swing keels: pros and cons

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

  1. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I would strongly urge you to reconsider thoughts of leaving the board in the up position and 'glassing it in. The boat doesn't have the initial stability to "stand up" as well with it in this position and windward performance will be dramatically compromised, plus the much higher CG will make knock downs a very real and likely prospect.

    It wouldn't be especially difficult to design a new moderately shoal appendage for this boat, eliminating the need for the board, but frankly, leaving it up is eventually just asking to have your boat recovered from a knock down and/or sinking and what ever damage you might get away with as a result.

    Having experienced many knock downs, capsizes and complete roll overs, I can assure you, if you can avoid these, do so at all cost. Setting your boat up to increase the possibility of these types of events is irresponsibility at the highest order, to those that may be riding with you (very likely could be considered "neglect" or "depraved in-deference"). People can die or become hurt in these events. This is a hell of a thing to ask of friends and family, just because you don't want to "play " with the board.

    Considering your sailing experience, you shouldn't even contemplate this level of alteration, without professional assistance.
     
  2. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    Bruce..thanks for that explanation.That of course makes alot of sense about the first couple feet of disturbed water and how a bit more draft helps get some "bite" in choppy conditions...I hadn't thought of adding much depth but your point is well-taken and if I do indeed glass the keel I will try to add as much depth as my trailer(and local boat ramp) will allow.I think I could add 6 inches and still be at no more than 2 foot of draft...that's about as much draft as I want to have with me lil' gunkholer...
     
  3. bruceb
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    Location: atlanta,ga

    bruceb Senior Member

    best choice

    I think PAR has some very valid points, any major boat mods need to be well thought out. That said, there is plenty of experienced help in your area to go to for advice/help and lots more "advice" on line- for better or not. I think doing "something" is important, swing keels can not be neglected and usually need to be removed and serviced every few years. Yours is probably about 20yrs overdue:( The easiest choice might be to sell your boat and find another that better fits your sailing style and needs. Compac 19s and Precision 21s are often available in south Florida and are almost exactly what you are trying to end up with and I am sure there are others. One thing for sure, modifying a boat usually destroys its re-sale value and can make it hard to insure, even if it is really better. B
     
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  4. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    souljour2000 Senior Member

    I appreciate and value the comments from both of you .
     
  5. GTO
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Location: Alabama

    GTO Senior Member

    Could interior ballast be added to make up for the reduced righting moment of the retracted board?
    Or would it just take too much weight to really help?
     
  6. souljour2000
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: SW Florida

    souljour2000 Senior Member

    I think it could GTO...getting it as low as you can..maybe in the bottom area directly above the keel bolts.

    The truth is that most knockdowns are avoidable and can be averted
    by quick action at the helm...but it often could have been avoided much earlier by watching your favorite meteorologist (Paul Delegato Channel13 Tampa),..going to the NOAA website, newspaper or a basic curiosity concerning weather that goes back a few years prior to the morning you decide to head to "12-mile reef". I think weather knowledge is the single most important factor in a sailors toolbox and it is not talked about enough in these forums...probably because everyone lives in different areas....
    I try to learn my area's weather scenarios and prevailing winds and currents. Here in west coast of Florida it is a typical coastal pattern but it has it's own variables and idiosyncrasies... in summer t-storms can develop rapidly after about noon and I try to get as early a start as possible.In the winter fall or spring...cold fronts can make it down here and bring NW winds that can make your day miserable or worse... here we often just get the tail end of cold fronts..sometimes it's just a bit breezy...sometimes not if it gets down farther...I don't depend on the weather guys to tell me how far it's going to come down...I would try to plan my trip around the strong possibility of their mistake...they make them and often...If I took my boat to the Great lakes one summer..I'd want to learn as much about that area's weather as I could...whether I was hauling a Capri 18 up there or a Pac-Sea 31...
    Underway, with a hopefully good idea of what weather to expect...I try to make sure I am always able to release the jam cleat holding the main sheet within a couple seconds ...and I stay beside that cleat unless I'm in fairly light winds...it takes extra effort and vigilance and it can be tiring when on a long cruise leg but I do it because a knockdown would be highly undesirable. When the winds are strong, medium and variable or even when they are light I stay by the helm ...seeing and avoiding...making sure my mainsheet cannot get tangled...watching tell-tales...observing weather changes and so forth...boats like mine with flat bottoms and without alot of righting moment in their keel design don't make good single-handers for those who want to tie off the tiller and take a nap, go forward or be anywhere very far from the mainsheet cleat...especially in stronger or variable winds. It depends on what kind of sailing you are looking for...I'm looking to avoid putting my boat in situations where she may not function well...of course If I aspired to do any real offshore sailing or ocean crossings ...I'd track down a different boat...Right now my boat gives me all the challenge I want and the opportunity to learn...at the price of extra vigilance and investment in study of both weather and seamanship with small actual pocketbook.There's undeniably a time or two that local weather knowledge has probably bailed me out of disaster when my sailing seamanship and boat familiarity was sub-par...I'll save those stories for another time....
     
