23 ft, wing keel boat (I stay home in rough weather though). And for example, you'll hopefully be docking more often than being out in severe weather, and (from what I've read) with a full keel this is more difficult. Focusing on maneuvering and docking single-handed while your wife try to hold down a tired, screaming kid who wants to climb out is also a hazard (don't ask how I know..)
 

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I don't know that I'd pick the mainsheet location (and by extension the boat) on the bimini issue. If you often single-hand, or are effectively doing so because you are also wrangling little kids, having the mainsheet near the helm is really nice. If it is up on the cabin top or bridgedeck, you likely can't trim the main without leaving the helm (depending, of course, on the cockpit size).
Well that is a dilemma isn't it. I am planning mostly single handed sailing. Maybe then a center cockpit will be best as the mainsheet connects behind the cockpit, so I still have access. This is a really frustrating decision and not knowing much about sailing frankly except the few rental days I've had doesntt help. I might just end up paying one of those experts to pick a boat for me.
 

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Here is a 19 foot boat with Bimini. Pretty sure Potter 15s are also sailed with Biminis. The reason you are likely not seeing more photos of boats sailing with biminis is it makes the boat less photogenic but more comfortable those for on the boat.
View attachment 136426
On your boat it actually looks pretty good. The bimini balances the dodger aesthetically.
 

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As a somewhat novice sailor myself I'm curious what you base this on? I've never sailed a full keel, but this is certainly not the sense I have from reading about it.

I get wanting a "stable" boat for the family, though personally I'm not sure a massive blue water full keel beast is the best for family sailing, but that's just IMO. I take my 2 young kids out in a 23 ft, wing keel boat (I stay home in rough weather though). And for example, you'll hopefully be docking more often than being out in severe weather, and (from what I've read) with a full keel this is more difficult. Focusing on maneuvering and docking single-handed while your wife try to hold down a tired, screaming kid who wants to climb out is also a hazard (don't ask how I know..)
A full keel, heavy ballast boat is (I think) going to be better for a novice sailor because it will be easier to control/stay safe in rough conditions. If we are doing multi day trips and exploring new areas, I assume we will at some point be in less than ideal conditions.
 

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Why is it easier to control? What do you base that on.
What makes a boat SAFE is the captain of the boat, knowing it and their own limitations
You can take the most seaworthy boat made captained by all ow it all nimrod.....so is it safe🙀🙀🙀🙀
 

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A full keel, heavy ballast boat is (I think) going to be better for a novice sailor because it will be easier to control/stay safe in rough conditions. If we are doing multi day trips and exploring new areas, I assume we will at some point be in less than ideal conditions.
Not necessarily. A lot of those old full keel designs heel a lot and are wet to sail. It's not so much a function of the keel design as the hull design. But you do mostly find full keels on old designs. A lot of more modern designs will be more pleasant to sail in less than ideal conditions.

Research "form stability" for an explanation.
 

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Why is it easier to control? What do you base that on.
What makes a boat SAFE is the captain of the boat, knowing it and their own limitations
You can take the most seaworthy boat made captained by all ow it all nimrod.....so is it safe🙀🙀🙀🙀
Obviously the skill and experience of the captain is a significant factor, probably the most significant. However being a relatively inexperienced sailor I'm trying to determine the best type of boat to learn and gain experience on. A racer is going to be more challenging than a cruiser for example. The safest course of action is to not go at all. 😜
 

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Not necessarily. A lot of those old full keel designs heel a lot and are wet to sail. It's not so much a function of the keel design as the hull design. But you do mostly find full keels on old designs. A lot of more modern designs will be more pleasant to sail in less than ideal conditions.

Research "form stability" for an explanation.
Thanks for that info. It seems that it's a bit of a trade off. Wide flat hulls/high form stability = more comfort in good conditions less comfort in rough conditions. And the opposite is true for more traditional v shaped hulls.

Given our budget of 30-40k and need to fit five people I think we will by default be looking at a 70's era more traditional v shaped design.
 

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Why is it easier to control? What do you base that on.
What makes a boat SAFE is the captain of the boat, knowing it and their own limitations
You can take the most seaworthy boat made captained by all ow it all nimrod.....so is it safe🙀🙀🙀🙀
Now I don't doubt what you say about the value of experience. But a novice is a novice, they're kind of stuck with that fact for some time. So I think the relevant question is which is the better boat design for a novice until they get to the point that experience can overcome other factors.

