Hull / Keel / Rudder / Tiller

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Author Keel modification
Phil Moore
Eatonville, WA

Boat Name: Insani-sea

Model/Year: Catalina 25 TR / 1982

Hull No.

Hailing Port:
05/13/2012 4:45 PM Pacific Time

Just came from a big offshore racer to a Catalina 25. A bit nervous about how that swing keel will react if hit with a big gust heels the boat hard. Had an idea that I wanted to run past you.

What if I installed some reverse cabling to stabilize the keel. Imagine a small hole in the front of the keel about a foot up from the bottom. This hole has a small teflon washer epoxied inside. This is the attachment point.

From the attachment point, we have stainless cable bridled so not as to interfere with the keel is retracted. The cable runs forward to the front of the boat where it enters a fairlead/block of sorts and continues upward until it reaches just below the bow.

Just below the bow, we have a small traditional winch.

So, when sailing or mooring in deep water, you'd have a secondary control on the keel to keep it from retracting. When you want to raise the keel, you simply release the front winch, and pull in up. Afterward, you tighten the fore winch to keep the cable from kinking. With both controls, you should be able to "fix" the keel at any depth.

Two questions: 1) Has anyone tried anything like this? and 2) My only concern would be the vibration of that fore cable when going through the water- but there's likely more that I haven't considered, not to mention, maybe you're had the swing keel laid over with no issues?

Just want some insurance- no matter how careful you are, gusts can hit and catch you.

Thanks for kicking it around,
Phil
paul osborne
Lima NY

Boat Name: Emy Lyn II

Model/Year: 1984

Hull No.

Hailing Port: Rochester
05/13/2012 6:24 PM Pacific Time

Hi Phil, welcome, I have a 22, but have sailed on a few 25. The boat is going to handle a lot different than your ocean racer, that boat it is not. They have a big tendency to be weather helm heavy in a blow, and to put the rail fully down, even in a gust, the boat stalls and rounds up hard. It is not easy to flatten it to the water. Now that said, you can balance the helm, get the rail down, make the ride very uncomfortable and give up loads of speed. As for cabling the keel down with a fore cable, I have not seen it done, have seen a few with a bolt through the keel so it can not retract if the boat is flat to the water. These were in boats that sail in deep water all the time.
R. C. Luiken
Milford, DE

Boat Name: Ricochet

Model/Year: C-22 Swing Keel/1986

Hull No. 13560

Hailing Port: Milford, DE/St. Michaels, MD
05/14/2012 2:58 PM Pacific Time

I have sailed a Hinckley 43 which has a swing keel. It did not have anything like you describe. With the swing portion down and 40 knots blowing we had no problems. By the way with the swing fully down it draws 11'. We eased up on the back stay to reduce weather helm.
Lynn Buchanan
Nevada City, CA

Boat Name: SAILYNN

Model/Year: SWING 1984

Hull No. 11994

Hailing Port: SCOTTS FLAT LAKE, CA
05/15/2012 11:47 AM Pacific Time

Interesting idea. The first thing I thought of, is if you plan to ever race, the mod. would not be class legal. The second was the thought of humming from the cable, but that may be done away by letting the cable go slightly slack. I've owned and sailed five C25's, fixed wing keels, and swings. Have had the rails in the water getting water into the cockpit but never knocked over. The number one reason for getting to the turtle point is unsecured hatches. My experience with nockdowns with C25's and C22's is they will come back up as long as very large amounts of water do not enter the interior of the boat. Always check the weather reports for wind expectations. If you are sailing in the ocean, always secure all your hatches. If windy when inland sailing, secure your hatches if the winds are gusty, or over your sailing ability. I use the rule if I think I need to reef, or if it is gusty, all hatches are secured closed no matter where I am. Tiller time during windy conditions will help you feel how the boat needs to be tuned and sails adjusted to get proper sail trim. I recently sailed the San Juans for seven hours in 40 plus mph winds with the C25 reefed, 110 headsail, and the rigging tuned and I never got into the position of rails in the water. I was amazed at how balanced the boat was.
Phil Moore
Eatonville, WA

Boat Name: Insani-sea

Model/Year: Catalina 25 TR / 1982

Hull No.

Hailing Port:
05/15/2012 8:43 PM Pacific Time

Thanks for that- feeling better about the swingy keel. I'll feel it out as suggested before I mod anything. No racing in my future, no real interest in that. I like to go fast, but I'm a cruiser through and through.

Next question I have- the boat will be at a mooring buoy for summer. Wakes from other boats can sometimes get big in this particular buoy field in Puget Sound.

Best to leave the keel down, or pull it up, or pull it up halfway? I use the boat mostly on weekends with the family in the summer, and the rest of the week it will be out there on its own. Just worried that the boat will bounce in wakes and wave and the keel will bonk foreward repeatedly and damage the housing- that's why I'm wondering if I should cable it up a bit. Maybe I'm too paranoid?

Lynn Buchanan
Nevada City, CA

Boat Name: SAILYNN

Model/Year: SWING 1984

Hull No. 11994

Hailing Port: SCOTTS FLAT LAKE, CA
05/15/2012 11:27 PM Pacific Time

Phil, pulling the keel all the way up will make the boat swing quicker (more often than a full keel boat) on a mooring ball and will cause wear on your mooring pennant. If you use line, be sure to reinforce chafe areas and check the mooring pennant for wear. I've used two independant line pennants to the forward cleats, and a backup chain to the bow eye with a swivel on each end or the chain if I can't get to the boat weekly. Depending on depth and excessive boat traffic wakes, my personal preferance is to raise the keel about half way when moored. If you hear a lot of keel clunking (sideways movement) while tacking or on a mooring, it's time to install some spacers to the keel bolt. If you leave the boat in the water all year, be sure you haul it and check the keel cable and keel pin/bolts. Just my two cents worth.
Lynn Buchanan
Nevada City, CA

Boat Name: SAILYNN

Model/Year: SWING 1984

Hull No. 11994

Hailing Port: SCOTTS FLAT LAKE, CA
05/15/2012 11:38 PM Pacific Time

I meant spacers on the keel pin. Also, the swing keel is very heavy and likely will not bounce significantly under normal moorage conditions. You could get trunk damage if any keel hits bottom (shallow water/big boat wakes) or the boat becomes air-born and slams into the water or worse yet the bottom. I've heard that has happened to boats (fixed and swing keels) entering harbors in huge wave conditions and/or crossing over shallow bars in bad conditions. But you have sailed fixed keel boats so you already are aware of those dangers.
 
 
Hull / Keel / Rudder / Tiller
Catalina Direct Discussion Topics / Catalina 22 Discussion Area / Hull / Keel / Rudder / Tiller / Keel modification