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What is a Swing Keel Sailboat

Feb 17, 2020

less than a min

  • What is a Swing Keel Sailboat

    There is a constant discussion in the marine world about the differences between a fixed keel or a swing keel. To understand this discussion better you have to be aware of what a swing keel sailboat is and what the advantages of this model are, compared to a fixed keel. The swing keel affects a few aspects of a boat, including attachment, navigation, performance, sail configuration, mast stepping, trailer loading and storage during the season the boat is not on the water.

    Most senior boat owners will know the differences and the importance of a swing keel, while for a novice, there are a few things to keep in mind.

    Features of a swing keel sailboat

    The swing keel, despite being attached to the boat itself, is flexible in the sense that it can move up and down. It is brought into the boat through a pivot point and an attached cable used to move the keel up and down. Sometimes, the pivot point gets old and vibrates when it is working, which can be confusing on the passengers of the boat. However, that does not mean there is anything wrong with the vessel itself. Noise can also be present when the swing keel is in the vertical position, due to water splashing against the case of the boat. As a result, maintenance is necessary when it comes to swing keel mechanisms. Part of the maintenance checks includes the hydraulic level as well as the pennant used to lift the keel. 

    Advantages of a swing keel sailboat

    A swing keel sailboat has a number of advantages that could be interesting to many people looking for a boat to buy. Here are a few:

    • The swing keel performs really well upwind, due to its depth. 
    • When the swing keel is backward it can reduce draft. 
    • It allows you to navigate rivers, canals and other shallow waters due to its flexibility. As a result, a swing keel sailboat can be docked in waters where traditional yachts and boats cannot be moved into. This is quite important during off-season. They are also easier to get close to the shore. 
    • It offers the opportunity to get unstuck easily if the boat is caught aground as the swing keels are usually equipped with a fuse allowing them to swing up if contact is made. 
    • A swing keel sailboat is safer and more stable when caught in a storm as the boat is easier to handle. 

    If you are looking to buy a swing keel sailboat then it is important to know the advantages of this model and compare it to fixed keels. TheBoatDB allows you to compare the features of a swing keel sailboat and also provides you with a list of vessels that are equipped with a swing keel. You can also use it to compare different boats and decide in the end if the one you like is really the most appropriate for you. 

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