Yacht ownership

Keel design – options to consider when choosing a yacht

By on Mar 16, 2017 in Practical, Yacht ownership | 0 comments

Keel design is constantly evolving and nowhere is this more apparent than in modern racing yachts such as the Imoca Open 60 class. These fast offshore monohulls use highly sophisticated canting keels to help them stay upright when sailing upwind. The boats are designed to be as light as possible while at the same time being solid enough to cope with ocean racing. While cruising yachts are not designed to win ocean races, there are several options of keel design available. Traditional yachts tend to have long deep keels which are an integral part of the hull, which make them heavier than modern designs, but stable and seaworthy. Many modern yachts have fin shaped keel designs, which are bolted beneath the hull. This produces lighter, faster and and more manouevrable yachts than deep keel designs. Below is a summary of all the common keel designs found on types of sailing yachts on the market today. Long keel design Long, deep keels are common on traditional yachts. They form part of the hull structure as opposed to being bolted on to the hull. They provide plenty of strength and stability but are less efficient than modern designs. Fin keel design A fin keel is bolted on to the underside of the hull. Fin keels vary from shallow fin to deep fin. Cruising yachts tend to have shallow, wide fin keels, sometimes with heavy bulbs at the foot to minimise the yacht’s draught. Racing yachts tend to have thin and deep keels with heavy bulbs to improve performance. Bilge keel design Twin, or bilge keels enable a yacht to remain upright when dried out at low tide. They have a shallower draught than fin keels, making them suited to cruising in shallow, coastal waters. They do not perform to windward as well as a fin keel and are used for cruising as opposed to racing yachts. Lifting keel design A lifting keel enables a yacht to stay afloat in very shallow water. Lifting keels work in a similar way to a sailing dinghy’s centreboard. They are an alternative solution to bilge keels, with the advantage that when lowered they perform as well as a fixed fin keel. Their design is ideal...

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What boating skills should you have before you buy a yacht?

By on Mar 14, 2017 in Boat Handling, Yacht ownership | 0 comments

Many people dream of owning a yacht and sailing off into the blue yonder. What boating skills should you have before you buy a yacht? Handling a yacht requires a range of boating skills that enables a sailor to sail, navigate and berth a yacht safely. If you are thinking of buying, here are a few questions to consider before you make a purchase. Boating skills questionnaire Am I familiar with how to sail and manoeuvre a sailing yacht? Do I know all about sail controls, winches and reefing systems? Can I sail a boat on all points of sail confidently? Am I ok with rope work and knot tying? Can I do an engine check? Could I spot a potential engine problem before it is too late? Do I know how to prepare a passage plan for a day trip? Can I plot a course to my next port of call? Can I manoeuvre my boat out of a crowded marina with a strong tide running? Do I know the meanings of all the channel markers? What does a North Cardinal mark look like and what does it mean? What is the significance of a buoy with a yellow light? Do I know the collision regs? Do I have a VHF Short Range Certificate (SRC) ? What channel should I be monitoring for the Coastguard? Do I know how to convert a magnetic compass course to true? Can I plot an estimated position if my GPS fails? How are my meteorological skills – do I know how to read a pressure chart? How much chain will I to need to let out when anchoring in 5 metres of depth? A crew member falls seriously ill when I am out at sea, what do I do? What training have I had? Should you be unsure about any of these questions and topics, then it would be wise to get some training to improve your boating skills before you commit to buying. The usual way to do this is to sign up for a liveaboard sailing course.  Ideally, it is best to chose a location close to where you plan to sail most. Boat training A good place to start searching for a sailing course...

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