  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Again, having experienced many occasions that the spreaders where carving their own wakes in the water, the most common similarity is something got fouled just before or after the "gust" hit.

    Releasing the sheet, but having it foul a winch or other piece of hardware as it runs out. Having a line jam is a pretty common cause. How many spinnaker dousings have ended this way?

    Placing weight inside the hull probably isn't going to help much. Placing it on the appendage as low as possible, as an addition to it, would be a much better option, but again limited, particularly in light of how much lower the CG can be with the board deployed.

    You need a new shoal appendage. Frankly, having lived in the same skinny waters as Souljour2000 for some decades now, I don't see the issue other then having to tend the lifting crank occasionally.. Operating a swing keel or centerboard boat isn't difficult. Will you run aground? Maybe, but if the pin is out, your keel will just lift up over it and the boat will literally "bounce" along, slowed considerably, but still moving. With the keel retracted, your boat will skid to leeward excessively, you're lateral area will be too far aft and the boat will be much more tender, plus more prone to capsize.
     
  8. invictus
    Joined: Jul 2019
    Posts: 2
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    Location: Lake poygan WI

    invictus New Member

    Good morning!

    The Hunter 20 is proving to be challenging to find info on, which I now realize is due to short production time, age, and after reading many of the comments... a deserved retirement of most remaining specimens, due to multiple design flaws. One of which has me registering and asking for advice: the swing keel components.

    Specifically, the silly cable design.

    After purchasing my Hunter 20 a couple years ago, the cable snapped on the keel. By that time I had enough fun on the vessel to dive right in and replace it, which is a royal PITA since you have to drop the 400# keel. Since then, I’ve replaced it 2X more, and I’m not sure why it keeps snapping... this last time, I was careful to ensure the cable was perfectly wound, no kinks and excellent cable to start with, but it snapped on the second trial raise still on the stands.

    It’s apparent that the previous owner had issues with this as well. Looks like he attempted to solve it by adding a pulley to the system, probably hoping that would reduce the strain on the cable at that point. How/why this was designed to operate with a rope baffles me, as there is barely any leverage to work with on this design...

    I’m considering moving the winch and attaching the lifting cable to the tip of the centerboard. I’m on a shallow lake, so weeds are an issue and the cable will likely clog up. For the love of sailing, I’ll hop overboard and clear the weeds as needed, but that may prove as annoying as hailing it out, raising it 4’ in the air to remove the keel and replacing the cable.

    Alternatively, if anyone can help me understand why this d%^* cable keeps snapping, I’d prefer to not alter the hull.
     

    Attached Files:


  9. invictus
    Joined: Jul 2019
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Lake poygan WI

    invictus New Member

    4421E7AE-6E7F-4425-A56E-45B8F08215FD.jpeg
    Here’s an image - the line originally connected to where the pulley was added. Seems like a reasonable modification to me, but it didn’t solve the problem.

    I’m considering moving the winch aft, putting a hole in the hull and making it operate like shown on the bottom diagram.
     
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