[Public-List] In Praise of Integral Keels
mainstay at csolve.net
Sun Feb 24 14:04:50 PST 2019
Well most yachts since before WW1 have had bolt on keels… I think the issue is not so much bolt on keels, as what the keels are bolted to. Once upon a time yachts were built with massive internal transverse structures called ‘floors’ which spread the load of bolted-on keels to a wide area of very strong hulls. This was, and still is, a very sound way to build a yacht. If one omits the floors, which there is great impetus to do in this era of cost fear, lightweight hulls and shallow bilges, trouble is almost inevitable.
So here I am in Vancouver connecting flights to LA for the Tall Ships America AGM after a week sailing in a friend’s Gardner designed 70’ schooner. Conditions were unseasonably cold, so the pilot house, which I’d normally sneer at, was quite welcome. Gardner’s boats can’t be called ’traditional’ but they certainly have the look of having been descended from traditional designs by means of extrapolation. This schooner has the basic look of a Fredonia from the late 1800’s. but with everything turned up to 11. (Those who have seen ’Spinal Tap’ will know what I mean.) Everywhere a traditional schooner would have a curve, this one has more curve… she has a clipper-like bow, but very much improved from a clipper bow. Her spars are raked, and raked some more. I’m not sure if she’s beautiful, but wow she is fast.
Her ballast is all carried internally, amounting to about 33% of her total displacement, which is considerable. She has a long straight keel like something from the 1800’s… but she’s very fast and weatherly. She has a stays’l rig, which means that there's only one string to pull when tacking, that of the outer jib’s sheets. Everything else flops over on its own, self tacking. The whole sail plan but for the main is on roller furlers like big genoas… and the main has a ball bearing car and track system which makes a winch required only for luff tension despite the very lofty rig and huge sail. It goes up and down smooth as silk.
Down below, I was shocked that although my wife and our host’s wife were already there, I couldn’t see them looking in the companionway at the cockpit. They were WAY up forward in one of the staterooms, of which there is more than one. She’s built mostly of fir, so everything visible in the way of deck beams, carlines, knees etc is massive and light in colour. I laughed at myself getting up off a settee to port, and walking four paces over to the galley on the starboard side, strolling around the massive trunk of the mainmast’s bury coming down at an angle and continuing through to her purple heart keel nine feet down. Below the cabin sole is another space about waist deep which do to the cold sea outside made a dandy secondary cold storage for a huge quantity of food and drink. She has dozens and dozens of lockers down below, large and small, all with perfectly fitting cabinetry of solid walnut, oak or maple. Four people climbed aboard while I was in my bunk reading… I hardly noticed till they opened the companionway, so steady is she.
She does 7 knots with her diesel comfortably purring… close reaching she touched 11 knots and I could put my coffee cup down without fear of spilling… One may steer from the cockpit or in the pilot house in the comfort of a leather upholstered bench seat. The cost of this sea-going palace? About 1/5 of what we saw being advertised for the cost of a new 45 foot Beneteau or the like. She’d been for sale for two years before my friend came along… the price was more than chicken feed, but as I wrote, a fraction what is demanded for thinly built junky floating bleach bottles with particle board interiors and fake fur all over the place.
I fear SURPRISE is going to seem, well, small when I get back. Well on the other hand, I can race her on Wednesday nights, Her cabin is quite comfortable and snug for two, and I’ll never have to be looking at a $1,000 invoice for a tank of fuel, nor be considering $4,000 to replace her battery bank.
If you want to see her, here she is being sailed by her previous owner, who built her with masterful craftsmanship. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aNz2_ZkbRM
> On Feb 22, 2019, at 9:51 PM, Marcelo D. Gentinetta via Public-List <public-list at lists.alberg30.org> wrote:
> Great piece! Hard to believe the great majority of today’s production boats have bolt on keels. Yikes!
>> On Feb 22, 2019, at 7:50 AM, Jonathan Bresler via Public-List <public-list at lists.alberg30.org> wrote:
>> Jonathan M Bresler
>> S/V Constance Alberg 30 #262
>> Annapolis/Eastport MD
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