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Keel design: What’s best?

Posted by Ted Brewer | Boat Reviews

Keel design: What’s best?

Ted Brewer reviews the ins and outs and ups and downs of keel design

The purpose of a keel, fin, or centerboard is to provide resistance to making leeway; in effect, to keep the yacht from sliding sideways through the water due to wind pressure on the sails. Various shapes of underwater plane have been in and out of style over the past 150 years.

a sailboat keel shaped like a shark fin

The highly stylized shark fin has extreme rake and a sloping tip chord.

The basic full-keel shape had the longest run, as it was the standard for bluewater sailing craft from pre-Roman times to the earliest days of yachting. The deep, full keel was supplemented in the mid-1800s, for the shoalwater areas of Britain and North America, by centerboard craft. These cover such working types as the sharpies, Cape Cod catboats , and Chesapeake Bay oyster skiffs, to mention a few.

The first truly modern keel yacht, with a cutaway forefoot and highly raked rudder post, was designed by Capt. Nathanael Herreshoff with his Gloriana design of 1891. But it did not catch on for bluewater sailing. Until the late 1920s, the typical offshore yacht, whether cruiser or ocean racer, resembled a sailing fishing craft in the shape of its lateral plane: a long, full keel with deep forefoot and fairly vertical sternpost. Such a shape has the benefits of good directional stability, ease of steering, and the ability to heave to in heavy weather, all desirable traits for a boat. However, its faults may include slowness in stays, excess wetted surface making it slower in all types of air and an inefficient lateral plane shape that has excess leeway, considering its relatively large area. Typical small yachts of this type are seen today in the Colin Archer types and the Tahiti ketch and its copies, while replicas of traditional sailing craft such as Bristol Channel Cutters, Friendship sloops, fishing and pilot schooners, and similar lovely vessels still appear in our waters. Fortunately, many of these workboat types have been developed to the point where the ills of the true full keel have been greatly reduced. Then the result is a handsome cruiser that sails quite well and attracts a great deal of attention wherever she drops her hook.

Successful Sailboat Keel Types

Ted Brewer illustrates different sailboat keel types and styles

The cutaway keel was revived for ocean racing by Olin Stephens in the late 1920s, with his lovely yawl, Dorade, still sailing and winning classic yacht races more than 70 years after her launching. Her offshore racing successes finally proved that the full keel was not essential to seaworthiness, and it definitely detracted from speed and weatherliness. As a result of its improved performance and handiness, the “modified full keel” form caught on quickly once Dorade showed the way and became the standard for the next 35 years. This type of lateral plane is still sailing in many popular older designs such as the Albergs, the Folkboat, the Luders 33, the Whitby 42, and even some newer yachts.

The modified full-keel form features generally good handling and directional stability plus reduced wetted surface, compared to her true full-keel sister. The yachts can perform well in all conditions and, as they are generally of heavier displacement than contemporary ballasted-fin boats, they do not give away much in light air, despite the added wetted area. A yacht with a modified full keel can sail right up with the best of them if she is given sail area commensurate with her typically heavier displacement.

In my own work, I developed a modified full keel, with the rudder set aft and vertically in the contemporary fashion, in order to improve directional stability and handiness. Then, to reduce wetted area, the lateral plane is substantially cut away ahead of the rudder in what some have termed “the Brewer bite.” The Cabot 36 and Quickstep 24 of my design were early examples of this form. The size of the cutout depends to a large degree on how insistent my client is on having a “full keel,” and I try to make the cutout as large as I can decently get away with. I don’t claim to have originated the shape, though, as the late L. Francis Herreshoff used a not dissimilar profile many years earlier in the design of the lovely 57-foot ketch, Bounty.

keel of boat fin nomenclature

Taken to Extremes

Like all good things, the modified full keel was cut away more and more for bluewater and inshore racers in an attempt to reduce wetted area until, finally, some designers took it to extremes. This reduced directional stability and produced craft that were almost impossible to steer in breezy conditions, broaching with monotonous regularity. I can recall working on the design of many short-keel 5.5-Meter yachts in the 1960s, and we always said they were three-man boats with six-man spinnakers! It’s hard to believe none of them were knocked down and sunk, as they were extremely difficult to control on a reach or run, and the hulls were pure leadmines, with 3,500 pounds of ballast in their very short keel and only 1,000 pounds of wood and rig above it!

Olin Stephen’s genius began another fad in the mid 1950s, the keel-centerboard design. After Finisterre showed the way, keel-centerboard yawls were built in sizes from 24-foot midget ocean racers, to the largest offshore yachts, in order to take advantage of favorable ratings under the CCA rule and emulate Finisterre’s record of wins. The keel-centerboard hull has gone out of fashion now, but the type still has merit where a stable, beamy, shoal-draft yacht is desired with little sacrifice of weatherliness or seaworthiness. Indeed, the Bill Tripp-designed Block Island 40 and Bermuda 40 are keel-centerboard ocean racers from the old school and have been in production for more than 30 years now. These classic yachts have made many long ocean voyages, including several world circumnavigations and are first-class bluewater cruisers in every respect.

Keel Types Here to Stay

squared-off fin keel on a sailboat

A rather squared-off fin, not unlike the Cal 40 keel.

The fin shape is not new either, as ballasted fin yachts were pioneered by Herreshoff at the turn of the century for inshore racing. Then, due to excesses and bad design, the shape died out, except for a few one-design classes, until Bill Lapworth dropped a bomb on the ocean-racing scene in the mid-1960s with his Cal 40 design. The Cal 40s made believers out of many yachtsmen who could not believe that a ballasted-fin/spade-rudder yacht was a serious bluewater ocean racer. After wins in the Trans-Pac, many East Coast races, and the 1966 Bermuda Race, it became evident that the fin was here to stay for ocean-going and coastal cruising yachts. Please note that I do not use the term “fin keel” anymore, as I feel it is a misnomer. The keel is the structural backbone of the vessel, and the fin hangs from it. Fish have both backbones and fins; so do yachts.

keel on boats: fin keel of a sailboat

A less extreme fin keel, with a more parallel tip.

A well-designed fin, in conjunction with a skeg-hung rudder, can provide excellent directional stability, handiness, reduced wetted area and improved weatherliness. The fin/spade rudder combination reduces wetted surface even more. It may have a little (or a lot) more sensitive helm than a fin/skeg rudder yacht, but it has one big advantage over it and all other forms of lateral plane: it can be steered in reverse under power. This can make life a great deal easier in today’s crowded marinas, as many have discovered.

These are some of the reasons that we see fins on the great majority of our new yachts today; they are not simply a fad. There are good fins and bad fins, of course, and it is not always easy to tell them apart. The shape of fins over the years has been limited only by the designer’s imagination. Fins have been set at every angle from the vertical to highly raked aft. They have been deep and narrow, shoal and long, resembling a shark’s fin or whale’s tail, or boxy fins similar to the original Cal 40 design.

A contemporary bulb fin with winglets boat keels

A contemporary bulb fin with winglets.

Major Problem

A very deep, narrow fin can be a problem to haul on a marine railway, so the cruising skipper should consider haulout ease when boat shopping. A crane or travel lift is the best method for hauling yachts with extreme fins, but may not always be available in out-of-the-way areas. There is also the danger of damage to the shaft or strut if slings are improperly positioned. Still, the major problem of the high-aspect-ratio fin is structural strength, as it can impose extreme loads at the point of attachment to the keel. Indeed, some years ago I was an “expert witness” in a court case concerning three men who drowned when their yacht sank as a result of its fin tearing off when the vessel ran aground.

The cruising skipper would do well to avoid yachts with extreme fins, both for considerations of haulout ease and structural strength. Fortunately, the heavier, deeper hull and generally shoaler draft of the typical cruising yacht mean there is less height available between the bottom of the hull and the point of maximum draft. So, a longer, lower-aspect-ratio fin is the only solution. On the other hand, the racing sailor will want a fin with an aspect ratio as high as the draft rule will allow. Such a fin is more efficient per square foot, so the area can be smaller and the wetted surface reduced. In Aero-Hydrodynamics of Sailing, C.A. Marchaj recommends about 4 percent of the sail area as a good guide for fin area, and I feel the cruiser should err on the high side, as a small increase in resistance is preferable to increased leeway. On the other hand, I have used as low as 1.75 percent area with good results on an extreme racer with a fin of 2.75 aspect ratio.

Sailboat Keel Aspect Ratios

This “aspect ratio” is the ratio of the span (depth) squared to the fin area; that is, my extreme fin had an 11-foot span and 44 square feet of area, so its aspect ratio was 121/44, or 2.75. If it had a 4-foot span with 44 square feet of area, not uncommon proportions for a cruising yacht, its aspect ratio would be 16/44, or a low 0.3636.

The aspect ratio can also be described as the span divided by the mean chord, the average fore-and-aft length of the fin, and this gives the same result.

Spanwise flow around the keel of the boat

A large part of the resistance of a keel is created by the vortices, similar to miniature whirlpools that form when the water flows across the bottom of the keel from the high-pressure (leeward) side to the low-pressure (windward) side. It requires energy to form those vortices and that energy is then not available to propel the boat forward. Obviously, the shorter the keel or fin tip, the smaller and weaker those vortices will be, and that translates to reduced resistance. This is one reason that racing yachts usually feature high-aspect-ratio fins with short tip chords.

keel of a boat shape

However, the formation of vortices can be greatly reduced by using end plates, or wings, to change the flow direction and eliminate crossflow. My own preference, for a fin of average span, is for an end plate that is but a few inches wider than the maximum width of the fin bottom. We tested an actual yacht with such an end plate on one side only and noted a substantial improvement in performance when she was heeled so that the end plate was on the leeward side. Where the draft is shoal and the fin span is on the small side, then a wider end plate, or even a wing, might prove beneficial. However, a wide wing can be a structural weakness, particularly if the boat goes hard aground and has to be towed off, or pounds on the rocks for any length of time.

Sweepback Angles

In the 1970s, I saw more than one very-high-aspect-ratio fin with tremendous sweepback angle. This certainly gives an impression of speed but, as Marchaj pointed out, tank tests have shown that the sweepback angle can be related to the aspect ratio: the higher the aspect ratio, the more vertical the fin should be. Indeed, the very-high-aspect-ratio fin on my BOC racer was set absolutely plumb until a hard grounding set the tip back a quarter inch or so, the result of taking a yacht with a 13-foot draft through a channel dredged to 11 feet! Most cruising-yacht fins are of low aspect ratio, of course, so should have substantial sweepback, up to 57 degrees, with an aspect ratio of 0.5, according to Marchaj. Although most designers try, it is unfortunate that obtaining the perfect sweepback angle is secondary to locating the fin to balance the sailplan, as well as fitting the ballast at the correct spot for proper fore and aft trim. The taper ratio (tip chord length/root chord length) also deserves consideration. Tests on one series of fins showed that a fin with 0.32 taper ratio was 1 percent more efficient than an untapered fin and had very slightly less resistance. This is a small difference but cannot be ignored by the racing skipper. Again, the reduction in drag may be due to reduced vortices from the shorter tip chord. Marchaj also states that the taper ratio should be reduced as the sweepback angle increases. However, the very-low-taper-ratio fins may not be the best solution for a cruising yacht. The tip chord should be long enough so the vessel can be hauled on a marine railway with no major problems. Too, on a moderate-draft cruising yacht, a short tip chord forces the ballast higher, so stability can suffer.

sailboat keel sweepback angles of keel fins

Lower Ballast

Another consideration in the fin profile is whether the tip chord is sloped down aft or parallel to the waterline. The parallel tip chord makes good sense. It allows the ballast to be lower for added stability, it eases blocking up the boat when hauling and, fortunately, tests have shown that it is also superior to the sloped tip chord in other ways. Having the aft edge of the tip chord deeper than the leading edge has no practical effect on aspect ratio, and such a fin develops less lift and more drag than one with a parallel tip.

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) tested a large variety of streamlined shapes for lift and resistance and the information on these is available in a book, Theory of Wing Sections, by Abbot and Von Doenhoff. These are the shapes that designers refer to when they say their new magic fin has an NACA section. Generally, the shape selected will be similar to NACA 0010-34 or 0010-64 series. The leading edge will be elliptical, as a blunted nose increases resistance while a pointed leading edge promotes stalling. The maximum width will be about 40 to 50 percent aft, and the shape will be streamlined to a fairly sharp (but not razor-sharp) trailing edge. The thickness ratio will be 0.8 to 0.12 of the chord length, although this may be increased to 0.15 to 0.16 at the tip chord. There are advantages to having an increase in thickness ratio at the tip chord, including being able to fit the ballast lower. This need not mean that the fin is bulbed, though. For example, a fin that is 8 feet long at the root and 5 feet long at the tip may have a 0.10 thickness (0.8 feet) at the root and 0.15 thickness (0.75 feet) at the tip. The fin is still slightly thinner at the bottom than at the top, but the thickness ratio has increased.

Increased Resistance

It is not uncommon to see fins wider than 10 to 12 percent of their length, as the designer may need to fatten the fin in order to locate the ballast in the correct spot for proper trim. Very shoal-draft boats may require fatter keels or fins in order to get the ballast as low as possible for stability. Still, extra width does increase resistance so there is a tradeoff; added stability increases performance while a thicker fin reduces performance. Thirty-five years ago, when I worked for Bill Luders, we tank-tested dozens of 5.5-Meter models. These very short-keeled 30-foot sloops had a minimum keel width of 4 inches under the rule, and whenever we tried a model with a wider keel in order to get the ballast lower, we found that overall performance suffered.

We also tested a number of bulb keels on the 5.5 models but they never proved out in the tank, either, although several different shapes were tried. Then, in the late 1970s, I tank-tested the model of the new Morgan 38 at Stevens Institute, first with a fairly fat NACA fin in order to maintain the desired 5-foot draft, and then with a patented bulb fin that we let its designer draw up, with no stipulation on draft. The bulb saved only 2 inches of draft but showed so poorly against the NACA fin that the 38 was put into production with the more conventional shape.

Keel types including wing keel and more

The tip shape, viewed from ahead, may be flat, round, elliptical, or bulbed. Tests show that the flat, squared-off tip develops a bit more lift to windward and that the round or elliptical tip has less drag on a run. The differences are slight but, today, I favor the squared-off tip with an end plate for yachts of average draft. A vee tip was tried in the 1960s on a few yachts, but never became popular. Bulbs and wings, often in combination, are fairly common on contemporary production boats. Usually, they are an attempt to produce a very shoal-draft yacht for use in waters where the bottom is close to the top and, in those cases, they may make sense.

There is a never-ending variety of fin shapes and, to be honest, I’m not sure which is best. Generally, I prefer a fin similar to the old Cal 40, a little shorter perhaps, and fitted with an end plate. Such a fin provides a desirable combination of good performance, ease of haulout, and structural strength, all very important factors for the cruising skipper.

Article first appeared Good Old Boat magazine: Volume 3, Number 4, July/August 2000 .

About The Author

Ted Brewer

Ted Brewer is one of North America's best-known yacht designers, having worked on the America's Cup boats, American Eagle and Weatherly, as well as boats that won the Olympics, the Gold Cup, and dozens of celebrated ocean races. He also is the man who designed scores of good old boats, the ones still sailing after all these years.

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Sirius Yachts - twin keels are the most popular

What are the pros and cons of different keels?

We all sail for different reasons, in different cruising grounds and use our yachts differently, so it makes sense that there is no one-size-fits-all keel design. At Sirius, however, we like to make the perfect yacht for each individual owner. One of the ways we serve our customers is our choice of keels – at least six different options for each model. It’s one of the ways we stand out – or should that be stand up?

We offer three styles of keel: fin, twin and lifting swing keel. All of our keels excel in many ways, but every design does have drawbacks – this is not unique to Sirius, but the keel affects the way you use the boat, so it’s important to choose the right one for you.

These are the keels we currently offer:

Standard Fin (310 DS, 35 DS, 40 DS) Performance Fin (310 DS, 35 DS, 40 DS) Medium Fin (310 DS, 35 DS, 40 DS) Shallow Fin (310 DS) Shallow Twin (310 DS, 35 DS, 40 DS) Performance Twin (35 DS, 40 DS) Lifting Swing Keel (310 DS, 35 DS, 40 DS)

Sirius Yachts - Whichever keel you choose they all have the same stability

Does the choice of keel compromise ocean capability?

For Sirius yachts, absolutely not. It’s important to realise that choosing one keel style over the other does not affect the yacht’s righting moment or compromise its ocean-going capabilities at all!

Whichever keel you choose, deep or shallow, twin or fin, they all have the same stability. This is achieved by putting more weight in the bulbs of the shallower keels as the shorter lever can be balanced with higher weight. Most of the blue water cruising and circumnavigations in Sirius Yachts have been made with twin-keel or reduced/shallow fin keel yachts.

Sirius Yachts - Most circumnavigations in Sirius Yachts have been made with twin-keel or shallow fin keel

Does keel choice affect performance?

