Bilge Keelers - Suitable for Long Distance?

windlipper

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I am looking to buy a 30-32' (or thereabouts) yacht to take to the Canary Islands. I have got interested in a couple of nice options which have bilge keels. I have never sailed a bilge keel vessel but have been told that they are only really suitable for coastal sailing - is this true?
Any bilge keeler sailors with any objective opinions?
 

JasB

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This lot think so ...well some of them, I think the mackwester rowan is a bilge keeler and there is at least one of them. Unfortunately it doesn't say which keels they have but I'll bet there are a few.
I think there is a lot of bad press about bilge keels, I wonder if most people would be able to tell the difference until they ran aground, or tried sailing upwind. However each boat, and sailor is different, and I am more an expert on grounding than sailing. Someone here knows, be patient.

(when I see the types of boats entered into the Jester Challenge, it makes me feel very inadequate)
 

VicS

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Most bilge keelers do not sail to windward quite as well as their fin keeled counterparts but plenty have made long distances including circumnavigations. The Berwick which I crewed for many years crossed the channel many times and once went to Spain and back.

It does depend on exactly what boats you are considering. Some will barely go to windward at all.
 

Bajansailor

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Bilge keelers have been around the world quite happily - one of the most famous being Shrimpy, with Shane Acton.

Some years ago, a bilge keel Westerly Fulmar sailed out here from England via the Canaries, and I think they were very happy with her - they took part in the local Mount Gay regatta, and although they might have been a bit slower than a fin keel Fulmar, they still sailed pretty well.

Would you need to have bilge keels in the Canaries?
Bilge keel yachts are useful in that you dont have to worry about props when you take them out of the water - but long do they generally stay out of the water each year, compared to in?
 

Spuddy

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Longish time ago but bilge keeled Golden Hinds were considered just the job for world girdling. O K, they were actually triple keeled but 2 or more qualifies surely.
 

tyce

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i always suspect that when someone asks a question like this, just maybe they are not ready for the trip they are planning
 

VicS

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[ QUOTE ]
I think the mackwester rowan is a bilge keeler

[/ QUOTE ] No I am afaid it is not. It is a traditional long keel.

The Macwester 26 and 27 are bilge keelers. The 27 is not to bad but the leeway of the 26 is "legendary".
 

moondancer

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I don't think you will have a problem, other than if you have the boat hauled out anywhere other than maybe France. There will be a few suprised looks. The designer of our boats nearly fell over when he saw bilge keelers at the London Boat Show - we had to explain what they were for. He still couldn't believe it.

I think that they are pretty much unknown other than here and France.
 

[10753]

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I sail a twin keeled Kingfisher - she has crossed the Atlantic twice and been to India without any problems.

For a twin keeler she sails exceptionally well.

We have association members regularly crossing the Atlantic in Kingfishers - Jester Challenge last year for example.

K26 Blue Smoke also took part in the OSTAR in 1972 winning on handicap.

All twin keeled.
 

oldharry

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<<I have never sailed a bilge keel vessel but have been told that they are only really suitable for coastal sailing - is this true?>>

No. Bilge keels do not affect stability or seaworthiness, and a well designed one will sail as well - in some cases better - than her fin keel counterpart.

The myth of poor performance from Bilge keelers harks back to the 60s when a number of designs proved to be little more than floating caravans, both in sailing and handling qualities.

Fin keel afficionados will witter on about greater wetted area, more drag blah blah blah. For the cruising man its far more whether the boat is seaworthy and comfortable.

But you will not need or be able to use Bilge keels in the Canaries - its illegal to beach a boat out there, and the local Policia will soon be handing out a fat fine while you wait for the tide (of which there is not a lot anyway) to return.
 

ValleyForge

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When we had a triple keel Trident 24 we often casually 'paced' (not raced) another fin keel T24 - not that much different apart from not pointing quite as well upwind - Other factors like concentration on sail setting, amount of gin swilled etc. usually affected the outcome. The new owner now regularly cruises the Irish sea, all in all a very solid little craft.

I suppose if you do not need the shallow draft / beachabilty afforded by twin keels then logically a fin keel arrangement would be naturally more efficient and should be your first choice.
 

Bilgediver

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There is a Westerly Centaur in the USA which has done three circumnavigations. It doesn t even have an engine. Well maybe a 10 HP outboard so the engine space gives added storage.

It lives in Port Lincoln if you are ever in that part of the world and the present skipper is Mike.


John
 

jb267

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I have a bilge keeled Moody 34 and it is a fantastic boat. It is fast (except hard on the wind) dependable and easily handled - feels very safe to go anywhere.

I can point as high as most boats - to about 35 deg apparent wind angle, but the difference is a little bit more leeway compared with the fin keeled version. However, once you have cruising gear on board you would never know the difference unless you have lots of experience on the race course.

We will be cruising South Brittany this Summer, where you may well spot us dryed out in sneaky little idyllic spots!

You will be limited by your crew and yourself, not the boat.
 

Jcorstorphine

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I would look at the Westerly Pentland (ketch with aft cabin) or Berwick (sloop with larger cockpit) I had a Pentland, loved it but sold to help pays kids education. .

John
 

Searush

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[ QUOTE ]
I would look at the Westerly Pentland (ketch with aft cabin) or Berwick (sloop with larger cockpit) I had a Pentland, loved it but sold to help pays kids education. .

John

[/ QUOTE ]

I would definitely second that - still won't sell mine after 20years. Don't see many for sale tho' - I wonder why, there were 250 made, pretty much the same as the number of Berwicks, Renowns & Longbows. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
 
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