So I have also read the same from multiple sources that a full keel tends to be associated with more stability.
I have read that a full keel makes the boat maintain direction better which is a big positive in big weather, especially to a novice who will have less than optimal reaction time to unwanted and unexpected changes in direction. Also I saw a video of a circumnavigator in a fin keeled Van De Stadt who was lamenting not having his old full keel boat anymore in both running downwind in a following sea, he had far less stability, and he was really struggling with weather helm and keeping the boat not pointed into the wind, which it kept tending to do. He fixed it with sail adjustments, but then again, a novice might not yet know exactly how.

Not necessarily. A lot of those old full keel designs heel a lot and are wet to sail. It's not so much a function of the keel design as the hull design. But you do mostly find full keels on old designs. A lot of more modern designs will be more pleasant to sail in less than ideal conditions.

Research "form stability" for an explanation.
Isn't the full keel also a benefit because it tends to be encapsulated so no bolt on issues to have to worry about?
And also they tend to have a higher ballast to weight ratio, making them more upright.
And also on a full keel, the rudder is more protected from poorly marked fisherman's lines and debris in the water, also protecting the drive shaft and the prop?
And also aren't full keel boats more protecting of the rudder in the case of accidental grounding, which a novice is more likely to do?

Sure seems like a lot of stability and safety and boat integrity benefits of a full keel to dismiss?

I think this is an important topic and appreciate a detailed discussion.
Full keel is also almost top of my list for my first cruiser as I'll be in the North Sea.
 

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Obviously the skill and experience of the captain is a significant factor, probably the most significant. However being a relatively inexperienced sailor I'm trying to determine the best type of boat to learn and gain experience on. A racer is going to be more challenging than a cruiser for example. The safest course of action is to not go at all. 😜
You pretty much beat me to the punch on that one.
Also our search criteria, and budget are quite similar- I'm also looking at mostly 70s, and early 80s boats.
 

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Thanks for that info. It seems that it's a bit of a trade off. Wide flat hulls/high form stability = more comfort in good conditions less comfort in rough conditions. And the opposite is true for more traditional v shaped hulls.

Given our budget of 30-40k and need to fit five people I think we will by default be looking at a 70's era more traditional v shaped design.
Fin keels with decent form stability were widespread by the 70s. Even then, full keels were long in the tooth from a design perspective. I had a 1974 Grampian 30 with a fin keel and not bad form stability that had sleeping accomodations for 6. I paid $7500 for it. I am not saying that's the ideal boat for you, but you can definitely get a fin keel boat from the 70s.
 

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I’m trying to figure out whether you are a novice by your posts. You’ve developed some opinions from reading, but tend to ingnore opinions contrary from those with practice experience.

Full keel does not necessarily mean more stable, I know some full keel slugs which have very unkind sea motion. You cant make some generalization. Flat bottom boats are built that way to increase volume not to make them more stable. Racing boats are just that, very few boats are strictly racers, . There are full keels, notched keels, fin keels and many variations. My point about the Captain is that the person who controls the boat can do things to make even a narrow racing boat quite safe and comfortable. It doesn’t require as much experience as you think.. Every boat you look at will have characteristics for that boat. Those who already own that model can tell you. To make some generic statement about eliminating 3/4 of the boats out there by eliminating boats other than full keel because of something you have read doesn’t make sense.

You seem to be worried about being caught in difficult weather which is understandable. North Sea sailing is heavy wind sailing. So with little experience how many times are you going to put yourself in a 35 knot, 6-7 foot situation?
If you get caught in it it’s probably lack of planning, again under the Captains control.

. I have friends who saill blue water . They have many different variations of keels. Some are full keeled dreadnaughts who don’t sail well into the wind, some are notched keel like a Hans Christian Cristina, some are narrow fins like SunDeers ( they are on their way around the world)

Try and keep your mind open to all boats. Your small limited budget should be able to get you and the family a nice boat , really one for you to leern on. At that point you have the experience and seen other boats first hand, talked to their owners to get that super cruising boat. You have understood the other aspects of owning a blue water boats systems. Experienced can not be rushed or learned from a book. It’s a function of time and “experiences”.

Good luck in your search.
 
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I am not sure who to attribute the statement to but I have heard "fast is safe," regarding sailboat designs.

A narrow, heavy, slow full keeled boat is more likely safer in conditions where the boat might be in extremely snotty conditions, where the boat may get knocked down and rolled. The downside is they are heavy and slow. A racer cruising boat with a 6 foot keel might be 20% faster and point 10 degrees higher. This boat might be in harbor hours or days ahead of a heavy cruising boat. The owner might have more opportunities to test the superior capsize ratio of their boat.

The one advantage I can see to a full keeled boat is draft. A full keeled boat might be 5 feet or less, a performance-oriented fin keeled boat might have you drawing 6+ feet, the more the better until you hit bottom or can't enter a marina. The true downside of a full keeled boat is performance under power. The most dangerous part of sailing for a newbie is docking and a full keel can make that much harder.
 