As our shallow keels are heavier the weight dampens the yachts’ motion at sea, but as a downside, you have more weight to move with sails or engine. Once you’re moving there isn’t a difference but when tacking or gybing, or when not steered well, you will lose a bit in sailing performance. The shallower draught yachts also lose a few degrees to windward compared to their deeper keeled sisters, but they are still good all-round performers. Our customers with racing backgrounds always try to go for a keel as deep and light as their sailing area permits, either with a single or twin keel.

Sirius Yachts - performance fin keel

Pros and cons of fin keels

The standard keel on our yachts is a fin keel. Most sailing boats today use a fin keel because it gives a good all-round performance on all points of sail. By keeping the ballast lower it gives the most comfortable motion. The main downsides are that the draught (the depth of water required to stay afloat) is the greatest, and it’s very important to avoid running aground on a falling tide. Fin keel boats cannot dry out without additional support, either from a harbour wall or by fitting a pair of beaching legs. Some fin keel yachts are not built strongly enough to stand on their keels when out of the water, so they can’t dry out alongside a harbour wall and they need to be kept in a special cradle when stored ashore to avoid the risk of the hull deforming under its own weight. By contrast, all Sirius yachts can stand on their keels for any length of time with no problem at all.

We offer four types of fin keel. The standard fin is available on the 310 DS, 35 DS and 40 DS and is fully cast-iron. It offers the best value, good performance, and excellent responsiveness. It is the deepest of our fixed-keel options, so if you want less draught you may want to look at our other fin keels.

We also offer a performance fin keel for all our models. This uses a cast iron fin with a lead bulb at the tip (bottom). The structural strength of cast iron means the fin is the slimmest profile, but lead is denser than iron so the same volume of lead will weigh around 1.4 times more than cast iron, giving more righting moment. The heavier, softer lead down low has less volume in the bulb so achieves a slimmer profile with less drag and therefore better performance.

A lead bulb is also safer if it hits something. Lead can absorb 60% of the energy in flexing and deformation so that only 40% of the force will be transferred to the laminated structure of the keel reinforcement. A lead bulb is very forgiving and easy to reshape and will not start to rust where the coating is damaged. We can use less volume of lead than iron, and achieve better stability than a wholly cast-iron keel. We can also reduce the depth of the keel and retain excellent stability. However, lead is more expensive than cast iron and the bulb must be attached very securely to the iron fin, so this option does cost more.

If you want less draught, we also offer a medium fin. This reduces the draught of the 310 DS and 35 DS by around 40cm/1ft 4in and 55cm/1ft 9in on the 40 DS. Like the performance fin, it uses a cast iron fin with a lead bulb. To retain the keel’s grip in the water it has to have a longer chord (the distance from fore to aft). While this gives the boat better directional stability, it does make her a little less responsive and a little slower to manoeuvre.

On our 310 DS, we offer a shallow fin option – a special version for very shallow cruising grounds. This fin keel offers the least draught of any of our fixed keel options at 1.15m/3ft 9in and draws 10cm/4in less than the twin keel version. The keel has a significantly longer chord (2.24m/7ft 4in compared to 0.7m/2ft 3in of the standard keel) so she has the reassuring directional stability of a long-keeled yacht but with better manoeuvrability.

Sirius Yachts - twin keel

Pros and cons of twin keels

Our twin keels are the most popular option. About 70-80% of all Sirius Yachts are delivered with them – and on the 40 DS it’s 90%. Some folk still believe there is a big performance penalty with twin keels. In the past this used to be true but it’s no longer the case with modern twin keel designs, from Sirius at least. We have conducted many two-boat comparison tests, often battling for hours, by ourselves, with owners, and for sailing magazines and we have found that there may only be one or two boat lengths of difference at the end of a long windward leg, if at all. At the end of many of these comparison tests, the crews could not point out which of the boats had the twin keel.

If you cruise tidal areas, twin keels will reward you time and time again. Not only do they give you a shallower draught than the typical fin keel, they also give you the ability to dry the yacht out, whether that’s for a motion-free night’s sleep, to explore cruising grounds others cannot reach, or just for cheaper mooring and maintenance costs.

Siriius Yachts - performance keels have a deeper draught and thinner chord

We offer two styles of twin keels; performance and shallow draught. Both options have a cast iron fin with a lead bulb. The performance keels have a deeper draught and a thinner chord so they act and feel a bit livelier when sailing and manoeuvring. The shorter keels have a longer chord, but give you the ability to navigate shallower areas. Like all keel designs, twin keels do have some downsides. They are more expensive than fin keels, and when you’re sailing fast in choppy seas at a steep angle of heel, you can occasionally get a slapping sound when an air pocket is caught and pressed out under the windward fin. Lastly, we’ve yet to meet an owner who enjoys antifouling between the keels. Thankfully it only has to be done once a year and with twin keels you might get away with doing it less frequently. A twin keel yacht can be kept on a drying mooring, where fouling is reduced because the hull spends more time out of the water. And when you’re off cruising it’s easy to give the bottom a quick scrub while the yacht is dried out.

Our yachts will happily sit on their keels on a hard surface, like a drying grid, or for winter storage but on softer surfaces we use the rudder for additional support. The rudders on our twin keel yachts are specially reinforced for this: we use a Delrin sheave to take the weight of the hull and the tip of the rudder has a wide, foil-like foot to spread the weight.

Sirius Yachts - we don’t use a grounding plate to take the weight of the yacht

A lifting swing keel

We are one of a few manufacturers to offer a lifting swing keel. There’s a lot of confusion with the term ‘lifting keel’, it seems to encompass all yachts that have centreboards, variable draught, lift-keels or swing keels. To us, a lifting keel boat should have all the ballasted weight of the boat in the keel, and that keel needs to be retracted into the hull.

Sirius Yachts - swing keel has a ballasted fin with a single pivot point

Technically, a lifting keel is a keel that can be lifted or lowered and gives the boat the ability to dry out when the tide goes out. A lift-keel is a ballasted keel that raises and lowers vertically. A swing keel has a ballasted fin that has a single pivot point and the keel swings up into the boat. There are other variants of design, for example some have a lifting keel to reduce the draught of the vessel but they cannot dry out on it, others have a ballasted keel and ballasted grounding plate. All these examples have a keel that does two things: keep the boat upright and stop her sliding sideways. Our swing keel is designed with a NACA profile to give the most efficient performance.

Centreboard yachts have a centreplate to provide grip in the water and reduce leeway. The plate may carry only 15-20% of the ballast but the rest of the yacht’s ballast is within the hull and/or in the grounding plate. This is called an “integral keel” and is more common as it’s less complicated to build. The lower a yacht’s ballast is located, the better her stability, the more comfortable her motion and the better she stands up to her sail area. The most efficient place for the ballast is as low down on the deepest keel possible – this is why race boats have deep skinny keels with large torpedo-shaped bulbs on the bottom, but they don’t make practical cruising sailboats.

Our keel designs have more weight in the tip (bottom) – using a bulb on the fin and twin keel design and flaring the lower sections on our lifting swing keel yachts. You don’t have this with centreboard and integral keel yachts.

It might be surprising, but a lot of owners come to us thinking that a lifting swing keel is the best option for them. Sometimes it is, but about 98% of customers who approach us because we offer swing keels end up sailing away on a twin-keel Sirius.

Sirius Yachts - drying out

The downsides of a lifting keel

A lifting swing keel does give you more cruising options. It will lift should you run into something and, of course, it gives you the shallowest draught. But that difference is only 40-50cm (1ft 4in to 1ft 8in) less draught than our shallow twin keel option. The lifting keel increases the complexity of the build and the final cost of the yacht; it also sometimes limits the internal layout and engine drive options, and you need to have twin rudders too. Twin rudders make the boat less manoeuvrable in a marina – you can opt for a third central rudder which does improve the handling, but again comes at an extra cost.

On the lifting swing keel, 40 and 310 owners are restricted to the use of a shaft drive, which is less efficient and you have to accept a bit more noise and vibration. When drying out, the drive is more vulnerable to damage, whereas it’s totally clear when taking the ground on twin keels. With twin keels, you also do not have to worry about something sticking out of the beach or stones lying around because the hull is high above the ground. With the hull up high, you do not have to dig a hole in the sand and slide down on your stomach to check or change your anodes as you would on a swing keel.

Sailors who are attracted to the idea of a lifting swing keel should carefully consider the pros and cons to compromise the least. When owners understand the repercussions of choosing a lifting keel yacht, many of them feel it restricts their options too much. They could have a lifting keel or they can sail with twin keels, dry out, have better close-quarters handling and save money in the process. Unless you need the shallowest possible draught – 0.75m (2ft 5in) on the 310 DS, 0.9m (2ft 11in) on the 35 DS or 0.95m (3ft 1in) on the 40 DS – a twin keel might well be a better option.

Sirius Yachts - keel attachment

How are the keels attached?

The design of the keel is important but the way they are attached is just as important, if not more so. All of our fixed keels are through-bolted. Every keel has a wide flange at the root (top) of the keel and the flange sits into a reinforced recess in the hull. The flange and the recess work together to spread the loads of the keel/s into the yacht’s hull. The keels are bonded and bolted to the hull. We use up to twelve 20mm and 24mm bolts (per keel) and these go through rolled stainless steel backing plates inside the hull to spread the bolt loads evenly into the fully laminated keel grid which goes all the way up to the chainplates and also carries the mast support.

For our lifting swing keel, we laminate a substantial keel box as part of the hull to accept the keel and the hydraulic mechanism needed to retract the keel into the hull. Unlike most other boatbuilders we don’t use a grounding plate to take the weight of the yacht, our yachts sit on the length of the leading edge of the keel. Integral keels with the majority of the ballast in the grounding plates move the ballast (weight) from low down in the keel to inside the hull. This negatively affects the stability as the more weight you have lower down, the better.

We also don’t like grounding plates because they bring the hull in contact with the ground. By leaving 10-15 cm (4-6in) of the keel out of the hull when it’s retracted, most of the time the hull is kept clear of the beach and anything that could damage it.

The problem with too much form stability

With only 15-12% of their ballast in the centreboard, most lifting-keel yachts cannot rely on keel weight for stability so their hulls need to be designed with extra form stability instead. This means the hull sections have to be much wider and flatter. A flat-bottomed hull is not what you want for a comfortable ocean cruising yacht; it isn’t sea-kindly or easy to steer in waves and gusty winds conditions. We don’t make that compromise at Sirius. With all the ballast in the swinging part of our swing keel design, we can use the same seaworthy, ocean-capable hull shape designed for our yachts with fixed keels.

If you don’t know which keel would be best for your Sirius, contact us to discuss the type of sailing you intend to do, where you want to sail and what your cruising aspirations are.

General Manager – Torsten Schmidt SIRIUS-WERFT GmbH Ascheberger Straße 68 24306 Plön/Holstein

Fax: 0049 – 4522 – 744 61-29

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Practical Boat Owner

  • Digital edition

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Keel types and how they affect performance

Peter Poland

  • Peter Poland
  • June 19, 2023

Peter Poland looks at the history of keel design and how the different types affect performance

A white yacht sailing on the sea

The Twister is a well-proven example of a generation of production yachts with ‘cutaway’ full keels and keel-hung rudders. Credit: Graham Snook/Yachting Monthly

Having been a boatbuilder for around 30 years until the very early ‘noughties’, I’ve already witnessed – and even taken part in – a lot of changes in the world of yacht design and building.

Yacht design originally evolved as traditional workboats developed into leisure craft.

In his History of Yachting , Douglas Phillips-Birt writes that the Dutch, who gave the name ‘yacht’ to the world, were probably the first to use commercial craft for pleasure in the 16th century.

They created the first yacht harbour in Amsterdam in the 17th century.

When the schooner America visited the UK in 1851 and raced around the Isle of Wight, this led to the America’s Cup and the resulting merry-go-round of race-yacht design that continues to this day.

A yacht heeling on the sea

The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 35 offers three different fin keel configurations with different draughts plus a lifting keel version with a centreplate housed in a shallow winged keel stub. Credit: David Harding

The creation of what is now the Royal Yachting Association ( RYA ) in 1875 led to the introduction of handicap rules, establishing the sport in Britain.

These rating rules – and their numerous successors down the ages – have helped determine the evolution of yacht design and keel shapes.

Many early yachts were closely based on workboats, commercial cargo carriers or even privateers and naval vessels.

Initially, the ballast was carried in a long keel and the bilges .

New racing rules of the day taught designers to seek and tweak performance-enhancing features.

Maybe racing did not always improve the breed, but it certainly kept it moving ahead.

Artwork inspired by Ted Brewer’s illustration of keel types (excluding centreplate or lifting keels)

Artwork inspired by Ted Brewer’s illustration of keel types (excluding centreplate or lifting keels)

The late, great designer David Thomas believed that fishing boats, pilot cutters and oyster smacks had a large influence on the sport of sailing.

Each type of workboat was built to fulfil a specific purpose. And many had to be sailed short-handed while carrying heavy cargoes.

So they needed to combine form and function, sail well and be able to cope with heavy weather.

Proof of the versatility of working boat designs was provided by Peter Pye and his wife, Anne.

They bought a 30ft Polperro gaff-rigged fishing boat (built by Ferris of Looe in 1896) for £25 in the 1930s.

Having converted her to a sea-going cutter, and renamed her Moonraker of Fowey , they sailed the world for 20 years.

It proves how the simplest working boat design can cross oceans and fulfil dreams.

Racing influence on keel types and design

Most early yacht designs were schooners, but during the latter half of the 19th century the gaff cutter rig started to dominate the scene.

Many notable yachts were built at that time and the most important racing design was probably the yawl Jullanar (1875).

Designed and built by the agricultural engineer EH Bentall, she had, in his own words, “the longest waterline, the smallest frictional surface, and the shortest keel”.

She proved to be extremely fast and in her first season won every race she entered. Jullanar became the forerunner of such famous designs as GL Watson’s Thistle (1887), Britannia (1893), and Valkyrie II and Valkyrie III , both of which challenged for the America’s Cup during the 1890s.

Compare the She 36’s graceful overhangs with the vertical stems and sterns of most modern cruiser/racers

Compare the She 36’s graceful overhangs with the vertical stems and sterns of most modern cruiser/racers

In the USA, Nat Herreshoff experimented with hull forms for racing yachts and produced the ground-breaking Gloriana in 1890.

She was a small boat for the times, with a waterline length of 46ft. Her hull form was very different to anything yet seen in the USA.

With long overhangs at bow and stern, her forefoot was so cut away that the entry at the bow produced a near-straight line from the stem to the keel.

It was a revolutionary design, and nothing at the time could touch her on the racecourse.

A yacht with a pivoting keel dried out on sand

Many French models, such as this Beneteau, have opted for substantial pivoting keels. Credit: Peter Poland

Herreshoff wrote: “Above the waterline everything on Gloriana was pared down in size and weight… and every ounce of this saving in weight was put into the outside lead.”

Early English rating rules produced the ‘plank-on-edge’ yacht, where the beam became narrower and the draught got deeper.

New rating rules were then adopted to discourage this extreme type and eventually the Universal Rule was introduced in the USA and the International Rule – which produced the International Metre Classes – took over in Europe.

Yet again, racing rules proved to be a major influence on design development.

By the start of the 20th century the big, long-keeled racing yachts like the J Class attracted a lot of public attention, but after World War II everything changed. Yachts built to the Universal Rule fell from favour.

The age of the racing dinghy arrived and the ocean racer became the performance yacht of the future.

To new extremes

A 300-mile race from New York to Marblehead saw the start of offshore racing and the first Bermuda race was run in 1906.

The British were slower to compete offshore, but in 1925 seven yachts took up the challenge to race round the Fastnet Rock, starting from the Isle of Wight and finishing at Plymouth.

EG Martin’s French gaff-rigged pilot cutter Jolie Brise won the race and the Ocean Racing Club was formed.

In 1931 this became the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), which remains the governing body of offshore racing in Britain.

A white yacht heeling due to its keel types

The ‘cutaway’ modified full keel was famously used by Olin Stevens on his mighty Dorade. Credit: Christopher Ison/Alamy

The early competitors in RORC races were long-keeled cruising boats, many of them gaff rigged and designed for comfort and speed.

But everything changed in 1931 when the young American Olin Stephens designed and then sailed his family’s 52ft yawl Dorade across the Atlantic to compete in that year’s Fastnet race.

She won with ease. Then she did it again in 1933, having first won the Transatlantic ‘feeder’ race.

At 52ft LOA, with sharp ends and 10ft 3in beam, some said Dorade looked like an overgrown yawl rigged 6-metre. But her triple-spreader main mast was revolutionary. As were her cutaway forefoot, lightweight construction, deep ballast and 7ft 7in draught.

Dorade took the long keel format to new extremes.

In the USA, the Cruising Club of America (CCA), founded in 1922, played much the same role as the RORC did in Britain.

It introduced its own rating rule which influenced the evolution of yacht design in the USA.

