Difficult going up headwind and lots of rolling downwind with bilge keel ?

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  • 26 Feb 2019 09:05
    Reply # 7187775 on 7185591

    An alternative to a Centaur:


    "This is a later build Macwester, a very respected and sea kindly design."

  • 26 Feb 2019 08:50
    Reply # 7187772 on 7185591

    Just as with your question about masts - there are good twin keel boats and there are bad twin keel boats.

    Weaverbird, a Hunter Duette 23, is a good one. Lliutro, the Sadler 25 that I owned many years ago, was a good one. In both cases, there isn't much difference between the performance of these and their fin keeled sisters. And look at the more modern high performance RM yachts, with both twin and fin keels offered.


    "Early bilge-keel yachts, typified by ultra-shallow draught and parallel keels with no concessions to hydrodynamic efficiency, were predictably poor performers. However a number of later models offer excellent handling characteristics and can out-perform lesser fin-keel designs."


    "A further refinement was an asymmetric shape to the aerofoil section of the keel, such that the immersed keel would provide lift that would tend to ‘suck’ the boat up to windward. David Thomas’s designs for the UK boat builder Hunter Boats in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s were among the most efficient twin keelers produced. These had efficient deep keels, with a high ballast ratio and small bulbs on the bottom of each keel to keep weight as low as possible. Combined with an efficient rig, these boats were frequently faster than larger fin keel designs, yet retained the benefit of excellent directional stability that was seen on early twin keel designs in the 1960s."

    Some useful theory and history:


    Last modified: 26 Feb 2019 09:19 | Anonymous member
  • 26 Feb 2019 07:42
    Reply # 7187698 on 7185591

    Thank you once more David.

    And yes you are right, but chartering is very expensive but I will look on the websites you sent me in my second post. I do have a little experience with a Albin Balad going between sweden and norway and sweden and denmark and I also passed a skipper exam, but only theory, when I was 20 years old. But that was a long long time ago. I will look into the course that you suggest, perhaps that would be a very good idea !

    Thank you.

    And as far as a bilge keel junk rigg going upwind in heavy wheather, is that possible, I mean to make some mileage forward :)

  • 25 Feb 2019 12:41
    Reply # 7185636 on 7185591


    My opinion is that you are asking the wrong questions and making some incorrect assumptions due to lack of experience in cruisers (though others may see it differently). You are going along the right lines, though, when you talk about chartering a boat. Do this, get some crewing experience with owners of boats in the 20ft - 30ft range, and since you are already a dinghy sailor, maybe do an RYA Coastal Skipper practical course?

    You're reading a lot, and that's good, but now it's time to go to sea and see what all those words mean in practice, and evaluate them as they apply to yourself and the kind of sailing that you intend to do.

    Last modified: 25 Feb 2019 13:33 | Anonymous member
  • 25 Feb 2019 11:23
    Message # 7185591

    When I read MINGMING by Roger Taylor, amazing stories, BUT about his almost impossible situation on the west coast of island to get out away from the coast I wonder why this rider of the big oceans is sailing a bilge keel ?  Already the advantage of the Junk Rig is not going upwind.  And he is not going to land so not bothered by tides.  Perhaps just a coïncidence.

    After all my readings last year, when sailing alone or with people who know little about sailing, from what I see, the Junk Rig is the only way to go unless someone is in a hurry to get somewhere with lots of upwind salings.  Not having to go forward to change sails and stading in a storm trying to gather the main sail is a hugh advantage. Also the fact that one can check forward without getting out in the cockpit during a storm.

    I talked to a friend who sailed around the world with a steel flat bottom 12 meter centerboarder, not a Junk Rigged, and he always told me that in the trade winds going downwind, the confort is amazing. As a dingy sailor of Laser and Snipe I can understand this. This friend who sailed all the way around the amazon river and wrote books about it, told me about a crossing in the pacific with strong winds where another sailboat with a normal keel had a tremendous hard time and because of this sold the boat and went home. 

    So it is about trade offs. Going well upwind and be bothered downwind.I suppose all depends also on where on is heading.

    But when MINGMING cannot even track forward facing the wind, I think this could almost be a dangerous situation since one cannot depend on the engine, it will not start when it is critical, that is always when it will not start :)  and MINGMING does not have an engine !

    However, MINGMING is a very small boat.

    The second ideal sailboat to me is a flat bottom 26-30 feet sailboat with centerboard, although there is a risk that the centerboard might not work one day, I think this  risk is minimal if one takes care to check it out now and then. 

    The bilge keel would be my first choice because when wanting to leave the boat in a boat yard for a year it is less prone to fall over during storms. When there is a lot of tide llike in the UK and north of France in case of trouble, she will sit steady for 12 hours. Easy to clean the bottom between two tides. The 3 feet draft makes her able to go through rivers and channels and get close to a beach.

    To find a Westerly Centuar 26 with a Bilge Keel with a Junk Rig is not easy, but converting one does not seem to be impossible. 

    I understand that there are some professionals in the UK who can help out with this ?

    A Westerly Centuar 26 would take me to the Atlantic Islands to start with some modifications of the cockpit and so on. The big windows would have to be either changed to something indestructable or made less big for safety.  I would install an autopilote like the MINGMING so that I can change course without going outside when raining and cold and why not build a tinier watch tower like in the fourth book MINGMING.

    But I would like to know :

    if a bilge keel like the Westerly Centuar26 rolls heavily going downwind in stormy wheather like a gale ? 

    And if she is able to go upwind in a gale with a Junk Rig ?

    All the best, Raymond

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