Daggerboards or Fixed Keels?

The decision to use fixed keels rather than daggerboards has to be consistent with the ocean voyaging intentions for the design.

Daggerboards are a complicated and vulnerable installation. The benefit of possibly a few more degrees of pointing ability has to be weighed against several disadvantages such as; the difficulties of blocking the vessel ashore, the danger inherent in even gently grounding the vessel when afloat, the necessity of tending the boards in difficult conditions, the difficulty of repair, the loss of considerable space within the vessel and on deck, to name a few.

In the absence of fixed keels, the rudders become the deepest projection below the water and fully exposed to damage. The effective draft of a daggerboard vessel is considerably greater when sailing, as the fixed keel is significantly more effective at its shallow depth than the daggerboards would be at a similar depth.

The fixed keels are capable of sustaining considerable damage without affecting the watertight integrity of the vessel. They are easily repaired and provide stable support to the vessel when dry-docked or beached.

It was our intention to build a vessel with rudders that are shallower than the keels for some protection. Unlike daggerboard vessels which have balanced rudders supported entirely from the stocks, the rudders on such a vessel are provided with structural skegs carrying bottom bearings. This relieves the rudder stocks from supporting side loads and the skeg is also capable of sharing in the support of the vessel. The skeg supported rudders are a compliment to the fixed keels.

If the vessel was expected to race occasionally in reasonable proximity to a repair yard, the option of using daggerboards and open rudders would have been considered. Without that requirement, we could not have responsibly marketed them to the ocean going customer.

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