Different keel types - a faired bulb keel and spade rudder on a yacht

The Elan 333. Both the deep (1.9m) and shallow (1.5m) draught models feature an elegantly faired bulb keel and spade rudder. Credit: Peter Poland

Beam was treated more leniently under the CCA rule, so wider American designs later offered more space for accommodation and a bit more inherent form stability than RORC-rule inspired yachts.

Many famous designers of long-keel racing yachts at this time developed their skills at the yachtbuilding firms they ran, such as William Fife II (1821–1902), his son William III (1857–1944), Charles E Nicholson (1868–1954) of Camper & Nicholsons and Nat Herreshoff of Bristol, Rhode Island.

Around the same time several British yacht designers made their names, including George L Watson (1851–1904) who set up one of the earliest Design Offices and Alfred Mylne (1872–1951), who designed several successful International Metre Class yachts.

Norwegian designers Colin Archer (1832–1921) and Johan Anker (1871–1940) also joined the party.

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In 1873 Archer designed the first long keel Norwegian yacht, but his real interest was work boats – pilot boats, fishing craft, and sailing lifeboats – some of which were later converted into cruising yachts.

Erling Tambs’s Teddy was a classic Colin Archer long keel canoe-stern design in which he wandered the globe with his young wife and family.

He proved the seaworthiness of Archer’s yachts, as well as their speed, by winning the 1932 Trans-Tasman yacht race.

Fellow Norwegian Johan Anker – a one-time pupil of Nat Herreshoff – became equally famous, thanks to his Dragon-class design that still races today.

As a new generation of designers arrived on the scene in the 1930s, hull tank testing became more sophisticated.

Long keel designs became as much a science as an art.

The leader of this new wave of designers, Olin J Stephens, had been a junior assistant to Starling Burgess who designed race-winning J Class yachts, including the iconic Ranger .

Tank testing was then in its infancy but the USA was ahead of the game and Stephens stored away everything that he learned. He enjoyed a head start over his contemporaries.

Keel types: Fin keels

Between the 1930s and the 1980s more fin keel designs began to arrive on the scene and his firm Sparkman & Stephens produced many of the world’s top ocean racers.

He also designed America’s Cup 12-Metres that defended the cup up to 1983 until Ben Lexcen’s winged keel shook the sailing world.

Many S&S fin keel and skeg production boats – such as the Swan 36 (1967), 37, 40, 43, 48, 53 and 65, She 31 (1969) and 36 and S&S 34 (1968) – still win yacht races and are much sought after as classics.

The S&S 34 has several circumnavigations to its name. Stephens, of course, had his rivals.

Among these was the Englishman Jack Laurent Giles, whose light displacement race-winner Myth of Malham had one of the shortest ‘long keels’ of all time.

(L-R) A Sigma 38 designed by David Thomas and Gulvain (1949) by Jack Giles as a development of his Fastnet-winning Myth of Malham have very different keel types

(L-R) A Sigma 38 designed by David Thomas and Gulvain (1949) by Jack Giles as a development of his Fastnet-winning Myth of Malham have very different keel types. Credit: Peter Poland

The Dutchman EG Van de Stadt designed the Pioneer 9 (1959) which was one of the first GRP fin keel and spade rudder racers.

Towards the end of his career, Olin Stephens also came up against Dick Carter, Doug Peterson, German Frers and the Kiwis Ron Holland and Bruce Farr.

The development of new shaped keels went hand in hand with this rapid evolution in yacht design.

The full keel, as still found on motor-sailers such as the Fisher range, gave way to the ‘cutaway’ modified full keel as famously used by Olin Stephens on his mighty Dorade , designed back in the late 1920s.

She still wins ‘classic’ yacht races in the USA. American designer Ted Brewer wrote in ‘ GoodOldBoat ’ that Dorade’s offshore racing successes proved that the full keel is not essential for seaworthiness.

yacht keel design

The Nicholson 32’s modified ‘cutaway’ long keel results in excellent performance and handling. Credit: Genevieve Leaper

As a result of its improved performance and handling, the modified ‘cutaway’ long keel caught on quickly and became the standard for around 35 years.

This keel type is found on numerous popular designs such as the Nicholson 32 , 26 and 36, Twister 28 and many Nordic Folkboat derivations.

The modified full keel format had a cutaway profile, giving good handling and directional stability while having less wetted surface than the full keel designs.

These yachts can perform well in all conditions and have a comfortable motion.

Even though they are generally of heavier displacement than fin keelers, they are not much slower in light airs , despite their added wetted surface area.

Their main drawback is a wide turning circle ahead and reluctance to steer astern when under motor.

Keel types: Increased stability

The modified full keel was subsequently cut away more and more for bluewater and inshore racers in an attempt to reduce wetted area until, finally, some designers took it to extremes.

As a result, much-reduced directional stability produced craft that were difficult to steer in breezy conditions, broaching regularly.

Whereupon the fin keel and skeg-hung rudder took over, reinstating increased directional stability, improving windward ability, reducing drag and restoring – when under power – control astern and on slow turns.

This fin and skeg format was later followed by the NACA sectioned fin keel with a separate spade rudder .

Soon, many performance cruisers followed this race-boat trend.

A yacht on a cradle in a boat yard

The Hanse 430 has a spade rudder and bulbed keel (draught 2.16m or 1.79m shoal draught. Credit: Peter Poland

Many builders now also offer shoal draught fin keel options and shallower twin rudders.

Some, such as Hanse, incorporate L- or even T-shaped bulbs on some Hanses and Dehlers at the base of finely shaped cast iron fins.

A new international competition had encouraged the initial development of modern fin keel yacht designs.

The revamped One Ton Cup was launched in 1965 for yachts on fixed handicap ratings (typically around 37ft long).

This spawned later fixed-rating championships for Quarter Tonners (around 24ft), Half Tonners (around 30 ft), Three-Quarter Tonners (around 33ft), and finally Mini-Tonners (around 21ft).

All these yachts were eventually handicapped under the International Offshore Rule (IOR) that replaced the old RORC and CCA rules.

The revamped One Ton Cup helped encourage the developed of modern fin keel designs. Credit: Getty

The revamped One Ton Cup helped encourage the developed of modern fin keel designs. Credit: Getty

Countless production fin keel cruisers designed and built in the 1970’s to 1990’s boom years were loosely based on successful IOR racers that shone in the ‘Ton Cup’ classes.

The IOR handicap system’s major drawback was its Centre of Gravity Factor (CGF) that discouraged stiff yachts.

Once the international IRC rule replaced the IOR, more thought was given to increasing stability by putting extra weight in a bulb at the base of the keel.

GRP production boats followed suit. The keel foil’s chord needed to be wide enough to give good lateral resistance (to stop leeway), yet not be so wide as to add unnecessary drag.

Exaggeratedly thin foils are not suited to cruising yachts because they can be tricky upwind.

Tracking is not their forte and they can stall out. A bonus was an easier ride downwind thanks to wider sterns.

Keel Types: Lead or iron?

And then there is lead. Almost every production cruiser has a cast iron keel for one simple reason; it is much cheaper than lead. But it’s not as good.

Not only does it rust; it is ‘bigger’ for the same given weight. A cubic metre of iron weighs around 7,000kg, while the same cubic metre of lead weighs around 11,300kg.

An iron keel displaces far more water (so has more drag) than the same lead weight. We had always put iron keels under our Hunters – as did our competitors.

But when we came to build the Van de Stadt HB31 cruiser-racer, designer Cees van Tongeren said “No. We use lead.” “Why?” I asked. Cees replied: “If we use iron, the keel displaces more, so the boat sails worse.”

An aerial view of a yacht

Rustler 36 long keel’s cutaway forefoot delivers responsiveness and manoeuvrability – a reason the design is so popular in the Golden Globe Race. Credit: Beniot Stichelbaut/GGR/PPL

Which explains why top-flight race boats have lead keels – or at the very least composite keels with a lead bulb or base bolted to an iron upper foil, thus lowering the centre of gravity (CG).

Some modern production cruiser-racers offer high-performance lead or lead/iron composite keels – but at a price.

Many Danish X-Yacht and Elan race-boat models, for example, have a lead bulb on the base of an iron NACA section fin.

Rob Humphreys, current designer of the popular Elan and Oyster ranges, said: “The T-keel is good if you have sufficient draught available. If not, the fin element has too short a span to do its job. This is because the T-bulb doesn’t contribute as usefully to side force as a ‘filleted L-bulb.’

“I developed and tested this shape (a blended-in projection off the back of the main fin) for the maxi race boat Rothmans in 1988/9, and have since used it on the Oysters and Elan Impressions. The ‘filleted’ keel we tested for Rothmans had slightly more drag dead downwind (more wetted area) but was significantly better when any side-force occurred; and side-force goes hand-in-hand with heel angle – which is most of the time! When the model spec allows for reasonable draught, the keel option with the lowest centre of gravity will invariably be a T-keel, with a longer bulb giving the greatest scope for a slender ballast package. An L-keel is a compromise and doesn’t suffer from the risk of snagging lines, mooring warps, and nets. [many modern production cruisers have 100% cast iron L- or T-shaped keels]. A lead bulb is preferable to a cast iron keel in terms of volume and density, but it costs more. However, a lead T-keel in a production environment will almost certainly use a cast iron or SG Iron fin, which may rust.”

yacht keel design

The Mystery 35, designed by Stephen Jones and built by Cornish Crabbers, has a lead fin keel. Photo: Michael Austen/Alamy

Rustler Yachts also uses lead instead of iron for their keels.

The Rustler 36 long keel (designed by Holman and Pye and winner of the 2018 Golden Globe Race) has a cutaway forefoot to improve responsiveness and manoeuvrability.

The long keel creates more drag but, as with the Rustler 24, the cutaway forefoot makes the 36 more nimble than a full long keel boat, which are more difficult to manoeuvre in reverse under power.

The rest of Rustler’s offshore range – the Rustler 37, 42, 44 and 57 – designed by Stephen Jones – have lead fin keels.

As does his Mystery 35 built by Cornish Crabbers.

These offer an excellent combination of directional stability, performance and lateral stability. The yachts track well, are comfortable in choppy seas, and have good manoeuvrability, all without the flightiness of shorter chord fin keels found on many production family cruisers.

A digital future

Influential designer David Thomas said: “When I started designing, I integrated sharp leading edges to the keel; until someone told me a radius was better. Then we were all taught that an elliptical shape was better still. With the advent of computers, designers could better visualise the end-product; and clever ‘faring programs’ speeded this up.”

So where next? A combination of lighter and stronger materials, rapidly developing computer programs, a desire for maximum interior volume and low costs has led us to today’s production yacht.

Twin rudders improve the handling of broad-sterned yachts when heeled.

The IRC rating rule permits low CG keels, wider beam and near-vertical bows and sterns.

And designers now have an array of new computer tools at their disposal. But maybe there’s still that element of black magic?

As David Thomas so succinctly said: “You can design a yacht 95% right, but the last 5% can be down to luck.”

Keel types : the pros and cons

Full length keel

keel types - a long keel Fisher 31

The Fisher 31 and many motor-sailers have long keels. Credit: Peter Poland

Pros: Directional stability. Heavy displacement leading to comfort at sea.

Cons: Poor windward performance. Large wetted surface leads to drag. When under power at low speeds, the turning circle is wide unless fitted with thrusters. The same applies to manoeuvring astern.

Cutaway modified long keel form with keel-hung rudder

Pros: Reduced wetted surface area leading to increased boat speed. Better windward performance and handling than full length keel. Rudder on the aft end of the keel improves self-steering ability on some designs.

Cons: Under engine, this keel form has a large turning circle ahead and poor control astern. Since the rudder is not ‘balanced’, the helm on some designs can feel quite heavy.

Fin keel with skeg-hung rudder

Keel types - a yacht with a skeg hung rudder

The skeg gives protection to the rudder. Credit: Graham Snook/Yachting Monthly

Pros: The further reduction in wetted surface area leads to more boat speed. Directional stability and close-windedness are also improved. If full depth, the skeg can protect the rudder against collision damage.

Cons: When combined with a narrow stern, this keel format can induce rolling when sailing dead downwind in heavy winds.

Fin keel with separate spade rudder

Keel types - a yacht with a fin keel and separate spade rudder

Fin keel with spade: Low wetted surface and aerofoil shapes enhance performance. Credit: Graham Snook/Yachting Monthly

Pros: The fin and spade rudder mix reduces wetted surface and gives a more sensitive helm – especially if the blade has ‘balance’ incorporated in its leading edge. Handling under power in astern is precise and the turning circle is small.

Cons: The rudder is fully exposed to collisions. There are no fittings connecting the rudder to a keel or skeg, so the rudder stock and bearings need to be very robust.

Shallow stub keel with internal centreplate.

Pros: When lowered, the plate gives good windward performance. The plate can act as an echo sounder in protected shallow water. There is normally no internal centreplate box to disrupt accommodation. With the plate raised, off-wind performance is good.

Cons: The plate lifting wire needs regular inspection and occasional replacement. Windward performance with the plate raised is poor.

Lifting or swing keel

Different keel types - lifting keel yacht

Boats with lifting keels tend to surf earlier downwind. Credit: Graham Snook/Yachting Monthly

Pros: Shallowest draught so more cruising options; can also be moored on cheaper moorings. Surfs early downwind. Small wetted surface so can be fast.

Cons: Reduced living space due to internal keel box. With a raised keel, poor directional control. Susceptible to hull damage if grounding on hard material.

Twin or bilge keel

Different keel types for yachts - a twin keeler

Bilge- or twin-keelers can take the ground on the level. Credit: Graham Snook/Yachting Monthly

Pros: Can take the ground in a level position. Modern twin-keel designs with around 15º splay, around 2º toe-in and bulbed bases perform well upwind. Good directional stability due to the fins. Modern twin keels with bulbed bases lower the centre of gravity.

Cons: Older designs do not point upwind well. Slapping sound under windward keel when at a steep angle of heel on older designs. Antifouling between the keels can be tricky. Can be more expensive than fin keels.

Different keel types - wing keel

Wing keel: A low centre of gravity gives a good righting moment. Credit: Graham Snook/Yachting Monthly

Pros: Low centre of gravity means good righting moment. Shallow draught. Sharper windward performance.

Cons: Larger surface area means it is more likely to pick up fishing gear, like lobster pots. Difficult to move once it is grounded. And difficult to scrub keel base when dried out alongside a wall.

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  • Mastering the Depths: The Sailboat Keel Guide

The keel of a sailboat is more than just an architectural feature; it's the foundational element that ensures stability, performance, and the directional integrity of the vessel. Acting as the backbone of the boat, it runs longitudinally along the bottom, playing a crucial role in preventing the boat from being blown sideways by the wind. But the keel is not just about stability; it's intricately linked to how a sailboat interacts with the water and wind, affecting everything from speed to maneuverability. Diving deeper into the specifics, the variety in keel designs is vast, each tailored to suit different sailing needs and environments. From the slender and deep fin keel, known for its speed and agility, to the bulb keel with its characteristic bulb at the bottom for enhanced stability, the design choices are many. There's also the wing keel, designed for shallow waters, reducing the draft without losing stability, and the full keel, which is excellent for long-distance cruising due to its exceptional directional stability. Not to forget the twin keel, which allows a sailboat to stand upright on low tides and offers remarkable stability in heavy weather conditions.

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  • Sailboat Reviews

A Look at Sailboat Design: Fin Keels vs. Full Keels

Details like keel design count when considering cruising sailboats..

yacht keel design

Photos by Ralph Naranjo

When a keel tears away from a sailboats hull, it makes the loss of a rig or rudder seem like a minor inconvenience. History shows that its an uncommon occurrence, but because we now annually hear of such incidents, weve decided to take a closer look at keels and see what keeps the ballast where it belongs.

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Offshore Special Regulations devotes pages to helping sailors prevent and respond to a crew overboard incident. There is nothing about how to handle the loss of a keel or ballast bulb. Some might say this is because such occurrences are so infrequent, while others note that, if youre still upright once the ballast breaks off theres not much you can do other than blow the sheets, douse the sails as quickly as possible and attempt to stop any leaks.

When solo sailor Mike Plants Open 60 Coyote lost her lead bulb in 1992, Mike was lost at sea. Other adventure-sailors have survived near instantaneous capsize precipitated by keel loss. In 2003, round-the-world racer Tim Kent and his crew capsized when Everest Horizontal lost its ballast on the way back from Bermuda. US Sailing Safety at Sea Committee Chairman Chuck Hawley was aboard the racing sloop Charlie, on the way back from Hawaii, when a loud groaning sound led to a deep heel as the lead peeled away from the keel bolts and ballast headed straight to the bottom. This encounter at least had a happy ending thanks to the crews quick actions to douse sail. Apparently the keel had been cast with too little antimony (an additive that causes lead to become a harder alloy). The point here is that keeping the keel attached is as important as keeping the crew safely on board. And for the offshore monohull sailor, preventing a keel loss, like preventing crew overboard, requires some informed forethought.

