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What is a Fin Keel

Feb 27, 2020

less than a min

  • What is a Fin Keel

    Anyone who is new to the marine world is certainly looking to learn more. One step towards this task is to increase your vocabulary and learn as many new terms as you can. Lucky for you, there is a lot to go on. The marine world literally has a dictionary of its own. One term you have probably stumbled upon is the fin keel. So, what is a fin keel actually?

    The fin keel is a very common term in the shipbuilding industry. This is the main structural piece of the boat. It is also considered as the backbone of the vessel, which is located at the bottom in a longitudinal way across the hull. It runs from the stem to the stern and it is made of strong material to ensure the stability of the boat. Usually, it consists of metal or timber. 

    Fin keel properties

    In the past, the keel was used to keep the ribs together, in addition to maintaining the stem and sternpost in place. There are a few types of keel, such as the full keel or the ballast keel, used for stability and lateral resistance; the drop of sliding keel, used to prevent the boat from side slipping; the bilge keel, intended to check to roll; and lastly, the fin keel.

    The fin keel is a narrow plate positioned in the middle of the ship, mostly to the keel of a shallow boat. It can be made of wood or metal and it projects downwards. The main job of a fin keel is to provide lateral resistance and make the boat steadier. The boat is easier to steer when it has a fin keel. Usually this keel is almost 50% of the length of the bottom of the boat and it helps reduce drag and make less leeway. As a result, the boat is able to go faster while being more stable for its weight.

    When combined with modern sail plans and materials, they are even more efficient. Nowadays, the fin keel is a separate rudder like a skeg hung or spade and it is probably the most common form of the keel. For some, fin keels also have some disadvantages such as less directional stability. They are also harder to engineer and support hard grounding.  The fin keel is a good component to compare boats on. More information can be found when looking at boats and their features on boat comparison databases such as TheBoatDB. There, you can find details on the size, material and stability of the fin keel used on various boat models. TheBoatDB can be used to find out all the features of the boat you are interested in, or even look into the same features of different boats, compare characteristics in order to make a more informed decision and ultimately decide which boat to buy. 

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