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Can somebody pro/con a full vs. fin keel for a newbie (will learn to sail on said boat) and taking it thru the Caribbean? All I can seem to come up with so far is fin keel is better to the wind, and a full keel will protect your rudder.
 

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Can somebody pro/con a full vs. fin keel for a newbie (will learn to sail on said boat) and taking it thru the Caribbean? All I can seem to come up with so far is fin keel is better to the wind, and a full keel will protect your rudder.
So far so good.

A full keel will generally track better dead down wind. Full keel boats tend to have a smaller draft allowing them to get into shallower water. But as you inferred, they do not tend to point as well as fin-keels. They also need more speed to get steerage way.
 
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Well you might consider this.

Your keel is what keeps your boat from slipping sideways which is why full keel boats track better and so cruisers like them. Fin keels are better for racing because they allow for quicker turns.

If you want to cruise you also have to consider worse case scenarios. Like what happens when the wind is so severe that all sail must come down. In that case sometimes people have to put out drogs, not just to slow the boat but so that their boats will be quartered aft to the wind, which is recommended for heavy weather. On many full keel boats this position occurs naturally when in severe weather.

Linda
 

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Oh, and I forgot one other advantage. If you are a cruiser with a full keel boat, you don't have to fiddle with your windvane as much as with a fin keeled boat.

Linda
 

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A full keel with bad hull balance wont track anywhere near as well as a fin keel with good hull balance. A boat travels many times the length of any keel in the time it takes to broach, so keel length has far less effect on tracking than one would assume.
On a steel boat, a full keel means having an extra 400 lbs of dead weight in the stern , which aggravates hobby horsing, and is an inaccessible area , hard to maintain, and useless for a carrying any weight, being too far aft.
 
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Linda,
To suggest that cruisers in general prefer full keels is simply not sustainable. Some do, no doubt but in this day and age a goodly number don't. Yesterday coming down the coast we passed an old gaff rigged, no doubt full keeled, schooner. Passed being the operative word and the Womboat is no greyhound. No thanks, not for me. I've owned and sailed both full and fin, albeit moderate fins and i'd not choose to go back to full. Otoh Bob Perry's Babas are fine boats as are Bill Crealock's efforts. Horses for courses as it were, the issue is not black and white.
 

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When I sit down with Mr Perry or another designer to have my ultimate cruising boat designed (yah, right!) I would ask for a conservative (longish) fin keel configuration. I think it is reasonable compromise.
 

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When I sit down with Mr Perry or another designer to have my ultimate cruising boat designed (yah, right!) I would ask for a conservative (longish) fin keel configuration. I think it is reasonable compromise.
Some of Bill Creaclok's boats have a 3/4 keel as a compromise.

 

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Bob Perry's Passports are similar.. one of these would be high on my list as a serious cruising boat:



BUT... this configuration does not 'back' much better than a full keel and for me, coastal cruising (frequent marina stops/unfamiliar docking situations, tight quarters anchoring, rafting) that's a bit of a deal breaker.

I don't feel, though, that it's necessary to go the full keel route for serious cruising but if you can handle the performance knock and the other characteristics, there are lots of very 'shippy looking' solid boats out there. For around here, though, give me my fin keel and spade rudder, thanks.....
 

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Those are the sort of keels I was talking about. Mark Ellis has a number of interesting designs with long keels like these combined with big spade rudders - and don't bother giving the arguments about spade rudders and cruising I have heard them before.
 

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Ron

Agreed

Full keel in reverse is no fun. Not just docking, but using a stern-tie.

I like a fin keel with a skeg rudder. Even then I have had rudder damage hitting a log off Powell River with that set up.

There is also the view that a full keel boat can be careened, while a keel cannot. I seen a photo of Bagheera, the Copeland's Bene 38 careened when they were doing rudder repairs. It probably depends on the boat.
 

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Then there's the best of both worlds, the long keel hull of a slocum 43
 

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Fast.

This is the underwater profile of the M39. I find that she backs up pretty well providing you have the cojones to give her a bit of throttle. It can be a tadge alarming in close quarters but she is quite controllable. Mind you having a bow thruster as backup has made me less of a wee timorous beastie than I might otherwise be. :)



Not, I must add as controllable as the fin and spade of Raven. She backed up like a car. Fast or slow, no worries.

Boat I had before Raven was full keel cutaway forefoot. Reverse ? Don't be silly.
 

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btw ... in case anyone is thinking I was having a go at gaff rigged schooners, think again.

I seriously doubt we would go past this beauty ....



Bob Perry's Jakartan.

I would.
 
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Fast.

This is the underwater profile of the M39. I find that she backs up pretty well providing you have the cojones to give her a bit of throttle. It can be a tadge alarming in close quarters but she is quite controllable. Mind you having a bow thruster as backup has made me less of a wee timorous beastie than I might otherwise be. :)
Kukka has a relatively narrow chord keel, and the rudder is more spade than skeg, esp with the proximity to the prop skeg section, I'm not surprised she backs up alright.. Nice compromise.

Of course you're planning to sell that bow thruster (spelled C-H-E-A-T-E-R) to some truly needy W32 owner, right?:p:)
 

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The problem with this kind of binary question (full vs fin) is that this is only one of many design details which contribute to a sailboat's overall sailing & cruising characteristics. The right answer will be as much dependent on the type of sailing you are planning (including crew considerations), as any single vessel characteristic. And no matter what, a poorly designed sailboat, no matter what the keel, will be a poor sailing vessel (although it might be a great live aboard).

I have owned both modified-fin (3/4 with skeg-hung rudder) and full keel cruising boats. I have also cruised fin keel, spade rudder cruisers. For my style of cruising I have currently settled on a full-keel traditional boat (Rafiki-37). The tracking ability makes it more forgiving, and I appreciate the ability to take a grounding with slightly greater comfort. But the negatives are significant: tight manoeuvring is very difficult and reversing is a crap shoot (I never know where I'm going to go).

Every boat is a compromise. The real trick is to understand what kind of sailor you are, and where/how you plan to sail. From there, you can start to make some rational decisions about keel and hull design, rig, size, material, equipment, aesthetics, and a hundred other factors.
 

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A lot of added safety with a full keel and if your're cruising you won't be sailing up wind very often (aka BEATING); best part is you won't have to re-learn how to sail never having had a fin keel. And if you go with a double ender you'll be able to sleep at night during a blow. Downside may be a little speed in very light air and using more bottom paint.
 

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Ron

Full keel in reverse is no fun.
+1. We've got a full keel with a barn door rudder, and I'm here to tell you backing is ALWAYS an adventure. If there is absolutely no wind and no current, I can usually know how the beast will track in reverse. Mostly it's all about using the throttle intermittently to balance prop walk with having the rudder pretty hard to starboard (the rudder imparts very little turning effort when in reverse.)

However, when conditions are not totally benign the old gal loves to make my life interesting. Doing the mental gymnastics thinking about the opposing forces keeps me on my toes, but usually I'm left with just getting her out into a fairway with enough maneuvering space to spin her until I get pointed in the right direction.

If there's a considerable cross wind or current, I've got to weigh the possibility of becoming a "bumper boat" against my desire/need to get underway.
 
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