A ballast keel on a sailboat is a classic example of potential energy poised in a balancing act. The buoyancy of the hull itself offsets the effect of thousands of pounds of lead or iron. At rest, gravitys attraction for the dense material strains against the buoyancy of the hull, and the adjacent garboard region is continuously in tension. Few sailors spend much time contemplating how keel bolts corrode and what cycle-loading does to the resin matrix comprising the garboard region just above the ballast. What is apparent, is that the attachment material, whether it be wood, metal or fiber reinforced plastic (FRP), must be able to support a mass of metal weighing as much as a small truck-and do so day in and day out for decades.

Underway, every tack causes the rig and sailplan to try to lever this ballast package free from the hull. And when the helmsman starts daydreaming about lobster for dinner and wanders off course onto a granite ledge Down East, the keel designed to handle sailing loads takes it on the chin. Its easy to see why experienced designers and builders lose sleep over their decisions about keel shape, structure, and what kind of safety factor should be built into the structure.

Its surprising to discover that with better materials and computer-aided design, we still hear about incidents such as the Rambler capsize in the 2011 Fastnet Race (PS, May 2012). Just as significant is a spate of smaller race boat keel-ectomies that have caused ISAF to send out a cautionary note to sailors around the world, and introduce new structural standards for race boats. Keeping the ballast attached to the boat involves an awareness of a chain-like set of failure points. And one of the most difficult decisions each designer must make is how to marry foil efficiency with a structural safety margin that covers the boats intended usage and the unintended use of the keel as a depth sounding device.

For decades, engineers and naval architects have had to contend with some racing sailors Icarus-like quest-a trend that prioritizes shedding weight and making the keel foil a long, thin appendage with a high-aspect ratio. Though not quite a flight toward the sun with wings made of wax and feathers, some race-boat scan’tlings walk a fine line between lightweight and structural failure. The challenge lies in attaching a lead bulb on a high-tensile steel foil to a lightweight, high-modulus, FRP hull. Interconnecting the dense metallic ballast to the lower-density foam/fiberglass hull structure is a true engineering puzzle. Part of the challenge lies in the dissipation of point loads (confined to a relatively small area) and how to handle the resulting stress risers. A stress riser is the point at which theres an abrupt change in a materials flexibility, such as where a stiff, fin keel meets the more elastic hull bottom. In FRP composites like those found in a balsa-cored hull, stress risers are a likely place for delamination to occur. Over time, these can result in the failure of the FRP composite.

A Look at Sailboat Design: Fin Keels vs. Full Keels

The see-saw effect of the keel counteracting a vessels righting moment is a mathematically predictable energy transfer. Even the effect of groundings such as those that turn hull speed into a dead stop can be quantified. But its the cumulative effect of fatigue (localized structural damage caused by cyclical loading) and corrosion that are harder to pin down.

The term allision refers to hitting a fixed object such as a granite ledge or coral reef. Naval architects analyze the energy transfer and evaluate the stress and strain characteristics that occur. The recognition that the keel-to-hull connection must endure even more punishment than is doled out in heavy-weather sailing episodes is at the heart of how structural specs are devised.

Designers also must consider the jack-hammer-like pounding of a keel on a reef in surf, and realize that there are limits to the abuse a keel and hull can endure. With this in mind, its reasonable to assume that sailboat keels should be built to handle sailing induced loads for decades. It is the extra safety factor built into the boat that defines what happens when the sandbar is a rock pile.

What is harder to anticipate are the unusual encounters that can inflict serious damage to the keel connection. Take, for example, what happens when a sailboats deep fin keel is wedged in a rocky cleft and a good Samaritan with a big powerboat attempts to pivot the sailboat using a line attached to the bow. The distance from the keels vertical centerline to the stem may be 20 feet or more, and with a couple of thousand pounds of bollard pull, the 20-foot lever arm creates a rotary force that can spike to 40,000 foot-pounds or more. This level of torque goes well beyond what most designers and builders model as sailing loads, and its likely to seriously damage the boat.

In plain low-tech talk, extreme fin keels provide a valuable performance edge, but they come with their own set of downsides that every owner needs to be aware of. In essence, the more radical the keel shape, the better the crew must navigate.

A couple of decades ago, PS Technical Editor Ralph Naranjo ran a boatyard and had a client who liked to cut the corners during Block Island Race Week. His first spinnaker reach into a granite boulder stopped the boat and shoved the companionway ladder upward six inches. This underscored how an allision that causes the keel to stop abruptly transfers a shock wave through the entire hull. The resulting compression cracked several transverse members in the New York 40 and damaged the core in the canoe body near the garboard.

The FRP repairs had to be tapered and all delamination problems resolved. The moderate-aspect-ratio lead fin keel absorbed a good deal of the blunt trauma. Judging from the cannonball-size dent on the leading edge of the lead keel, it was clear that the impact was significant. The dent offered grim proof of the advantage of having soft lead instead of steel as keel ballast. New floor frames were added, the broken transverse members were replaced, and the boat was off and sailing.

The next season, the boat had another Block Island encounter, and only because the Petersen-designed New York 40 was a pretty ruggedly built boat was a second repair even considered. This time, an equally violent keel-to-hull trauma came from an on-the-wind encounter with a different rock. The extent of the delamination was greater than it had been in the first go round, and more extensive core removal and repair was required. The keel was dropped in order to check the bolts and the garboard. With the bilge fully opened for the FRP repair work, the repair crew made a pattern of the canoe body dead rise and fore and aft contour. As the glass work was being completed, they fabricated a stainless-steel grid that would spread keel loads fore and aft as well as athwartship. The new grid reinforced the keel attachment and returned the sloop to the race course.

Afterward, Naranjo and the owner discussed the details of the repair, including the possibility of hidden, widespread damage from the two groundings. These included the dynamic loads imposed upon the chainplates and rigging, the likelihood of hidden resin-cracking, and potential for more delamination and core shear linked to the torque induced by the accident. In short, any serious allision causes overt and hard-to-detect damage far from the actual impact zone, and these can lead to more problems down the road. When buying a used boat, look for a good pedigree, but also look for signs of previous blunt-force trauma. A good surveyor will be skilled in such structural forensics, and he or she will do more than comment on the gelcoat shine.

In the early days of wooden ships and iron men, a lack of dense metal ballast put less point-loading in the garboard region of the hull. Bilges free of cargo were filled with rocks or tighter-fitting granite blocks cut for more compact stacking. The principal of ballasting a vessel was to lower her center of gravity (CG) and create both an increase in the righting arm and a greater righting moment to offset the heeling moment created by the rig and sail plan. The keel also helped lessen leeway and would evolve into an appendage that added lift.

Movable ballast had a few downsides, not the least of which was its propensity to move in the wrong direction at the very worst moment. Even small boat sailors have found out what can happen to unsecured pigs of lead ballast when the boat heels far enough over for gravity to overcome friction. Whether stones, lead, movable water ballast, or a can’ting keel are used to augment the boats righting moment, a sailor must anticipate the worst-case scenario. This is when the weight ends up on the leeward side of the boat and a bad situation can turn into a real catastrophe. Fixing or locking ballast in place, controlling the volume of water put in ballast tanks, and limiting the can’ting keels range are sensible compromises.

A Look at Sailboat Design: Fin Keels vs. Full Keels

Internal ballast, the ballast inside a keel envelope thats contiguous with the hull, is still seen in many new boats. Island Packet is an example of a builder has stuck with this traditional approach of securing ballast without using keel bolts. Its a sensible design for shoal-draft cruisers, and the upsides are numerous. These high-volume, long-range cruisers arent encumbered by the demands prioritized by light displacement, performance-oriented sailors. Instead, Island Packets combine a rugged laminate and a long-footed, shallow-draft keel. This may not place the lead or iron ballast as deep as the tip of a fin keel, but it does keep the all-important CG low enough to deliver a powerful righting moment along with shoal draft.

In order to deliver the high angle of vanishing stability (AVS) also known as limit of positive stability (LPS), designer Bob Johnson puts what amounts to an internal bulb in the very lowest point in the boat. This long slug of iron or lead (depending on the model) is then covered by Portland cement, locking it in the Island Packets monocoque structure. The result is a contiguous FRP structure spreading keel loads efficiently over a considerable amount of hull skin. Keel bolts and the infamous garboard seam are completely eliminated. This approach to sailboat keel design dates back to the Rhodes Bounty II and other prototypes in the production world of sailboats. Now over 50 years old, many of these boats continue to have a tenacious grasp on the lead or iron that they hold.

Encapsulated iron ballast is much less desirable than encapsulated lead, and its sad to see builders skimp on this. Iron, or even worse steel, has been used in many Far Eastern encapsulated keels. It works as long as water and the resulting oxidation havent caused expansion and cracking of the seal. Lead is also denser than ferrous metal, and therefore, the same amount of ballast will have a smaller volume and create less drag.

Encapsulated ballast starts to be less appealing as keels become more fin-like and high-aspect ratio. The reason for this is that the geometry of the support changes, focusing more load on less area of the hull. As hull shapes evolved into canoe underbodies with hard turns in the bilge, and fin-like keels became thinner, deeper, and with shorter chord measurements (thickness), the concept of encapsulated keel became impractical. The Cal 40, Ericson 39, Pearson 365, and a long list of similar genre boats signified the end of an era when performance racer/cruisers would be built with encapsulated ballast.

A Look at Sailboat Design: Fin Keels vs. Full Keels

External Ballast

Performance-oriented sailors and race-boat designers quickly latched on to hull shapes marked by deep-draft, foil-shaped, high-aspect ratio fin keels. From the late 60s to whats currently glowing on CAD screens in designer offices around the world, keels have grown deeper and shorter in chord length, and bulb or anvil-like tips have grown more and more common.

The design development was sound, lift was enhanced, and deeper-not longer-became the answer to getting to windward faster. The challenge was not only in designing an efficient shape, it lay in creating an attachment means that minimized foil flex and twist, retained the low drag coefficient, and still had the ability to withstand an occasional, albeit modest, grounding.

During this same period, marine surveyors and boatyard techs began to see moderate groundings result in major structural problems. The classic example was the allision that produced a moderate dent in the lead at the leading edge of the keel tip. In many cases, further inspection revealed cracks radiating outward from a knot meter or depth sounder mistakenly placed just ahead of the keel. An even closer look often revealed grid damage or a cracked bulkhead just aft of the last keel bolt. Like the New York 40 mentioned earlier, this was a result of a shock wave radiating through the hull structure. As we learned in Mrs. McCrearys science class, Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, unless acted on by an equal and opposite force. Fin keel sailboats encountering abrupt energy transfers,tend to endure more damage than their long-keel counterparts.

A forensic look at the Achilles heel of external ballast highlights a few pitfalls. First the good news: Lead absorbs impact well, consuming much of the imparted energy through deformation. However, the translation of the remaining energy from the metal keel foil and keelbolts into an FRP hull is where we often find stress risers, and point loading linked to material and hull shape changes. The near right-angle interface between a modern sailboats canoe body and its deep fin keel is a classic load-path hotspot. In the old days, fiberglass techs spoke of oil-canning or the dimpling of a large section of the garboard as tacks were swapped.

Today Naval Architects use Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to better engineer hull structure. Colorized graphics pinpoint load concentration, glowing bright red in the region where the keel joins the hull, the epicenter of the oil-canning. A common solution to coping with this high-load focal point, is to eliminate core in the region and to gradually increase the unit schedule (layers of FRP), or to add an internal FRP grid. Maximum thickness of a keel stub is located where the keelbolts penetrate the stub. In this region, the solid glass thickness is often equal to the dimension of the keel bolt diameter or even greater.

Laminate thickness at the keel bolts is only part of the equation. Just as important is how the transition to the general hull laminate transpires. A bullet-proof keel stub that immediately transitions into a core hull comprising two units of laminate on each side of the panel creates whats equivalent to a tear-on-the-dotted-line weakness. Transitions that involve sharp angles and marked differences in panel strength require a well-reinforced taper that spreads loads gradually rather than abruptly.

Occasionally, we see massive metal frameworks used in the bilge as support for keel bolts; these structures need to be carefully engineered to not create the same hard spot fracture points. When carefully tapered in order to gradually introduce more flex, the problem is abated, as it was in the repair of the New York 40 mentioned earlier. The stainless-steel grid built to support the keel loads incorporated a gradual decrease in stiffness to the framework. The keel was carefully mated to the underside of this grid to ensure full contact (See Keel Bolt Repair Options, online). As a result, the crew relieved the hard spots at the end points and made the transition to the more flexible FRP hull less dramatic.

For cruisers, the take-away lesson is that extra reinforcement, a long garboard keel-to-hull interface, and internal transverse and longitudinal reinforcement really do pay off. Keep in mind that the extra weight this entails is all below the center of gravity and contributes to the secondary righting moment as well as keeping the water out.

This is a big departure from the way many modern production boats are built. They carry a skimpy ballast ratio of 30 percent or less, have less structure to support the keel and are not designed to handle unintended cruising consequences. There are exceptions, and its worth looking at the keel design and structure of the Navy 44 Mark II and the USCG Leadership 44 (see PS, August 2012). These boats utilize external ballast and are examples of rugged keel attachment. They have a relatively long keel-to-stub garboard junction, the laminate scan’tling meets American Bureau of Shipping recommendations, and both utilize an overabundance of 316 stainless-steel keel bolts and an FRP grid to keep the keel where it belongs.

There are many reasons why were seeing more keel problems today. On one hand, light, fast, race-boat design pushes the envelope, and thats probably OK. But when mainstream racer/cruisers start to suffer from lead loss, too much of one good thing (high-aspect ratio) and too little of another good thing (reinforcement) can begin creeping into design and construction.

A Look at Sailboat Design: Fin Keels vs. Full Keels


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Sailboat design is a complex and fascinating field that blends engineering, hydrodynamics, and aesthetics to create vessels that harness the power of the wind for propulsion. In this highly technical article, we will delve into the key aspects of sailboat design, from methodology to evaluation.

1)     Design Methodology

Designing a sailboat is a meticulous process that begins with defining the vessel’s purpose and performance goals. It involves understanding the intended use, whether it’s racing, cruising, or a combination of both. Sailboat designers must also consider regulatory requirements and safety standards.

Once the design objectives are established, naval architects employ various computational tools and simulations to create a preliminary design. These tools help in predicting the boat’s performance characteristics and optimizing its geometry.

Design methodology also encompasses market research to understand current trends and customer preferences. This information is critical for creating a sailboat that appeals to potential buyers.

2)     Hull Design

The hull is the heart of any sailboat. Its shape determines how the boat interacts with the water. Hull design encompasses the choice of hull form, its dimensions, and the material used. The hull’s shape affects its hydrodynamic performance, stability, and overall handling.

For example, a narrow hull design with a deep V-shape is ideal for speed, while a wider, flatter hull provides stability for cruising. The choice of materials, such as fiberglass or aluminum, impacts the boat’s weight and durability.

The hull design is a balance between achieving efficient hydrodynamics and providing interior space for accommodations. As a designer, finding this equilibrium is a constant challenge.

3)     Keel & Rudder Design

The keel and rudder are critical components of a sailboat’s underwater structure. The keel provides stability by preventing the boat from tipping over, while the rudder controls its direction. Keel design involves selecting the keel type (fin, bulb, or wing) and optimizing its shape for maximum hydrodynamic efficiency.

Rudder’s design focuses on ensuring precise control and maneuverability. Both components must be carefully integrated into the hull’s design to maintain balance and performance.

Keel and rudder design can be particularly challenging because they influence the boat’s behavior in different ways. A well-designed keel adds stability but also increases draft, limiting where the boat can sail. Rudder design must account for both responsiveness and the risk of stalling at high speeds.

4)     Sail & Rig Design

Sail and rig design play a pivotal role in harnessing wind power. Sail choice, size, and shape are tailored to the boat’s intended use and performance goals. Modern sail materials like carbon fiber offer lightweight and durable options.

The rig design involves selecting the type of mast (single or multiple), rigging configuration, and mast height. These choices influence the sailboat’s stability, maneuverability, and ability to handle varying wind conditions.

Balancing the sails and rig for optimal performance is a meticulous task. The sail plan should be designed to efficiently convert wind energy into forward motion while allowing for easy adjustments to adapt to changing conditions.

5)     Balance

Balancing a sailboat is crucial for its performance and safety. Achieving the right balance involves a delicate interplay between the hull, keel, rudder, and sail plan. Proper balance ensures the boat remains stable and responds predictably to helm inputs, even in changing wind conditions.

Balance is not a static concept but something that evolves as the boat sails in different wind and sea conditions. Designers must anticipate how changes in load, wind angle, and sail trim will affect the boat’s balance.

Achieving balance is both an art and a science, and it often requires iterative adjustments during the design and testing phases to achieve optimal results.

6)     Propulsion

While sailboats primarily rely on wind propulsion, auxiliary propulsion systems like engines are essential for maneuvering in harbors or during calm conditions. Integrating propulsion systems seamlessly into the boat’s design requires careful consideration of engine placement, fuel storage, and exhaust systems.

