swing keels: pros and cons

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by souljour2000, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You seem (repeatedly) to be the only person that "knows" what they're talking about. I did not post any previous unrelated images (that's Hunter's current swing keel lifting device used on their small sailors), nor do I understand anything else of what you've suggested. It's clearly time for one of us to go.
     
  2. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Not sure I want to step into this ring..the ref gets punched out some times...but here goes..since I started this thread...first of all..my boat DOES have a locking bolt though the square backing plate embedded in fiberglass was iron( bad idea,dissolved to nothing basically by the time I finally pulled it a few months back).It was a great source of my leak at that point.

    I have no idea what the manual suggests as far as sailing procedure...there might have been a pdf of one in sailboatowners.com specs...but not sure.The 400 lb iron keel,1700 lb displacement and my approx. 45-50 hrs sailing time in the vessel winter (and summer)tell me its safe to sail with the keel up in winds under 12 knots under full sail as long as the crew is monitoring the helm and is able to release the mainsheet within a two or three seconds or so...which is easy to facilitate if you are really watching things and have the sheet in the cam cleat and the lines cleared of potential entanglements. At winds above 12 knots ...winter or summer weather patterns...doesn't matter, or If I knew there was a cold front approaching in winter, fall or spring (yes we get them at those times too)I would have the keel down absolutely..no ifs and or buts unless I had two or more reefs in the main or was solely under a heavily-reefed jib or a smaller storm jib
    Maybe I'd be wrong...but that's how I'd approach it...If it were a stiffer, heavier boat of 6 tons instead of less than 2 tons you might not be moving well at the wind speeds that get my boat moving. I think My boat might be just stiff enough to move well without roll in 10 knots of wind or less and without the keel down...afterall..there's still a 400 lb, 18-inch wide, 4 foot long blade hanging from the keelson area even if it's in the horizontal position... .....maybe it's no bowwave- induced illusion...but just a decent daysailer hullshape with no pennant drag and my big 225 lb butt parked on the windward seats of my cockpit probably has something to do with the stabilty that combine to give speed and handling in light winds that no engineer or naval architect can really ever quantify... so if you can't laugh at that picture...

    p.s.---it's kinda been oddly nice to hear all the fuss over a Hunter that was basically a black sheep of the Hunter line due to the keel wich system...and a low production boat ....especially since Hunter's early boats (and often new ones)usually get only derisive remarks, comments
    and very little serious discussion...
     
  3. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    I guess the MFG put that locking bolt in for no reason at all.

    Swing KEELs are normally meant to be just that, KEELS. They are not centerboards. The reason they can swing is generally for launch/retrieval and trailering/storage. While sailing they are to act as a fixed keel.

    You might do a quick search of the guy with the M26 who thought it was a good idea to get extra speed by sailing his boat without the water ballast. He was smarter than the designer/builder.

    But it is your boat and I have nothing to lose.

    Good luck to you.
     
  4. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    I think it was a Mac 26 X...no auxillary ballast..just the tanks...maybe he just had no clue that you have to let go the mainsheet in boats with no ballast that have their lee rails buried...or you have to change direction off the wind.....either way..you would need to do so quickly...a real newbie with absolutely no expereince in sailboats of any kind could probably do it easily...it''ll be in the NTSB marine accident date base in a few months..sounds like a open/shut case.

    Paul..your right about one thing...and that might be that the average swing keels are not good daggerboards ...though in fair sea conditions you can use them as such by regulating how far down they go...they are problematic and ....there's too much downside to most of them IMHO...lol...I guess most all of this fuss stems from a design that could lower the CG of a boat trailer so there werent bits of hunters and catalinas littering the freeways every Saturday.. and did you get it?...too much downside??.....goin' to bed now...
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Paul B and I agree that it's not the wisest course to sail with the board up, but pinned it's a debate. You'll find among the owners of these and subsequent small Hunters, the preference is to leave the pin out and save damage to the case and pivot. This is born out in their owner's groups, though does likely fly in the face of liability on part of owner, in respect to potential damage in a severe knock down or capsize. In my experience, the extreme vast majority of sailors of these boats, will never see the mast touch the water or even get close to this state. This doesn't mean the potential isn't there, just that it's very unlikely. You can live life the way the lawyers want you to, which is scared, covered in duct tape and bubble wrap or you can "hang it out on the edge", buy a Harley and grow your hair longer. Your call . . .
     
  6. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    I would suggest operating according to conditions. In shallow waters keel up or at least unlocked, in blue water with gusts expected keel down and locked in case of a knockdown. And always within the limits of the boat.

    PAR: I'll think about the Harley, not much I can do about the hair though :)
     
  7. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    So it's settled. The pin stays halfway out or, if conditions warrant, halfway in. It's a personal choice, like buying a Harley and a cheap long-hair wig.
     
  8. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    yeah...something like that...next topic...glassing in a swing keel on a typical 80's "clorox bottle" sailboat flat hull shape while wearing a wig and a WWI spiked kaiser helmetand watching "The Great Escape' on your ipod at the same time.
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    'Glassing the swing keel has been done, though I wouldn't recommend it. It wouldn't do much. Arguments could be made about appendage slot drag, fairing, etc., but the offset is not being able to easily trailer the boat and haul outs would be travel lift, dry dock or crane sessions, which costs a lot more.

