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Thread: Lifting Keels

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    Philiz's Avatar
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    Default Lifting Keels

    Following on from my Westerly Riviera thread, another boat we're interested in has an hydraulically operated lifting keel. Does anyone have one of these? Pro's and con's please!

    The boat is a Jeanneau Sun Fizz 40.

    I feel I should warn you, there may be a few similar posts in the coming weeks/months but as we're moving from power to sail I thought it best to ask the folks in the know
    'I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered! My life is my own!'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philiz View Post
    The boat is a Jeanneau Sun Fizz 40.
    Oooh! If you want a Sun Fizz 40 that is going cheap then just speak to Yachting Monthly. (Snooks, where are you?)

    I'm sure they could cut you are great deal. Ok, so it'll need a bit of work, what with the absence of a coachroof and all (after the explosion), but great for a bit of DIY.

    Seriously, though. If theirs was a lifting keel version, they must have had some experience of the mechanism.

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    I'm pretty sure the crash test boat was a fixed fin keel.

    Pros: wider cruising range, more flexibility (=cheaper) berthing. Depending on configuration you may be able to beach the boat on sand/mud safely. These things may not matter to you if you only cruise deep water and are happy to pay for a full depth mooring or berth.

    Cons: can take up space inside the cabin, it's another system to maintain, the keel can itself be difficult to get access to if it can't be locked down in such a way that it can take the boat's whole weight.

    Other more knowledgeable people will probably be along shortly...

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    The lift keel on a Sunfizz doesn't impinge on cabin space I believe as it stows inside the fixed keel stub I think. I have no knowledge of it otherwise.

    However Sailing Today I'm pretty sure tested a used lift keel one way back 12/13 years ago) so might have back copies available. I used to have a copy but had a clearout a while back. Also pretty sure YM tested the earlier Sunfizz 40 so same applies, but probably fixed fin.

    One of the slight downsides is how to paint the lift keel bit, but a bit of negotiation with the boatlift and yard staff can work miracles for the price of some beer tokens.

    We have friends with a very beautiful Alan Hill 40ft wooden lift keel ketch that they have had in the family from new. They have legs for drying out in places others cannot reach and use the shallower draught to very good effect, plus the boat has been well proven in bad weather many times. Different boat of course but if seakeeping ability of a lift keel was a concern i don't think it should be.
    Sermons from my pulpit are with tongue firmly in cheek and without any warranty!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robin View Post
    The lift keel on a Sunfizz doesn't impinge on cabin space I believe as it stows inside the fixed keel stub I think. I have no knowledge of it otherwise.
    My experience of that type of keel is limited to some Sonatas I used to own. They used gravity to lower the keel and if you grounded and some muck got in the slot it was a major hassle to get them to drop again. It was very difficult to antifoul the inside of the slot so barnacles used to get in there and contribute to the jamming.

    Getting access to the keel on land was a nightmare. It would have helped to have a cradle tall enough to let the keel drop. I had to make do with a lot of jacking and blocking - it made me pretty nervous.

    Note that if the keel can't be locked in the down position, stability has to be calculated with it in the 'up' position for purposes of coding etc.
    One hull good, two hulls better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philiz View Post
    Following on from my Westerly Riviera thread, another boat we're interested in has an hydraulically operated lifting keel. Does anyone have one of these? Pro's and con's please!

    The boat is a Jeanneau Sun Fizz 40.

    I feel I should warn you, there may be a few similar posts in the coming weeks/months but as we're moving from power to sail I thought it best to ask the folks in the know
    As you know Phil, we're also planning to move to sail. One of the boats we're interested in (currently top of our short list) is the Jeanneau Espace 1100, which is available with an electro-hydraulic keel. This is obviously of interest to us East coasters. Not sure if the Sun Fizz is exactly the same, but the ad below shows how the keel works on the Espace and that it doesn't intrude into the accommodation. Perhaps one of our yottie cousins will confirm if this is the same on the Sun Fizz.

    http://www.yachtworld.co.uk/core/lis...url=&imc=pg-fs

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    Lift keel boats have been more popular in France because of their large numbers of drying harbours. Their designs tend to use stub keels to minimise protrusion of the keel box into the cabin, but does mean that they are not so easy to dry out without legs, although it also means that rudders can be deeper than in flat bottomed boats.

    Once you accept those trade offs compared with a fixed keel of the same design, the other major issue is maintenance - as already mentioned the difficulty of getting at the drop keel to anti foul, but probably of more relevance on an older boat, maintenance/replacement of the pivot bolt and hydraulic lifting mechanism. More things to go wrong, but probably not a big issue if well maintained.

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    Philiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGooch View Post
    As you know Phil, we're also planning to move to sail. One of the boats we're interested in (currently top of our short list) is the Jeanneau Espace 1100, which is available with an electro-hydraulic keel. This is obviously of interest to us East coasters. Not sure if the Sun Fizz is exactly the same, but the ad below shows how the keel works on the Espace and that it doesn't intrude into the accommodation. Perhaps one of our yottie cousins will confirm if this is the same on the Sun Fizz.

    http://www.yachtworld.co.uk/core/lis...url=&imc=pg-fs
    Cheers Paul, looks the same. Nice boat too!
    'I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered! My life is my own!'

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowleopard View Post
    My experience of that type of keel is limited to some Sonatas I used to own. They used gravity to lower the keel
    If this one is hydraulic, then I think it's pretty unlikely to drop by gravity. You'd want to pump the ram down so that it was in position ready to be pumped back up.

    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philiz View Post
    Following on from my Westerly Riviera thread, another boat we're interested in has an hydraulically operated lifting keel. Does anyone have one of these? Pro's and con's please!
    Sorry if it is no use regarding the boat you have in mind, but:

    our Parker 31 (1990) has a 1000+ kg 1.7 m lifting keel. It is operated with a substantial hydraulic pump and ram, operating two SS cables on pulleys (roved to disadvantage). Later models have just the ramrod operating the keel directly.

    Pros: easy and fast lifting, quite safe (an hydraulic valve opens at the end of travel).

    Disadvantages: to lift, you need at least a 100 Ah (I have 220) battery to operate, and if possible, running the engine as well. But no power needed for lowering the keel, it drops by gravity. Two 25 mm rubber tubes running from the cockpit to the foot of the mast.

    Problems:
    - own problems : wear on the cables and aluminium pulleys.
    - known problems from fellow owners: leaking hydraulic fluid from ramrod and couplings. Chafe on the tubing in the bilge. Wear and sometimes, cracking of the synthetic blocks which guide the keel. Complicated and delicate height measurement system.

    Incidentally, a Dutch sailing friend made a system up himself with forklift parts. He hasn't had any problems so far.
    Last edited by thalassa; 24-02-12 at 16:31.
    Parker 31/14 'Alchemist'

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