The choice of propulsion system, whether it’s a traditional diesel engine or a more eco-friendly electric motor, also impacts the boat’s weight distribution and overall performance.

7)     Scantling

Scantling refers to the selection of structural components and their dimensions to ensure the boat’s strength and integrity. It involves determining the appropriate thickness of the hull, deck, and other structural elements to withstand the stresses encountered at sea.

Scantling is a critical aspect of sailboat design, as it directly relates to safety. A well-designed boat must be able to withstand the forces exerted on it by waves, wind, and other environmental factors.

8)     Stability

Stability is a critical safety factor in sailboat design. Both upright hydrostatics and large-angle stability must be carefully assessed and optimized. This involves evaluating the boat’s center of gravity, ballast, and hull shape.

Achieving the right balance between initial stability, which provides comfort to passengers, and ultimate stability, which ensures safety in adverse conditions, is a delicate task. Designers often use stability curves and computer simulations to fine-tune these characteristics.

9)     Layout

The layout of a sailboat’s interior and deck spaces is a blend of functionality and comfort. Designers must consider the ergonomics of living and working aboard the vessel, including cabin layout, galley design, and storage solutions. The deck layout influences crew movements and sail handling.

Layout design also extends to considerations like ventilation, lighting, and noise control. Sailboats are unique in that they must provide both comfortable living spaces and efficient workspaces for handling sails and navigation.

10)  Design Evaluation

The final phase of sailboat design involves rigorous evaluation and testing. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, tank testing, and real-world sea trials help validate the design’s performance predictions. Any necessary adjustments are made to fine-tune the vessel’s behavior on the water.

The evaluation phase is where the theoretical aspects of design meet the practical realities of the sea. It’s a crucial step in ensuring that the sailboat not only meets but exceeds its performance and safety expectations.


In conclusion, sailboat design is a highly technical field that requires a deep understanding of hydrodynamics, engineering principles, and materials science. Naval architects and yacht designers meticulously navigate through the intricacies of hull design, keel and rudder configuration, sail and rig design, balance, propulsion, scantling, stability, layout, and design evaluation to create vessels that excel in both form and function. The harmonious integration of these elements results in sailboats that are not just seaworthy but also a joy to sail, and this process is a testament to the art and science of sailboat design.


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The Ultimate Guide to Sail Boat Designs: Exploring Sail Shape, Masts and Keel Types in 2023

WOS Team

  • June 4, 2023

Sail Boat Designs have changed over the years, image shows a historical sail boat with large masts and multiple sails

When it comes to sail boat designs, there is a wide array of options available, each with its own unique characteristics and advantages. From the shape of the sails to the number of masts and the type of keel, every aspect plays a crucial role in determining a sailboat’s performance, stability, and manoeuvrability. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the fascinating world of sail boat designs, exploring the various elements and their significance.

Table of Contents

The sail shape is a fundamental aspect of sail boat design, directly impacting its speed, windward performance, and maneuverability. There are several types of sail shapes, including:

1. Bermuda Rig:

The Bermuda rig is a widely used sail shape known for its versatility and performance. It features a triangular mainsail and a jib, offering excellent maneuverability and the ability to sail close to the wind. The Bermuda rig’s design allows for efficient use of wind energy, enabling sailboats to achieve higher speeds. The tall, triangular mainsail provides a larger surface area for capturing the wind, while the jib helps to balance the sail plan and optimize performance. This rig is commonly found in modern recreational sailboats and racing yachts. Its sleek and streamlined appearance adds to its aesthetic appeal, making it a popular choice among sailors of all levels of experience.

2. Gaff Rig:

The Gaff rig is a classic sail shape that exudes elegance and nostalgia. It features a four-sided mainsail with a gaff and a topsail, distinguishing it from other sail designs. The gaff, a horizontal spar, extends diagonally from the mast, providing additional area for the mainsail. This configuration allows for a taller and more powerful sail, making the Gaff rig particularly suited for downwind sailing. The Gaff rig offers a traditional aesthetic and is often found in vintage and classic sailboats, evoking a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era of maritime exploration. The distinctive shape of the Gaff rig, with its graceful curves and intricate rigging, adds a touch of timeless charm to any sailboat that dons this rig.

3. Lateen Rig:

The Lateen rig is a unique and versatile sail design that has been used for centuries in various parts of the world. It features a triangular sail that is rigged on a long yard, extending diagonally from the mast. This configuration allows for easy adjustment of the sail’s angle to catch the wind efficiently, making the Lateen rig suitable for a wide range of wind conditions. The Lateen rig is known for its ability to provide both power and maneuverability, making it ideal for small to medium-sized sailboats and traditional vessels like dhow boats. Its versatility allows sailors to navigate narrow waterways and make tight turns with ease. The distinctive silhouette of a sailboat with a Lateen rig, with its sleek triangular sail and graceful curves, evokes a sense of adventure and a connection to seafaring traditions from around the world.

Number of Masts

The number of masts in a sail boat design affects its stability, sail area, and overall performance. Let’s explore a few common configurations:

1. Sloop Rig:

The sloop rig is one of the most popular and versatile sail boat designs, favoured by sailors around the world. It consists of a single mast and two sails—a mainsail and a jib. The sloop rig offers simplicity, ease of handling, and excellent performance across various wind conditions. The mainsail, situated behind the mast, provides the primary driving force, while the jib helps to balance the sail plan and improve manoeuvrability. This configuration allows for efficient upwind sailing, as the sails can be trimmed independently to optimize performance. The sloop rig is commonly found in modern recreational sailboats due to its versatility, enabling sailors to enjoy cruising, racing, or day sailing with ease. Its streamlined design and sleek appearance on the water make it both aesthetically pleasing and efficient, capturing the essence of the sailing experience.

2. Cutter Rig:

The cutter rig is a versatile and robust sail boat design that offers excellent performance, especially in challenging weather conditions. It features a single mast and multiple headsails, typically including a larger headsail forward of the mast, known as the cutter rig’s distinguishing feature. This configuration provides a wide range of sail combinations, enabling sailors to adjust the sail plan to suit varying wind strengths and directions. The larger headsail enhances the boat’s downwind performance, while the smaller headsails offer increased flexibility and improved balance. The cutter rig excels in heavy weather, as it allows for easy reefing and depowering by simply reducing or eliminating the headsails. This design is commonly found in offshore cruising sailboats and has a strong reputation for its reliability and seaworthiness. The cutter rig combines versatility, stability, and the ability to handle adverse conditions, making it a preferred choice for sailors seeking both performance and safety on their voyages.

3. Ketch Rig:

The Ketch rig is a sail boat design characterized by the presence of two masts, with the main mast being taller than the mizzen mast. This configuration offers a divided sail plan, providing sailors with increased flexibility, balance, and versatility. The main advantage of the Ketch rig is the ability to distribute the sail area across multiple sails, allowing for easier handling and reduced stress on each individual sail. The mizzen mast, positioned aft of the main mast, helps to improve the sailboat’s balance, especially in strong winds or when sailing downwind. The Ketch rig is often favoured by cruisers and long-distance sailors as it provides a range of sail combinations suitable for various wind conditions. With its distinctive double-mast appearance, the Ketch rig exudes a classic charm and is well-regarded for its stability, comfort, and suitability for extended journeys on the open seas.

The keel is the part of the sail boat that provides stability and prevents drifting sideways due to the force of the wind. Here are some common keel types:

1. Fin Keel:

The fin keel is a popular keel type in sail boat design known for its excellent upwind performance and stability. It is a long, narrow keel that extends vertically from the sailboat’s hull, providing a substantial amount of ballast to counterbalance the force of the wind. The fin keel’s streamlined shape minimizes drag and enables the sailboat to cut through the water with efficiency. This design enhances the sailboat’s ability to sail close to the wind, making it ideal for racing and performance-oriented sailboats. The fin keel also reduces leeway, which refers to the sideways movement of the boat caused by the wind. This improves the sailboat’s ability to maintain a straight course and enhances overall manoeuvrability. Sailboats with fin keels are commonly found in coastal and offshore racing as well as cruising vessels, where stability and responsiveness are valued. The fin keel’s combination of performance, stability, and reduced leeway makes it a preferred choice for sailors seeking speed and agility on the water.

2. Full Keel:

The full keel is a design known for its exceptional stability and seaworthiness. It extends along the entire length of the sailboat, providing a continuous surface that adds substantial weight and ballast. This configuration offers significant advantages in terms of tracking and resistance to drifting sideways. The full keel’s deep draft helps to prevent leeway and allows the sailboat to maintain a steady course even in adverse conditions. Its robust construction enhances the sailboat’s ability to handle heavy seas and provides a comfortable ride for sailors on extended journeys. While full keel sailboats may sacrifice some manoeuvrability, their stability and predictable handling make them a popular choice for offshore cruising and long-distance voyages. The full keel design has stood the test of time and is often associated with classic and traditional sailboat aesthetics, appealing to sailors seeking reliability, comfort, and the ability to tackle challenging ocean passages with confidence.

3. Wing Keel:

The wing keel is a unique keel design that offers a combination of reduced draft and improved stability. It features a bulbous extension or wings on the bottom of the keel, which effectively increases the keel’s surface area. This design allows sailboats to navigate in shallower waters without sacrificing stability and performance. The wings create additional lift and prevent excessive leeway, enhancing the sailboat’s upwind capabilities. The reduced draft of the wing keel enables sailors to explore coastal areas and anchor in shallower anchorages that would be inaccessible to sailboats with deeper keels. The wing keel is particularly well-suited for sailboats in areas with variable water depths or tidal ranges. This keel design offers the advantages of increased manoeuvrability and improved performance while maintaining stability, making it a popular choice for sailors seeking versatility in a range of sailing environments.

In the vast world of sail boat designs, sail shape, number of masts, and keel types play pivotal roles in determining a boat’s performance and handling characteristics. Whether you’re a recreational sailor, a racer, or a cruiser, understanding these design elements can help you make informed choices when selecting a sailboat.

Remember to consider your specific needs, preferences, and intended use of the boat when choosing a sail boat design. Each design has its strengths and weaknesses, and finding the perfect combination will greatly enhance your sailing experience.

By gaining a deeper understanding of sail boat designs, you can embark on your next sailing adventure with confidence and make the most of the wind’s power.

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What’s Behind Different Keel Configurations by Jim Schmicher

In recent years, the superyacht market has become more focused on greater performance by optimizing all aspects of a yacht’s design, engineering and construction. 

The choice of the keel configuration is surely one of them. 

It’s not surprising that the first three units of the brand new SW105 miniseries will each have unique keel designs to satisfy the requirements of three different owners.

To his end, we’ve asked Jim Schmicker, Vice President of Farr Yacht Design, one of the world’s foremost designer of racing and cruising sailboats, to explain how the choice of the keel design has specific benefits that make it the best choice for a particular owner’s needs.

Jim Schmicker Is Vice President and shareholder of Farr Yacht Design. The company is recognized as one of the world’s foremost racing yacht design studio, based on one of the most impressive winning results records ever compiled by a single company. For more than 30 years, FYD has been developing fast, custom and production cruising yachts. Southern Wind has collaborated with this reputable studio since 1992.

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When approaching the cholce of a keel, an owner should be aware that each of the options has advantages and disadvantages but all of them are designed to deliver excellent performance and achieve stringent stability targets while maintaining a similar displacement.

The simplest keel option for construction and installed systems is the fixed keel. The choice of draft for a fixed keel Is decided by balancing upwind performance against reasonable access to ports and anchorages. Reaching and downwind performance is the strongest feature of the fixed keel so long as sufficient stability is achieved. The keel is fabricated out of mild steel plates that are formed and rolled into the correct shape. Considering cost, portions of the keel, such as the leading and trailing edges of the fin, can be CNC machined and the rest hand-faired or the entire keel can be machined. This construction method results in a simple and light structure. Given the shallower draft compared to lifting or telescopic keels a heavier bulb Is necessary to achieve the target righting moment. However, the light fin construction helps to mitigate some of the relatively greater bulb weight. Attachment to the hull is entirely below the cabin sole which facilitates a variety of choices of interior layout with no constraints on either the accommodation or machinery spaces.

Fixed Keel showing Bolt Pattern and Internal Construction

yacht keel design


The lifting keel is a popular choice for superyachts of this size. The ability to raise and lower the keel allows access to ports and anchorages with limited water depth while the deep maximum draft achieves excellent upwind performance. The keel construction is complicated with hydraulic cylinders housed internally to the keel, PLC systems, locking pins to hold the keel In the raised position and adjustable bearing pads to ensure tight tolerances and no movement of the keel In Its trunk while underway. The high number of moving parts and complex hydraulic control systems have associated installation and maintenance costs. The keel trunk takes up significant space In the accommodation but with clever integration with other aspects of the interior its impact can be diminished. The keel is typically constructed out of high strength carbon steel plates welded together and CNC machined to an extremely high level of accuracy. As such, advanced foil sections can be used which results in higher lift to drag ratios being achieved. The lower portion of the keel fin, below the hull in the raised position, is tapered to improve lift efficiency, optimising the amount of surface ares and reducing drag.

Lifting Keel with Tapered Lower Portion Showing Hydraulic Cylinders, Trunk and Bearing Pads

yacht keel design


The telescopic keel combines some of the benefits of the fixed keel and lifting keel. It achieves a similar amount of draft adjustment as the lifting keel with only minor intrusion into the interior. The upper, fixed part of this design is installed partly inside the hull but mostly outside and below the hull surface. The lower, moving part retracts into the upper part and incorporates a foil-shaped shell that slides over the outside of the upper part. Similar to the lifting keel, the telescopic keel is a complex installation with a high number of moving parts and hydraulic systems with associated costs. The fin is typically constructed out of high strength stainless steal plates welded together and CNC machined to an extremely high level of accuracy. The un-tapered planform shape required to house the hydraulic cylinders and structure supporting the lower part results in higher surface area, The fin components have a relatively higher weight and center of gravity.

Telescopic Keel with Un-tapered Lower Portion Showing Hydraulic Cylinders, Internal Structure and Shell

yacht keel design


Each of the keel designs has specific benefits that may make it the best choice for a particular owner’s needs. In terms of draft, both the lifting and telescopic keels achieve shallow draft (3.15m to 3.65m) without compromising performance as a result of their heavier fins and associated structure. The fixed keel requires an acceptable amount of draft (in this case 4.5 meters) for reasonable upwind performance while still allowing access to the owner’s preferred ports and anchorages. A fixed keel has a much lighter fin and associated structure weight. For the same displacement, it achieves the highest righting moment because the keel has the deepest center of gravity as a percentage of Its draft. A secondary benefit of the fixed keel Is less heeling moment because the sideforce it generates is acting closer to the surface of the water so the fixed keel version operates at a lower angle of heel.

The telescopic keel has the best combination of performance, harbor access and disruption of the interior. Its disadvantages are greater wetted surface, volume outside of the hull and maintenance costs. With specific reference to the Southern Wind SW105 project, because similar displacement was a design requirement, the performance differences between the first three units is not large. However, the deepest maximum draft (5.6m) of the telescopic keel produces the best upwind performance, as a result of its lower induced drag.

The lifting keel (at 5,15m draft) has the next best upwind performance while the fixed keel is strongest in power reaching conditions. For performance versus rating the lifting and fixed keel versions are essentially equivalent over a balanced race course with the advantage going to the lifting keel for more upwind-downwind oriented races and to the fixed keel when the reaching content Is greater. The telescopic keel, with its slightly less efficient keel shape, comes in a very close third place behind the other two options. The initial cost of the fixed keel is the least of the three and ongoing maintenance costs will be less than these of the lifting and telescopic options.


The Southern Wind 105 Is the newest addition to the SWS line of luxurious, performance, blue-water cruising superyachts. The first three yachts constructed will each have unique keel designs to satisfy the requirements of the three owners. The overall parameters of a superyacht of this size, the necessary draft for reasonable upwind performance and the owner’s requirements for keel draft for access to his preferred ports and anchorages have led to fixed, lifting or telescopic keels being viable options.

Design Brief

Desire for an advanced keel design with maximum upwind performance without any significant compromise to the interior layout and saloon space.

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Best performance for both racing and cruising and no requirement for a specific minimum draft. The 4.5m draft is designed to achieve the low leeway angles desirable for racing combined with high sailing stability.

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Best performance combined with a minimum draft requirement of 3.1m Is the strongest driver of the keel design. Intrusion into the interior is apparent but details of the trunk design allow light across the saloon and avoid a complete separation of the two sides of the yacht.

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Keel design – options to consider when choosing a yacht

by Simon Jollands | Boat Maintenance , Yacht ownership

yacht keel design

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 for trailer sailers.

Canting keel design

Canting keels are used on high performance racing yachts. They have a deep fin with a bulb. They can be tilted or “canted” out sideways to counter the heeling forces. These advanced designs are used with daggerboards and foils to further improve performance. Boats with canting keels are pricey.

When making a choice, consideration should be given to the shape of the hull as well as the keel design. The shape of the bow and stern are the most noticeable aspects of hull shape as they are above the waterline.

