Keels revisited - bilge, drop or long
by Stuart Warden
(Cape Town, South Africa)
I am rebuilding my open 19' day sailer, putting on a cabin and doing the insides, 2 bunks, gas stove etc.
The hull was originally a life boat from a tanker.
I am not sure if keels have been discussed on this forum, some other forums have had discussions on the pro's and con's of bilge,drop or long keels etc.- I guess all a matter of the wetted surface area ...and off course weight.
I am in Cape Town, South Africa and we do not have large tide swings (like the UK, for example) - our boats never touch bottoms unless on a hard or on trailers.
So the motivation for using twin bilge keels is not a consideration to deal with tides.
However, I find them fascinating and this could work on my 19'.
I used to have a long keel before but always felt it caused too much drag.
I want to turn this boat into a trailable boat so a deep keel is not really an option.
I estimate the keel ballast to be in the region of 400-500Kg, so does one split this up into two keels, or make a drop keel to the same weight - in both cases it would be easier trailable.
What are the views from readers to this problem?
Picture shows the first attempt to make a cement&steel keel about 12 years ago.
Eventually got it right, but I think too much surface area.