    As for the wig, helmet and Ipod movies, I say go for it, so long as the wig is red.
     
  10. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    If you want the keel down why not just leave it down?

    That is a wicked lie! I don't even have an ipod. When I find that camera ...
     
  11. bruceb
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    bruceb Senior Member

    Swinging hunters

    I am pretty sure a hunter 20 was tested locally for the MORC (I think) measurement rule. At that, time-early 80s, swing keel/lift keel boats had to demonstrate self-righting ability with the keel retracted and a sail bag & sail at the jib hoist. I worked for the local Hunter dealer and helped test the boat for a customer. With the mast pulled down to the water, it did self right. Crew position and boat handling would make a difference, it is just a big day sailor, but it did pop back up. We had another Florida brand knocked down and sunk with a fatality around the same time that I am sure Hunter was aware of when the 20 was designed. I think they took extra care with the 20. I think keeping the hatches and ports shut makes more difference in staying afloat. I have watched a J-22 rolled 360 twice in less than three minutes and its keel was "down and glassed". Seamanship and respect for the conditions can allow most boats to be handled safely, while depending on "self-righting" and or " unsinkable" claims will eventually lead to disappointment or disaster. B
     
  12. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Thanks Bruce ...for posting your knowledge and recollections concerning the Hunter 20.. .It has always (and probably will continue to be) difficult to find out info on this boat as it seems the early run was not considered particularly successful and I believe the overall run was a fairly low number, possibly due in large part to issues with swing keel winch system. I think the boat was produced from 1982-1985 but please correct me if you can recall the exact years of production.
    Hope you will be kind enough to add any other bits of info that you may recall about her. I've had my '83 H-20 for a while now and found her to be a fairly versatile and stable sailing companion performance-wise.
    The H-20 has her drawbacks in regards to finish..but glassing in or redoing those areas is no big deal and alot of fun.Tons of room inside, a tall mast at 29'5" to hang some canvas on and I just like this size boat. The dinette area is too small for the person(s) who may have their back to companionway. It's a very tight fit so I am addressing that with cabin extension by about 6 inches. this will yield a smaller cockpit...which I don't like but one less likely to swamp and I can make thenew bulkhead a 90 degrees angle and be able to reach a rear-most lazarette in the cabin much easier than before ;.that project in turn requires a new roof so the pop-top roof went away and a new one is a.w.i.p. and will yield a coachroof I can actually stand(on) whenIi need to. She's still just a big dinghy as you remarked, so as a novice "boatwright" of sorts,I don't feel overwhelmed by the size of projects like I might with say a 22-23 footer ...I like being able to reach over rails while swimming beside her or needing to toss something on board her or reach over and grab something off the seats(say a mask or snorkel). I tend to think that she's also a rather nice -looking boat despite her non-traditional trapezoidal rear windows.

    Thanks again ..it is great to hear about some of her early history and sea-trials.

    As for glassing her keel in...that project is still a ways off though it's open season in regard to any thoughts on it...why down Ancient...? I was thinking of glassing her in the "up" position and keeping her fairly close to her original 15" draft while adding a sloping false keel forward with another tidbit of keel added towards the stern... both sections would have some amount of lead fishing weights added...here's some pics...btw..windows have been modified in the sketch..and so has rear of cabin which is under renovation as I mentioned..i'll try to post pics of that saga with some short narrative if I'm capable of the latter...
     

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  13. bruceb
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    bruceb Senior Member

    Detroit and the boat industry

    Hunter and most other boat builders didn't give their dealers many incentives to sell their smaller models. They and the dealers made more money on the bigger boats, but other factors were also at work. Long term financing for boats became available allowing much larger purchases for the same monthly payment, and cars started getting smaller with a lot less towing capacity. The H-20 and other similar models didn't have enough time to get sorted out before the boat market went in another direction. On glassing your keel, one 24' design I remember was sold by two different manufactures, one with a lifting foil "racer" and the other "cruiser" with with a shoal glass keel/centerboard. There was about a 5 degree pointing difference and about a 10% speed penalty with the shoal keel. The centerboard was not very effective but it did reduce the rolling and made the boat feel better under foot. A better fixed keel shape and gaskets on the board trunk would have improved the shoal keel performance, but I think I would just delete the centerboard:) and keep it simple. B
     
  14. souljour2000
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    ...That was quite a time for sailing in America...I guess those days seem like an aeon ago. There are still so many boats from those days to be found but some day they will be harder to find...especially good ones... On the other hand...there is much more interest in DIY and non-traditional designs.... as well as KISS designs .

    On that note...did you say there at the end that you'd suggest deleting the centerboard?...by that did you mean get rid of the 400 lb iron swing keel completely and just try to make a daggerboard of sorts out of different material? Not quite sure if I followed you there...thanks
     

  15. bruceb
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    bruceb Senior Member

    more keel

    Sorry, that wasn't very clear. I am not a designer, but from experience only!, I would probably keep the cast iron and add about about a hundred lbs of lead and about three inches of draft to the bottom of the raised position. (As much draft as you can without making it hard to launch and trailer) If you mostly sail single or two up, the extra weight will not hurt and the extra draft will make a noticeable righting and performance gain. The first foot or so of surface water is so disturbed that a small, shallow draft boat has a hard time going to weather in even small waves. Every inch of draft helps. B
     
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