Modern designs favour vertical bows but in the past raked bows were more common.

On modern yachts, the scooped stern is popular as it allows for a swim platform and easy access on and off the boat from the water. In the past canoe shaped sterns and flat  transoms were popular and while pleasing to the eye, were not quite as practical as today’s designs.

When choosing a yacht, there are many design variations and shapes that will influence your choice. It is worth spending some time exploring the options and weighing up the pros and cons to ensure that the boat you buy will suit the type of sailing you have in mind.

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Radically Different Yacht Keel - "Loop Keel"

Discussion in ' Sailboats ' started by Bad Mac , Mar 9, 2007 .

Bad Mac

Bad Mac Engineer

Apart from developing the Monofoil speedsailing craft, Jon Howes and myself have been working on a radical new 'loop keel' for sailing yachts. There are full details of the design and how it works on our website ( ) and we would welcome any questions or comments from other members. As a little 'teaser', the keel allows you to vary the inertia and hence the mass of the yacht, by interacting with the water flowing past the keel. In this way you can increase the mass of your yacht by as much as one third, at the flick of a switch. The 'Loop Keel' is designed not just to create a faster yacht, but also one that is much safer and more seaworthy. We have spent three years developing the loop keel from the initial concept. The process has involved building seven different prototypes and conducting two sets of tank tests at the Wolfson Unit in Southampton. Our tests have proved that it will outperform a fin keel of the same area and mass, making it a compelling case to be fitted as the standard keel. Most members know that there have been many claims of new designs that will be the next 'best thing' and we fully expect that it will take a huge amount of time and effort to convince the sailing community at large that this keel is better than the traditional fin. To quote John Kenneth Galbraith "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof." James Macnaghten  

Attached Files:

Kell reflection small.jpg.


Panos_na Junior Member

Very impressive!!!! Good job!!!  

Doug Lord

Doug Lord Guest

Loop Keel Excellent thinking! Looks to me like the keel would develop enough lift(at higher speeds) to reduce displacement and therefore wetted surface? Did you find any need for additional pitch stabiity at faster speeds?  

Matt Lingley

Matt Lingley Junior Member

Given the structural problems that convetional fin keels have even now (The amout of mid performance yachts I've come across recently needing work on the keel and surrounding structure is shocking, its amazing more dont fall off) How are you going to make that work? Areas of that look like they will be pretty highly stresssed...  
Doug, The keel is not designed to provide lift, but to vary the added mass of the vessel. If you use it in it's normal configuration (forces outwards and higher dynamic pressure within the loop) then the forces all work in the right direction to resist leeway and hold the boat down - generating more power. If you reverse the direction of the forces and lower the pressure within the loop, then it can make you go faster in light conditions. However, the forces generated are in the wrong direction to resist leeway and, in addition, the loop will try to tip the boat over. The following diagrams show the forces clearly for the normal operation. You can see immediately what will go wrong if you reverse the direction of the forces.  

loop25 .png

Fine25 .png.


charlythewind Junior Member

So according to your sayings, the advantage of extra righting moment provided by the downward bit of the keel hydro force overcomes the added drag of the hull whose added mass has been increased...? Can you tell us % of overall speed increase using this new concept? What about when the yacht reaches planning speeds? The downward force becomes an inconvenient, isn't it? Finally, the prototype shown on your second rendering (1st post) looks a bit challenging from a structural point of view. What have you build the real prototypes out of? Cheers, Charles  

Jon Howes

Jon Howes Insomniac- sleep? Wassat?

Loop keel structure Matt, The loop keel has a significant structural advantage over fin keels in that it is a triangulated structure in the lateral load sense. The hull sides above the keel attachments form a natural load path for the shroud loads and these are transmittted, almost directly, into the keel ballast. A normal fin keel on the other hand transmits these loads to the hull and then requires a significant ring frame, bulkhead or similar to take these loads into the root of the fin root which then carries the reacting loads from the keel in the most disadvantageous direction (ie, bending carried by the section's lowest second moment of area). The loop keel is therefore much stronger and stiffer laterally than an equivalent fin keel. Longitudinally, the highest section modulus becomes available to carry any longitudinal loads. These are trivial in normal use of course, but anything but trivial in the case of a grounding or collision. In this respect it is no worse than a fin keel however and the hydrodynamic need to have a leading edge root extension at the hull attachment point can actually make the attachment longitudinally superior to that of a fin. Doug, Thanks for your comment but you have slightly missed the point here. The flow around this device must be considered as a closed ring vortex added to the the normal waterstream passing the yacht. Pressures induced on the hull by the keel flow system provide the continuation of the ring beytween the two attachment points. When not resisting leeway and with the boat upright this is therefore a lossless vortex ring with no vorticity shed into the wake (unlike twin keels). If resisting leeway, this flow system is still present and unchanged, however, there is a thrid flow system present associated with the generation of the leeway resisting force. This does produce a vortex wak just like a fin but much weaker than that of a fin due to the highly non-planar configuration, ie, lower vortex drag. The closed loop vortex is generating an outward force all around the ring, ie, this force is trying to force water inside the loop. If the boat heels then as the weather side of the keel is exposed above the water surface this forcing of the flow tends to raise the water level within the loop, ie, above the surrounding sea level. This effect is proportional to the square of the speed. The raised sea level within the exposed loop may be regarded as a sort of travelling water ballast. Note that the keel actually affects the water ahead of, and behind the keel and so simply calculating the mass of water actually bounded by the exposed loop will give a gross under-estimate of the dynamic righting moment. What is actually going on is a little more complex.... (you knew I was going to say that!...). The flow disturbance around any body has some momentum associated with it. This momentum is directly proportional to speed exactly as for a simple, dead mass. If the momentum contained within the flow distubance is divided by the speed of travel the result is a virtual mass which acts exactly as if it is a part of the mass of the body. This is the key to what the keel is doing. The circulation system (closed vortex system) generates an added, virtual mass, this mass is proprtional to the vessel's speed and appears as an increase in the apparent displacement of the vessel. (there is a lot going on here and it would take a small book to get it all down... See our website for more). If this is starting to sound weird, consider this: the circulation system around the loop slows the flow through the centre of the loop and accelerates it around the outside. As there is a slower flow now passing directly beneath the hull the free stream flow has to move further from the centreline of the boat to get past, exactly as if the boat had a bigger underbody than it actually possesses. Think of it as a sort of hydrodynamic magnifying glass applied to the bottom of the boat to make it act like a larger vessel. This added mass may be varied by changing the strength of the closed loop circulation: here are three ways of doing it; 1. Place flaps on the limbs of the keel, deflecting a flap towards the centre of the loop will increase circulation and the added mass. 2. Apply it to a yacht that tends to drop the bow on heeling (like many modern yachts in fact). This will increase the angle of attack of the leward limb, the weather limb is partly exposed and there will be some daylight within the loop, the effect is that the heap of sea gets higher as the closed circulation has increased along with the added mass. 3. Place a moveable bump uder the hull. If the rising part of the bump is within the loop it will induce an increased incidence on the rest of the loop, up goes the added mass. These effects can be reversed, ie, the same methods can be used in reverse to reduce the added mass. This allows a light displacemnt craft to behave as a heavy displacement one and vice versa at the will of the crew. Taken to the extreme this would then become the hydrofoil to which you were alluding in your post. As we know, heavy displacement boats can really pack on the canvas so this is very interesting when applied to lightweight boats in evil conditions. More usefully, it allows a normal cruising boat to become a whole lot more comfortable, shallower draft, often faster and can completely negate any tendency to broach ( due to the sweep applied to the loop keel, heeling takes a forward part of the weather side of the keel out of the water, this moves the lateral centre of pressure aft and can cancel the effect of moving the centre of thrust of the rig outboard). You will gather that this has been a very involved mental and physical excercise. We are pleased with the outcome and have also bent, broken and damaged a lot of Laser 1 parts (which we used for sailing trials) by only going out if the wind was howling. We have one stalking horse in the form of a Laser with a fin and bulb added and one with a swept, flapped loop keel. The fin keel is particularly frightening downwind in a blow with lots of death roll and broaching. The loop keel you simply point and go, all the while wondering why that idiot in the other boat is making such a meal of it! Jon.  
Charlythe wind: Thank you for for questions, the answers are fundamental to what is going on here: "So according to your sayings, the advantage of extra righting moment provided by the downward bit of the keel hydro force overcomes the added drag of the hull whose added mass has been increased...?" Yes, but obviously there will be parts of the sailing envelope where this is not so apparent. From our tank tests we evaluated the ratio of power (increase in righting moment) to increase in drag from generating that righting moment. This becomes favourable at about 15 degrees of heel allowing the boat to be pushed harder than an equivalnet fin keeled boat. Downwind this is surprisingly effective, surprising since downwind is often considered to be upright sailing. What it allows is the ability to really pile on the canvas if you feel so inclined and the tendency for the rig to take charge is significantly diminished since every time it tries boat heel is involved and then the keel can do its stuff and calm things down. "Can you tell us % of overall speed increase using this new concept?" This is obviously not a single answer! Upwind, the keel can take the leeway off the hull as the keel generates its lateral force without needing to crab the hull so lower hull drag is achievable. The higher effective aspect ratio can also result in lower vortex drag in this condition and a well designed loop keel should be worth about 10% or so in VMG. Downwind, the keel can be designed to allow the boat to plane and so this comes down to nerve just like any other boat. Due to the calming influence of the keel we have found that nerve lasts a lot longer with the loop keel test boat than the fin-keel stalking horse. "What about when the yacht reaches planning speeds? The downward force becomes an inconvenient, isn't it?" You need to consider the closed loop nature of the forces on the keel. This is actually an outward force all around the loop, completed by induced forces on the hull bottom. When the boat is upright these forces are in balance (ie, a no nett external forces either up or down). If designed with the form of the hull afterbody in mind this device does not therefore inhibit planing. "Finally, the prototype shown on your second rendering (1st post) looks a bit challenging from a structural point of view. What have you build the real prototypes out of?" See my post above regarding structure. The actual sailing prototypes were initially formed of skinned MDF (horrible stuff) around a welded steel core or 25mm x 50mm with a welded steel lump at the bottom for ballast. The final swept test keel was made from solid carbon fibre over a former which was then removed. Full scale the easiest way for cheap production would undoubtedly be to cast the unit in steel as one piece or form it from a specially rolled section. For one offs, the composite approach is probably best although one-off large steel castings are surprisingly affordable. Jon.  
One specifically for Doug! Doug, One possible configuration of loop keel is to make it as a true circle when viewed from the front, or at least the top part including the bit through the hull, as a true arc. The keel can then pass through the hull in an arched trunking allowing the whole unit to be rolled relative to the hull. This can obviously then be used to move the ballast to weather without damaging the hydrodynamic properties of the keel. This is obviously going to be far stronger than any current canting keel. If the keel rolling sustem breaks then the result will not be an uncontrolled hammering as occurs with current designs as the keel will still be fully constrained in its trunking and a simple locking emergency brake could clamp it in position without danger to the crew, allowing much more opportunity for repair. Effectively, a canting loop keel. Jon.  

Chris Ostlind

Chris Ostlind Previous Member

Interesting Work Jon, If you might, could you speak to the process of inspiration in studying the work of Lanchester with James and extending the thinking in the direction you guys have to this point? Chris  


Vega Senior Member

Bad Mac said: ↑ Apart from developing the Monofoil speedsailing craft, Jon Howes and myself have been working on a radical new 'loop keel' for sailing yachts. .. As a little 'teaser', the keel allows you to vary the inertia and hence the mass of the yacht, by interacting with the water flowing past the keel. In this way you can increase the mass of your yacht by as much as one third, at the flick of a switch. Click to expand...


Chris, Lanchester was responsible for the circulation theory of lift. Apparent mass was something that was appreciated by others in the 19th century. As far as I can tell, Lanchester never involved himself in the added mass due to circulation systems although he was quick to realise that a vortex could not end in thin air and either needed to be infinite, closed loop, or bounded by a surface. The infinite case is the trailing vortex that any leeway resisting keel creates and has drag, the bounded or closed loop systems are effectively lossless. The article in Yachting World (April 2007) is pretty accurate in most areas but ascribed ring wing/boxwing/bibplane theory to Lanchester. Lanchester developed circulation and vortex lift theories, Max Munk and Prandtl were responsible for the various incarnations of biplane and boxwing theory. Fred Lanchester's work was widely panned in academic circles when he developed it in the 1890's, the last laugh is squarely with him however as his theories are not only correct, they are the basis of the computational methods now used universally throughout the aircraft industry for aerodynamic design. Jon.  
Vega, "It seems that you are talking of a keel system with movable parts, but the drawings don’t show them." Not necessarily, my earlier post (Option 2 in your post above) points out that you can get the same variable displacement effect as a function of heel angle by matching hull-form to keel design, ie, if the head drops with heel the lower keel limb will experience increased incidence and therefore circulation and induce this on the other limb. Our final Laser test boat does have flaps on the trailing edge and these are visible in the pictures. "So, I guess that the button(s) are for doing this, but you have not posted the drawings with the movable parts. I would like to see them." How this is implemented on someone elses boat is a mechanical design issue for the designer of that boat. On our final Laser prototype we did this with cables in conduits from the flaps to levers in the cockpit. There will be other methods. "If half of what you predict "works" accordingly, this keel would be a major breakthrough in sailing technology. I hope you are right" Thanks, we are pleased with the results and have actual sailing prototypes to prove it! Jon.  
Hi Jon, Thanks for the response. I'm very interested in the creative process that evolved for the two of you as you hatched this idea as it applies to boating. Could you speak to that part of the energy? Was it collaborative in nature? Do one of you have more invested in the process than the other, or did it fly out of a mutual discovery process, bouncing ideas back and forth? Chris  
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Chris, It was a bit of both. The original idea was mine, from before I met my business partner, James Macnaghten. After Tony Bullimore went for an extended swim in 1996/1997 there was much talk of flutter and dynamic problems associated with high aspect ratio fins. As I had been invovled in non-planar wing design in the past and written various optimisation programs for this purpose I started to contemplate closed loop keel systems (very like a Prandtl box wing). The problem with any closed loop foil is that it is quite a difficult task to get it to work well over a range of incidence values but this can be addressed by a good optimisation code and is not therefore insurmountable. My thinking was that a closed loop keel config could be structurally vastly superior and could at least offer the same performance as a fin and should really be superior if properly designed and matched to the hull. Stalling of high aspect ratio surfaces also occurs at lower angles than for low aspect or non-planar surfaces and so the primary motivations were strength, integration with rig loads, stall resistance and potentially better performance through effective aspect ratio enhancement. When sketching a suitable basic config in front view I noticed that the centres of the keel limbs were such that when the boat was heeled, if a constant outward force system was superimposed on the basic leeway resisting force sytem, then this constant outward force also delivered a righting moment about the centre of bouyancy of the vessel... This is when I began to get excited. It went into one of my notebooks for a year or two until I mentioned it to James and collectively we thought it worth a go. (those blasted notebooks.... I think James is beginning to wish that I would keep them under lock and key!) We obtained acouple of old Laser hulls and fitted one with a very crude loop keel with a ballast bulb (Clark Y section... more on this very shortly!) and a fin and bulb on the other with similar area. When we sailed them two things were apparent, the loop keel boat was incredibly stiff and so the dynamic righting moment was very evident also, the fin keel boat whistled straight past the loop keeled boat so this was only a partial success! A secondary observation was that inspite of the poor speed of the loop keel boat it did point higher and was able to keep sailing when pressed hard whereas the fin keel boat rapidly descended into a broaching display. Downwind things were even more dramatic with the loop keel being remarkably easy to sail even in a force 7 while the fin keel by then spent most of its time only marginally under control. Back to the Clark Y section: The poor performance bothered me a lot. One thing that was clear was that the bluff leading edge of the Clark Y section was a fantastic spray producer making a nice vertical fountain when the boat was powered up. The second surprise was that the wave system of the loop keel boat looked a little extreme for the speed... First prototypes and all that! However, given that any experiment that delivers exactly the expected result is, by definition, a dumb experiment, there was enough there to make further mental effort worthwhile. The Clark Y section, at zero geometric incidence produces a CL of around 0.5. I had incresed this further by adding about 3 degrees of incidence bringing the CL to about 0.8. When considering the momentum contained in this circulation system it was clear that I had perhaps got close to a 50% increase in apparent displacement. The foils themselves also produced a major wave system and so this needed work. As the duct formed by the loop was effectively a convergent passage the water was having to change momentum from entry to exit. Although in an infinite continuum this would not matter, close to a water surface this could ony result in a surface wave system that we did not want. The answer was therefore to force equal loop exit and entry areas which meant that the lift on the foils, in the closed loop sense, had to come only from camber and chord and not from additional incidence. The only way of forcing the inlet and exit areas to be equal was to use a sharp leading edge, ie, to force the stagnation point at the LE to sit in more or less the same point at all times. I designed a family of sections with tiny leading edge radii and an elliptical chordwise load distribution to reduce the tendency to produce infinite coefficients of pressure at the leading edge. As the root of each limb is the first part to leave the water I also introduced a leading edge root extension in this region as a swept leading edge tends to generate a local vortex in lieu of complete flow separation, this assisted with the difficult air-water interface region where ventilation can triger early stalling. The sharp leading edge is also essential for a surface piercing foil as it does not create spray drag in the same way as a bluff shape. With James encouragement we decided that some test tank measured data, while probably not producing a perfect keel, would at least allow us to firstly see if calculated dynamic righting moments were about right, and secondly, to observe the keel under controlled conditions. We were loaned a test hull to use as a base for which the fin keel performance was known and I set to and designed a loop keel for this with my new sections. As added mass was clearly playing a big part in the behaviour I also made a second loop keel for the model with 3 degrees more incidence. The results were beginning to get interesting: Dynamic righting was now very evident as was the total lack of spray from the new foils. Also, many photographs were taken which clearly showed the higher sea level within the exposed side of the loop when running. We still did not have the area and camber distributions correct as the induced drag was higher than we would have liked and I had not focussed on this at the design stage, but other benefits started to become apparent, for example, although the area of the loop keel was more than that of the fin, when working back through the results the loop appeared to have about twice as much area as it actually possessed, a very weird result indeed! (I am still working on why this may be the case and it seems to be related to the enclosed flow path created by the loop). The keel with increased incidence also had higher drag in proportion to the incidence increase and I initially put this down to the higher apparent displacement, this was not the reason and later trials showed it to be directly related to the convergent flow passage that it created within the loop. We now went for a full understanding of the added mass effects. The Laser keel was ripped apart and replaced by one along the lines of the test tank model with a parallel flow path inside the loop. James had the idea of towing these around the local reservoir with some improvised load measurement devices (towing to one side of a RIB via various gantries etc). We modded another laser with a similar loop keel, this time with the camber reversed to create a closed loop system with the forces in the opposite direction, I was beginning to wonder along the lines of "if we can increase apparent mass can we also reduce it?" (shades of anti-matter here!). The towing at Graffam Water gave some rough indications that the drag of the loop keel was now simialr to that of the fin, further, that the reversed camber loop really did have slightly reduced displacement drag, we were beginning to smell the home straight... Sailing trials also revealed similar drag performance from both loop and fin keels with dynamic righting and lower leeway on the loop. The handling was also transformed with the loop keel boat becoming extremely docile on all points of sailing. One surprise was that if caught in irons the loop keel was very hard to break out, further consideration of where the keel thought it was longitudinally led me to project lines from the keel limb centres of pressure normal to the zero-lift surfaces onto the centreline of the boat (you will need to read that at least three times.... sorry). This point was about 200mm ahead of the actual location of the keel so we moved the keel back by this amount and this solved the problem fully. We went, after a period of agonising, (this is not cheap) for another set of tank trials, this time in the much larger Gosport facility. To nail the apparent mass issue once and for all we ran a series of acceleration tests to identify the variation of mass. For this series of tests we also thought it worth putting all that we had discovered into a final test design. This was the swept version, I was keen on sweep as it increases stall resistance (already high due to the non-planar configuration) and, since this keel relies on lifting a weather limb partially out of the water and out of play, allows the lateral centre of pressure to be varied with heel angle by design, this was intended to allow elimination of broaching. The test results were fascinating. The acceleration trials, after elimination of some towing rig frequencies, showed a clear variation in mass from the lowest (reverse camber) to the next lowest (fin keel) to the flapped, swept keel with flaps deflected outwards and the highest with flaps deflected inwards. The overall variation being of the order of 50kilos in a total mass of around 300 kilos (apparent plus boat mass). The heeled towing trials showed, as expected, a range of dynamic heeling moments, very high effective area of around twice the geometric area, some drag increase associated with dynamic righting and a clear benefit in terms of power to drag ratio above 15 degrees of heel. Sailing the swept version confirmed the test results but also showed hugely improved downwind handling to the point where mast-bending conditions actually felt quite effortless. Cranking the flaps on for upwind courses produced a noticable tendency to grip the water, bite in and go. The dynamic of how this has developed from my original idea was very much think it, test it, talk about it, sleep on it develop it, analyse it. I find after an initial concept the talking around always helps to order ideas, not always the case... Monofoil was more or less a worked up concept prior to outside involvment but this is a very tough call indeed (and very lonely at times being so far from the beaten path, in spite of comments in various places Monofoil actually has very little in common with the Bernard Smith concept other than a canted wing... which Percy Pilcher used in the 1890s). Like many end products, the loop keel has become an amalgam of the efforts of several people, in addition to my own work, mostly James but others as well to varying degrees. Jon  