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I’m trying to figure out whether you are a novice by your posts. You’ve developed some opinions from reading, but tend to ingnore opinions contrary from those with practice experience.
I have said that I am a novice, I've sailed about a dozen times I guess, mostly on small, open, rental boats so I'm sure I have a lot to learn. I'm not saying those are my 'opinions' necessarily, but just the impressions from what I have read is why I find it interesting to see the idea of full keels being safer being challenged. I am actually listening, sorry if it didn't come across that way:)

To make some generic statement about eliminating 3/4 of the boats out there by eliminating boats other than full keel because of something you have read doesn’t make sense.
Well actually in the limited price range that I'm looking at, most options are pretty old, and full keel is pretty common in the 70s.

You seem to be worried about being caught in difficult weather which is understandable. North Sea sailing is heavy wind sailing. So with little experience how many times are you going to put yourself in a 35 knot, 6-7 foot situation?
If you get caught in it it’s probably lack of planning, again under the Captains control.
Yep I'll do my best to avoid the nasty weather especially in my first year. However as you say the North Sea has a reputation for heavy winds and can change pretty quickly or so I hear.

Try and keep your mind open to all boats. Your small limited budget should be able to get you and the family a nice boat , really one for you to leern on. At that point you have the experience and seen other boats first hand, talked to their owners to get that super cruising boat. You have understood the other aspects of owning a blue water boats systems. Experienced can not be rushed or learned from a book. It’s a function of time and “experiences”.

Good luck in your search.
Oh by the way, the guy with the family going onboard is the other guy. After sometime getting acquainted and more experienced on relatively protected waters I'll be venturing forth between Sweden and Scotland, Netherlands, and Norway mostly, and mostly single handed. As my family has a proclivity for sea sickness, my dream is literally their nightmare LOL.

Anyway, stability points noted and I will keep options open.
I have no idea what average marina depth is around here, though that may be a concern. I'll have to look into it.
Somebody said in a prior thread that condition should be a bigger factor in an early purchase so as not to sink the financial boat so to speak. Though I sill wonder what you think of the other points about full/long keels?

Does that mean it's encapsulated so you have less concern about bolt issues?
Also does the added protection for the rudder and propeller make much difference in practice?

Being single handed or expecting to be shortly, durability is actually just as big or bigger concern.
I have actually read about a surprising number of people losing their bolted on keel at sea, either slowly sinking straight down or flipping right over, and I can't imagine much worse. Also read about people losing their rudder. And I'd like to insure against those possibilities as entirely as possible!

Thanks again for the information.
 

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I am not sure who to attribute the statement to but I have heard "fast is safe," regarding sailboat designs.

A narrow, heavy, slow full keeled boat is more likely safer in conditions where the boat might be in extremely snotty conditions, where the boat may get knocked down and rolled. The downside is they are heavy and slow. A racer cruising boat with a 6 foot keel might be 20% faster and point 10 degrees higher. This boat might be in harbor hours or days ahead of a heavy cruising boat. The owner might have more opportunities to test the superior capsize ratio of their boat.

The one advantage I can see to a full keeled boat is draft. A full keeled boat might be 5 feet or less, a performance-oriented fin keeled boat might have you drawing 6+ feet, the more the better until you hit bottom or can't enter a marina. The true downside of a full keeled boat is performance under power. The most dangerous part of sailing for a newbie is docking and a full keel can make that much harder.
I suppose that's a good argument, if a big storm is coming, the safest boat is the one to fastest high tail it out of there. Haha- it has validity, good point. Perhaps investing in an extra large engine would be a good safety move.

Again, I'll have to look into the local marina depth- hadn't even considered that factor.
 

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For your offshore sailing I could see a heavier displacement and protected rudder.
Encapsulated keels are not the bees knees. Any corrosion is buried.

I prefer a bolt on keel. They can be tightened, lowered and worked on etc. while yes there are stories of keels falling off...they are extremely rare. You can get at and inspect and work on potential keel bolt deterioration,.

We’ve had our keel lowered and inspected at the 25 year mark, no issues. We tighten torque ours every other year. Very often no adjustment
 

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Perhaps investing in an extra large engine would be a good safety move.
Most boats sail and powerboats speeds are limited by a 'theoretical hull speed' based on its waterline. No amount of practical up sizing your engine on a cruising boat is going to get it to exceed this speed.

One of the differences between fast boat and a slow boat is the amount of wind it takes to get it moving or at what wind speed or sea conditions would you sail vs motoring. I would guess I would need at least 10 knots of wind to want to raise the sails on a full keeled boat. So the slower the boat the more time you would likely spend motoring vs sailing.
 
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