Feeling 326 Lifting Keel - 1990 (0wner's Model)


New member
10 Feb 2005
Feeling 326 Lifting Keel - 1990 (0wner\'s Model)


I am relatively new to sailing i.e i have sailed on friends boats for a number of seasons and recently did the dayskipper theory and practical and I am now comtemplating buying a boat. Ideally I want something between 32 and 37 ft. I like Sigmas but i am concerned they are a little too old now. I am prepared to spend between £30k - £50k.

One boat that I have looked at recently is a Feeling 326 with a lifting keel (1990 model). I have never been on a Feeling. I would welcome any comments/advise. Also I have never been on a boat with a lifting keel. I can see the advantages of a lifting keel and assume there are some disadvantages e.g how does it affect the performance into wind ? - again any comments would be welcome.



Active member
16 May 2001
Cargreen, Cornwall
Re: Feeling 326 Lifting Keel - 1990 (0wner\'s Model)

Feelings have varied over the years from cheap and cheerful to the present rather more upmarket designs with innovative interiors and very light and bright decor. This 326 is from the former incarnation though need not be discounted for that reason. A surveyor will sort the wheat from the chaffe.

Feeling has always specialised in lifting keels. The great advantage, obviously, is shallow draught when you need it, and the ability to take the ground on suitable bottom. This can widen your cruising range and get you into places other boats cannot reach. It also opens up the possibility of cheaper moorings.

On the down side, the mechanics of the thing can go wrong. It is important to check the pivot pin regularly, particularly on older boats, because they do wear out in time. The lifting strop is also a consumable item and needs to be replaced from time to time. Depending on the method of construction, these two operations can be costly in time and money.

In sailing terms, to windward you will lose a little performance compard to a fixed keel but less so than a bilge keeler. Handling will also be less sharp and she will have less directional stability. Off the wind there is not much in it and down wind you can lift the keel almost all the way up and actually beat the pants off a fin keeler. Resist the tempatation to manoeuvre under power with the keel up in shallow water. The slightest puff of wind will have you skating off sideways.

Having said the ability to take the ground is a bonus, it can also be a pain because, inevitably, stones and mud are sooner or later going to get stuck in the keelbox and the keel will jam. I kept a lifting keel boat in a mud mooring for several years. If I left her for more than a fortnight the mud accreted in the box and only a lift out and long levers could get it down again.

Lifting keels are good if you regularly sail in shoal waters but I would avoid them unless you have very good reason to go down that road. In my view (not universaly shared) bilge keelers are worse.