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Men cling to overturned yacht for two hours

A marine incident ended in tragedy after a sailor’s body was located on Sunday, while a father and son clung to the side of the overturned yacht.

Shireen Khalil

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Surprise reason Virgin engine caught fire

The search for a missing sailor in Queensland has ended in tragedy after a man’s body was found by water police on Sunday.

The 65-year-old Yeppoon man was travelling from the coastal town to Brisbane, with two others - a father, aged in his 60s, and his son, aged in his 20s - when the yacht overturned near Lady Elliot Island.

Father and son winched from an overturned yacht off Bundaberg

The father and son managed to climb onto the upside-down vessel and set off an EPIRB, alerting Australian Maritime Safety Authority who deployed the Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chopper shortly before 8.30am.

The duo held on tight for almost two hours until they were rescued.

“Less than two hours later, the crew managed to locate the men and performed two separate winch rescues, hoisting the men individually into the safety of the aircraft,” LifeFlight Rescue said in a statement on Sunday.

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crew winched a father and son from an overturned yacht on Sunday, in a rescue operation off the coast of Bundaberg.

“They were then flown to Bundaberg Hospital for observation.”

The search for the 65-year-old man began early Sunday morning after the yacht overturned about four nautical miles south of Lady Elliot Island.

It’s believed the keel snapped on the boat the men were on, causing it to overturn.

Police and emergency services commenced a search and rescue operation involving multiple vessels, police divers and the rescue helicopter.

However, after hours of searching the 65-year-old man’s body was tragically discovered just after 2pm.

Unfortunately the third person on the yacht – a 65-year-old Yeppoon man, did not survive. His body was found by police after 2pm on Sunday.

“Just after 10.15am, the rescue helicopter located two people in the water,” a Queensland police statement read.

“The 62-year-old Yeppoon man and 27-year-old Yeppoon man remain in stable conditions at Bundaberg Hospital.

“Just after 2pm, water police recovered the body of a 65-year-old Yeppoon man.”

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yacht keel design

LifeFlight said it’s believed the keel snapped on the boat the men were on, causing it to overturn

According to publication Sea Born , the keel is often a structural beam that runs in the middle of the boat from bow to stern.

The purpose of the keel is to help give the boat greater stability and control while moving forward.

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Virgin has revealed the “possible cause” a flight to Melbourne was forced into an emergency landing after flames were seen coming out of one of its engines.

13 Popular Full Keel Sailboats Worth Considering

Full keel sailboats are very stable and durable - they are great for cruising long distances. But there are disadvantages too. Let's look at what models to consider, and why.

yacht keel design

Here are 13 good full keel sailboats that are worth considering:

Nicholson 32

Island packet 380, folkboat 25, cape dory 36, vancouver 32, tradewind 33, endurance 50, westsail 32, hans christian 52.

First of all let's have a look at why you should even be preferring full keel sailboats to a more traditional, widespread classical fin keel design.

Full Keel Advantages

As with everything, there are plenty of pros and cons on each side. Full keels generally provide better handling if the weather gets tricky, they track better, provide more stability downwind, and generally stabilize the boat movements better.

Furthermore, they are way more robust, thus less prone to damage. Running ashore isn't as big of a deal as it is with a fin keel and your rudder and propeller will be more protected with the mass of the keel in front of them.

Full Keel Disadvantages

With more mass and drag comes less speed. Plus the large surface area underwater holding the direction will result in a wider turning radius, which might be annoying in smaller spaces.

yacht keel design

Fin Keel vs Full Keel: Pros and Cons & When to Choose Which

Fin keel advantages.

The largest advantage of fin keels is their speed. They also provide better maneuvering and a better turning radius.

Fin Keel Disadvantages

It is inevitably more prone to damage though, wear and tear will be a way bigger issue than a full keel. They won't have your back when a gust comes since the water-resistance to the side will be smaller.

It seems then that for serious longer passages, liveaboards, and long-term sailing, full keels are better. As long as you don't care for speed as much, but are concerned about the boat having your back, this is the answer. So let's now look at the superstars of the full keel universe.

The very prototype of a long-distance tough cruiser. It has been with us since 1963 and happens to be among the first fiberglass boat models produced on a mass scale. Nicholson 32 went out of production in 1981 and it was a model approved for the 2018 Golden Globe Race, proving that even older Nicholsons are still standing strong due to their toughness and ease of repair.

They were supposedly as durable as if made out of steel. Though I'll leave up to you whether you want to see that as a marketing claim or reality, such a statement can not be made without some base.

Plus the newer models have a lot of interior space, are manageable for solo sailing, and provide a sturdy ride to take one around the world.

The story here is similar to the above Nicholson - meaning that we are looking at one long-lasting high-quality cruiser. Not just because of this specific model's build - Island Packet in general was always known for this. And it is among the very few companies that, in the modern era, keep making full keel boats.

In other words, you don't see many shipyards focusing on full keels these days, so if you want one and you would rather go with a new boat, Island Packet will be one of the stops you will very probably make when doing your research.

If you are looking for reliable cruisers, you will like this one, since cruising is what it was built for, even if it meant sacrificing some performance aspects. It has a wide beam, a lot of interior space, all of the amenities a comfy cruiser should have, such as a big refrigerator with a freezer, as well as a fully equipped kitchen. The long keel here serves as a comfort helper, since, as mentioned before, it adds to the stability and reduces motion.

Not to sound repetitive, but the word 'reliability' has to be mentioned again. It seems that boat builders who choose the full keel design have something in common.

But since this particular boat was born during the Second World War and has been going strong to this very day, what other words to describe it? It has the Nordic blood in its veins since it was thought into existence by the Scandinavian Yacht Racing Union and since it prefers just about everything over comfort.

The boat is very stable, not just because of its full keel, but also because of its insane 55% ballast ratio. For those who haven't come across this before, the ballast ratio is the ratio of the ballast weight relative to the boat weight. So for instance the nearly 9 tonne Bavaria 40 with its almost 3 tonne ballast has a ballast ratio around 30 percent.

Thus you can imagine that a boat that 'wastes' more than half of its weight on ballast is serious about rigidity. These are performance racer numbers. But of course, if you are designing a boat that has to withstand the Scandinavian storms, you don't have a choice than to go overboard with specs. So if this toughness is what you seek, look no further.

...although as far as I know, all Cape Dory boats have full keels, regardless of their length. Their 36-foot model is just their most popular one. Cape Dories are known for their sturdiness, ability to cross the oceans because of their stability, and relative ease of handling.

They were engineered by Carl Alberg, who was inspired by the Scandinavian Folkboat, where reliability is worth more than comfort, or the interior space. This boat rocks a heavy rig for hardcore traveling, but its 1.5-meter draft makes it ideal for coastal cruising as well.

What's quite interesting about this particular model is that during its lifespan it went through very few changes. Boats usually evolve, sailors' feedback is taken into consideration for upgrades, but Cape Dory 36 remained relatively unchanged inside or out. This is a big compliment, since the brand started out in 1963, stopped production in 1991, and sold its blueprints so that they could be built further. Talk about longevity.

Let's progress in technology! Just because a long keel is an old-fashioned or more traditional approach, it doesn't mean it remains monolithic in its ideology. There were innovations in the concept, such as cutaways in the keel, to reduce the biggest drawback of this design, the drag.

So it only makes sense that Vancouver, a company that had distinctiveness and innovation in its mission and vision, would take part in this. Their 32-foot model that begun its lifespan in the early eighties, had a deeply cutaway forefoot, plus a rudder that was wider the deeper it was underwater, meaning its widest point was at its lowest point. This was to increase efficiency, and rudder response.

Technicalities aside, this boat was very well made, no corners cut, no expenses spared. This resulted in quite pricey vessels, out of reach of many, but much time has passed since, so today it can be yours for around 40 000 USD and up. And since the build quality was so high back then, you can still enjoy a proper boat, usually at a higher quality than boats equal its age.

The great thing about Australian sailboat makers is that they design their boats for long passages. How else would they get off of the continent? Freya 39 is a good example of this since it has not only circled the globe many times but also won the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race three times consecutively. And that's a famously hard race.

The boat is built like a tank, with thicker fiberglass walls than you would find in its rivals. Despite that, its owners claim to have crossed over two hundred miles per day on it, a figure that is well known when it comes to this model. Which sounds plausible with its 7.8 kts of hull speed.

Its construction makes her one stable boat since it has been noted that during races, it was able to carry a spinnaker longer than its competitors, well into the 30 knots of wind speed.

The only drawback here is that if you fancy it, since it is so highly valued, and in demand, it will be tricky to find one to buy. And once you do, prepare to pay around 60 000 - 90 000 USD for it.

This one comes with a story attached to it. Once upon a time, a naval engineer Nick attempted to sail around the world. Halfway through, his boat gave up, which meant a lot of trouble for Nick, but he exited this disaster with a pretty precise idea for what his next project would be. He set on to design a boat that would be so sturdy that his sailing misfortune would never repeat.

Out of this incident paired with a smart brain, Wylo 2 was born. To make sure his design stands, after putting this boat on the water, he proceeded to live on it, while circling the globe a few times.

Others, seeing this success, bought his designs and they became quite widespread. As you might have guessed, this boat has a lot of space for living, for storing equipment and provisions, so it is comfy to live on, not only for your body but because of its sturdiness, for your mind too. These designs have accomplished some astonishing feats in all corners of the world, so if you put your trust in this design, you won't be making a mistake.

If I said this boat is sturdy and ready for just about any destination, I'd really be repeating myself now. So while that's true, let's talk about what's special about Tradewinds 33.

It has a rather small cockpit, so on-deck dinners while watching the sunset with the whole crew might be a bit improvised, but the space saved is used for an impressively spacious interior as well as a nearly flat deck. So moving about is a pleasure.

For liveaboards, this is a good idea, since storage space will be plentiful. Plus it's an elegant looking boat, with a forestaysail as a default setup. So rock on.

Time for a larger boat. So that if you want something that won't lack anything you might wish for, including space, I have something for you too. All Endurances are full keels, so if you fancy a smaller model, there is a way.

Even though it is relatively new, (you will find models from around 1995) it will make you feel like a medieval pirate, with its old-school helm, wooden interior, and a spacious aft cabin that has large windows facing back!

It is a proper bluewater cruiser, built in South Africa based on a famous Peter Ibold's Endurance blueprint. It sleeps a whole family, so if a circumnavigation with a few friends is what you seek, this is one for you.

If you are up for some single-handed sailing, pause here for a bit. Small sailboats are usually nimble, on the top of it, this one is also quite sturdy and stable, as full keels are.

You won't find much space below the deck, so don't expect to have a party of more than around two people, but at least it's a good looking interior, with charming round windows and many of the usual amenities.

They say that Mason sailboats are premium quality for a non-premium price. I wonder whether them being built in Taiwan has something to do with it.

Here is a quote by an owner of a 1986 model that says it all: "I am absolutely captivated by the boat and am not objective at all in my feelings toward her. The general construction is of the highest standard. Like an Irish hunter, she is a workhorse and a lady-maybe not quite as fast around six furlongs as a racehorse, but for the long pull, through timber, brush, and over walls, she is really something."

Now although this owner admits subjectivity, this boat indeed was built with quality in mind. Sturdiness too - not only is its fiberglass hull properly solid, but it also features longitudinal stringers to add further rigidity.

There is a lot of brightwork, which might sound nice at first glance, but since it requires quite a lot of maintenance, some owners even said they could do with less wood if it meant less upkeep.

All in all though, when it comes to getting a lot of boat for not a lot of money, this is it.

Does it make sense to even praise how heavy and sturdy this boat is built? Probably not at this point. Just know it ticks all the boxes. It is made of 12 layered fiberglass for Pete's sake.

The design was based on ideas of the Norwegian engineer Colin Archer, who made his boats such that they could withstand the northern seas. Pair that with the fact that the interior here is surprisingly spacious with 6 ft 2 in of headroom and you've got yourself one comfortable circumnavigator.

The issue stemming from the heavy build and a full keel, which is a slower pace, applies here more than usual though. This boat is absolutely reliable, but don't expect winning speed races.

Sadly, Westsail 32 was in production only for some 9 years. Sales were booming, they made over 800 boats, but bad business practices and cash flow issues resulted in its demise.

Not the author, the boat. If beauty and elegance are what you are after, this one will catch your eye. Just as was the case with Mason, these boats were produced in Taiwan. But since the goal of the engineers was to create the 'ultimate cruising sailboat' and they spared no expense, expect to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for these boats, even though decades old.

The gorgeous classical design paired with the high build quality makes these exclusive pieces of work, plus quite a modern one since they ceased production in the 90s. So if you don't mind the higher price mark and are looking for something relatively new, that will, thanks to the build quality, last you for many years to come, this might be your choice.

Full keel sailboats are sturdy. Not only is that because of the full keel which itself provides a lot of structural integrity. But also because the choice of putting the full keel in means you are building something that prefers ruggedness and reliability over anything else. So it is logical that the rest of the boat will be built in the same fashion.

So if you don't mind sacrificing the few knots of extra speed, if you don't mind the smaller pool to choose from, if you want a boat that will have your back in pretty much any situation and place you will choose to go to, if you want to sail the Scandinavian design, go for it.

Arthur Rushlow

What a great page. Both my wife and I sailed Faulk Boats out of Canada prior to our moving to Florida. Once we arrived in Florida we had a Soveral 26 built we raced for three years prior to my returning to College and now 5 degrees later I am an Anglican Bishop with no boat.

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11 Most Exclusive Yacht Clubs in America

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Private Club Marketing's editorial and research is conducted in conjunction with its advisory and development team.

  • August 1, 2023

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In the quest to discover the epitome of maritime luxury and distinction, the search for the Most Exclusive Yacht Clubs in America takes center stage. Owning a yacht is not merely a symbol of opulence; it is the initial stride towards securing a coveted position within the global elite. Yet, within this realm, it is widely acknowledged that membership in a prestigious yacht club holds equal, if not greater, significance than yacht ownership itself.

Consider the tale of Roman Abramovich, renowned for possessing one of the world's most opulent private jets and the most lavish yacht. Astonishingly, even these credentials failed to secure him entry into the inner sanctum of the British elite, who maintain their exclusivity with unwavering resolve. British yacht clubs, with their hallowed traditions, have long been revered as bastions of exclusivity. An example that stands out is the Royal Yacht Squadron, the world's most esteemed yacht club, which only admitted women as members in 2013, exemplifying the enduring barriers to entry even in the face of societal progress. Remarkably, this exclusivity extended even to Her Majesty the Queen, their patron, who, despite her regal association with the club, was not granted membership.

To identify the Most Exclusive Yacht Clubs in America, we embarked on a meticulous journey. Beginning with a thorough examination of the Platinum Clubs of America's esteemed listing of the finest yacht clubs in the United States, we elevated select candidates by acknowledging their triumphs in prestigious yachting events, including the illustrious America's Cup and the Resolute Cup, often hailed as the unofficial club championship of America in yachting. The culmination of our pursuit presents you with the ultimate showcase of yacht club exclusivity on American shores.

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11. Southern Yacht Club

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana Founded: 1849

Southern Yacht Club suffered greatly from the Hurricane Katrina. The club house was severely damaged by the fire that broke during the storm and it had to be demolished. Unfortunately, a large number of priceless yachting artifacts were lost in the process. Still, the club survived and in 2009, the members celebrated 160 years since its founding. The club played an important role in New Orleans’ social life throughout its history and continues to do so. Southern Yacht Club organizes the Race to the Coast, one of the oldest yachting regattas in the Western hemisphere. Its members won 4 golden medals in the Summer Olympics for the United States.

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10. Grosse Pointe Yacht Club

Location: Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan Founded: 1914

Founded by the group of 25 sailing enthusiasts in 1914, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club is located on the shores of Lake St. Clair. Its clubhouse, designed by Guy Lowell, is listed on National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, Lowell didn’t get to see his creation, since he died at sea before the building was finished. The most prominent feature is the 187-ft bell tower, which doubles as the radio far for sailors on Lake St. Clair. In 1997, in a survey among the managers of the yacht clubs across the United States, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club was named Number One Yacht Club in America.

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9. Palm Beach Yacht Club

Location: Palm Beach, Florida Founded: 1890 (re-chartered 1911)

What started as a local association of enthusiasts to promote sailing on Intracoastal Waterway soon developed into one of the best yachting clubs in America. Among other amenities it offers to the members, Pal Palm Beach Yacht Club takes great pride in their restaurant, which won several prestigious international awards, like the Epicurean International Award, limited to just 100 restaurants on the planet.

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8. Chicago Yacht Club

Location: Chicago, Illinois Founded: 1875

The Great Lakes offer some of the best freshwater sailings in the world and Chicago Yacht Club is taking full advantage of that fact. It hosts annual Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, which brings more than 3,000 sailors from the entire country to the shores of Lake Michigan and Chicago Harbor Lighthouse. Although often teased by the other clubs about their lack of saltiness, members of Chicago Yacht Club are very proud of their club and its achievements. Among notable members are Robert Halperin and William Parks, the bronze medalist from the 1960 Olympics.

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7. Annapolis Yacht Club

Location: Annapolis, Maryland Founded: 1886

Annapolis, America’s Sailing Capital, is a home to a several yachting and boating clubs, but the premier spot goes to the Annapolis Yacht Club. Among other races, the club organizes the traditional Annapolis to Newport race, one of the most iconic races in America’s yachting history. Although the effects of a devastating fire that ravaged the clubhouse in 2015 are still visible, club’s 1600-strong membership body has come together to mend the disaster.

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6. Newport Harbor Yacht Club

Location: Newport Beach, California Founded: 1916

Newport Harbor Yacht Club is one of the several premier clubs on the West coast. The club played a vital role in the development of Newport Beach throughout its history. Its clubhouse, built in 1919, is considered as one of the most important local landmarks and is one of the oldest clubhouses on our list. Despite several enlargements and reconstructions, it struggles to offer top notch service to the club’s members and plans for a new one are under development. In 1986, the club sent a crew to try and qualify for the next year’s America Cup, but unfortunately, they lost to the San Diego’s boat, which eventually won the Cup.

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5. Carolina Yacht Club

Location: Charleston, South Carolina Founded: 1883

Located in the beautiful historic setting of Battery in Charleston’s downtown, Carolina Yacht Club looks like Scarlett O’Hara will come in any second accompanied by Captain Butler. The fact that the clubhouse is in the old cotton factor’s office, with Greek columns on the waterfront, only reinforces the impression of the Old South. Members like to boast that their club has the best yachting facilities on the East Coast. While there are quite a few clubs that would disagree, Caroline Yacht Club’s location with the access to Charleston Harbor is certainly among the best in the nation. It is one of the reasons for its high placement on our list of 11 most exclusive yacht clubs in America.

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4. San Diego Yacht Club

Location: San Diego, California Founded: 1886

San Diego Yacht Club is one of the most prominent clubs in America’s yachting history. Its crews and boats won the America Cup two times, making it the only America club besides New York Yacht Club to take home the much-coveted Auld Mug. In their third attempt, they lost to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in 1995. It is also the original home of the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup, a prestigious regatta held annually since 1904. In order to provide its members with an excellent service, San Diego Yacht Club employs over 100 people in its clubhouse. The club runs one of the most successful youth programs in the country, which has a great appeal to members and wannabe members with kids.

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3. The San Francisco Yacht Club

Location: Belvedere, California Founded: 1869

Founded in 1869, San Francisco Yacht Club is the oldest yachting club on the West Coast. The clubhouse was moved several times, until it finally settled in its current location, in Belvedere Cove, in 1926. The move split the membership and one group decided to form a new club, called St. Francis Yacht Club. Despite the controversy surrounding the relocation, it proved to be the right move, as Belvedere Cove is an excellent harbor and it allowed the club to create world-class amenities for its members and their guests. The clubhouse went through an extensive reconstruction in 2007, modernizing existing features and adding some new ones, in order to bring it up with the times.

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2. St. Francis Yacht Club

Location: San Francisco Founded: 1927

Formed by the dissatisfied members of the San Francisco Yacht Club who opposed the move to Belvedere, St. Francis Yacht Club has quickly gained a reputation of a premier yacht club, often ranking higher than their rivals at the San Francisco Yacht Club, much to their chagrin. It is generally considered the most prestigious yacht club on the Western coast. One of the reasons for its popularity is the club’s location near the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of the most notable members include James David Zellerbach, Tom Blackaller, Pamela Healy, and Roy Disney.

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1. New York Yacht Club

Location: New York, New York Founded: 1844

The top spot on our list of 11 most exclusive yacht clubs in America goes to the New York Yacht Club. It has about 3,000 members and the only way to become one of them is to be invited. New York Yacht Club is the essential part of the iconic America Cup, having won it 25 times. It is officially the longest winning streak in the history of sports. The cup itself is named after America, NYYC schooner which won the first cup ever held in 1851. Its rivalry with London’s Royal Yacht Squadron is one of the greatest in the history of the sport and certainly the greatest among yachting clubs of the world. New York Yacht Club is regularly listed among the top 3 best yachting clubs in the world.

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What are Yacht Clubs? The Ultimate Guide for Beginners and Enthusiasts Alike

Yacht clubs are exclusive social membership organizations for boaters and sailors, typically located near lakes or the sea. These clubs offer a wide range of facilities, including marinas, pools, tennis courts, restaurants, and spas, making them a popular destination for both members and visitors.

Some of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the United States include the New York Yacht Club, the Annapolis Yacht Club, and the San Francisco Yacht Club.

Yacht clubs have a rich history and have played an important role in the development of boating and sailing. The Royal Yacht Squadron, founded in 1815, is one of the oldest yacht clubs in the world and has been instrumental in the development of yacht racing. In the United States, the New York Yacht Club, founded in 1844, is one of the most prestigious and influential yacht clubs in the country.

Yacht clubs also play a key role in organizing and hosting regattas, which are competitive sailing events that bring together sailors from around the world.

What are Yacht Clubs

History of Yacht Clubs

Yacht clubs have a rich history that dates back centuries. They have served as a gathering place for sailing enthusiasts and provided a platform for competitive sailing events. In this section, we will explore the history of yacht clubs and some of the oldest yacht clubs in the world.

Oldest Yacht Clubs

The oldest yacht clubs in the world include the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the Royal Thames Yacht Club, and the Royal Yacht Squadron. The Royal Cork Yacht Club, founded in 1720, is recognized as the oldest yacht club in the world. It was established in Cork, Ireland, by a group of sailing enthusiasts who came together to share their passion for sailing. The club has a rich history and has hosted many prestigious sailing events over the years.

Another notable club is the Royal Thames Yacht Club, which was founded in 1775 in London, England. It was initially established as the Cumberland Fleet and later became the Royal Thames Yacht Club in 1830. The club has a long-standing reputation for organizing some of the most competitive sailing events in the world.

The Royal Yacht Squadron, founded in 1815, is the third-oldest yacht club in the world. It is located in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England, and has a rich history of organizing some of the most prestigious sailing events in the world.

Other notable yacht clubs include the New York Yacht Club, founded in 1844, and the Southern Yacht Club, founded in 1849 in Louisiana, USA. These clubs have played a significant role in the development of competitive sailing in the United States and have organized many prestigious sailing events over the years.

Yacht clubs have played a significant role in the development of sailing as a sport and have helped to promote the values of teamwork, sportsmanship, and fair play. They continue to be an important part of the sailing community and provide a platform for sailing enthusiasts to come together and share their passion for the sport.

Top Yacht Clubs in the United States

Yacht clubs are places where yacht owners and enthusiasts gather to socialize, enjoy the sport, and share their passion for sailing. The United States is home to some of the world’s most exclusive yacht clubs, offering a range of amenities and activities for members. Here are some of the top yacht clubs in the United States, categorized by region.

The East Coast is home to some of the oldest and most prestigious yacht clubs in the country. The New York Yacht Club, founded in 1844, is one of the most famous yacht clubs in the world. With a clubhouse located in the heart of Manhattan, the club has a long history of hosting regattas and sailing events. The Annapolis Yacht Club, located in Maryland, is another popular East Coast yacht club, known for its extensive racing program and social events.

The West Coast is home to some of the most beautiful and scenic yacht clubs in the country. The San Francisco Yacht Club, founded in 1869, is located in one of the most picturesque locations in California. The club has a long history of hosting regattas and sailing events, and its members enjoy access to some of the best sailing waters in the world. The California Yacht Club, located in Marina Del Ray, is another popular West Coast yacht club, known for its extensive racing program and social events.

The Gulf Coast is home to some of the most exclusive and luxurious yacht clubs in the country. The Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club, located in Boca Raton, Florida, is known for its luxurious amenities and world-class dining. The Sarasota Yacht Club, located in Sarasota, Florida, is another popular Gulf Coast yacht club, known for its extensive racing program and social events.

Great Lakes

The Great Lakes region is home to some of the most active and vibrant yacht clubs in the country. The Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, located in Michigan, is known for its extensive racing program and social events. The Larchmont Yacht Club, located in New York, is another popular Great Lakes yacht club, known for its beautiful clubhouse and picturesque location.

In conclusion, the United States is home to some of the world’s most exclusive and prestigious yacht clubs. Whether you’re looking for a place to socialize, enjoy the sport, or share your passion for sailing, there’s a yacht club out there for you.

Top Yacht Clubs around the World

When it comes to exclusive yacht clubs, there are a few that stand out above the rest. Here are some of the top yacht clubs around the world , organized by region.

Europe is home to some of the oldest and most prestigious yacht clubs in the world . The Royal Yacht Squadron, founded in 1815, is one of the most exclusive yacht clubs in the world, with members including the British Royal Family. Located in Cowes, Isle of Wight, the club has a long history of hosting some of the most important sailing events in the world.

The Yacht Club de Monaco is another exclusive club in Europe, with a focus on luxury and high-end sailing. Founded in 1953, the club is known for its stunning facilities and impressive events, including the Monaco Yacht Show.

In Asia, the Hong Kong Royal Yacht Club is one of the most exclusive clubs in the region. Founded in 1894, the club has a rich history and is known for its impressive facilities and events. The club is located in Victoria Harbour, one of the most iconic and beautiful locations in Hong Kong.

Australia is home to several exclusive yacht clubs, including the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. Founded in 1862, the club has a long history of hosting major sailing events, including the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The club is located in Kirribilli, New South Wales, and boasts stunning views of Sydney Harbour.

Overall, these yacht clubs offer some of the most exclusive and luxurious experiences in the world of sailing. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or simply looking to enjoy the high life, these clubs are sure to impress.

Yacht Club Membership

Joining a yacht club is a great way to enjoy the luxury of yachting and the camaraderie of like-minded individuals. Yacht clubs offer a variety of membership categories, each with its own set of benefits and requirements.

Yacht club membership comes with a host of benefits, including access to club facilities and events, reciprocity with other yacht clubs, and networking opportunities with other members. Members can also enjoy a range of activities, such as sailing lessons, regattas, and social events.


To become a member of a yacht club, applicants must meet certain requirements. These may include a minimum age, a background check, and a recommendation from an existing member. Some clubs may also require applicants to demonstrate a certain level of sailing proficiency.

Initiation Fees

Yacht club membership comes with an initiation fee, which can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. This fee is typically non-refundable and covers the cost of joining the club. In addition to the initiation fee, members are also responsible for annual dues, which can vary depending on the membership category and the club’s location.

Overall, yacht club membership offers a wealth of benefits and opportunities for those who love yachting and the sea. By joining a yacht club, members can enjoy exclusive access to club facilities and events, as well as the chance to network with other members and participate in a range of activities and regattas.

Yacht Club Facilities and Amenities

Yacht clubs offer a range of facilities and amenities that make them an attractive option for boat owners and enthusiasts. These amenities are designed to enhance the overall experience of members and provide them with a comfortable and enjoyable environment. The following are some of the most common facilities and amenities offered by yacht clubs.

One of the primary facilities offered by yacht clubs is a marina. These marinas provide members with a safe and secure place to dock their boats. They are equipped with a range of amenities such as electricity, water, and fueling stations. Some marinas also offer boat cleaning and maintenance services.

Yacht clubs typically have a clubhouse that serves as the central gathering place for members. These clubhouses are equipped with a range of amenities such as lounges, bars, and restaurants. They also offer meeting rooms, libraries, and other facilities that members can use for social or business purposes.


Most yacht clubs have restaurants that offer a range of dining options for members. These restaurants typically serve fresh, locally sourced seafood and other dishes. They are also equipped with bars that serve a range of cocktails, wines, and beers.

Some yacht clubs offer spa facilities that provide members with a range of wellness services. These spas typically offer massages, facials, and other treatments that help members relax and rejuvenate.

Sports Facilities

Many yacht clubs have sports facilities such as pools, tennis courts, and paddle tennis courts. These facilities provide members with a range of opportunities to stay active and enjoy the outdoors.

In conclusion, yacht clubs offer a range of facilities and amenities that make them an attractive option for boat owners and enthusiasts. These facilities are designed to enhance the overall experience of members and provide them with a comfortable and enjoyable environment.

Yachting Events

Yacht clubs around the world offer a variety of yachting events for their members. From regattas to cruising, there is something for everyone.

Regattas are competitive sailing events that bring together sailors from different yacht clubs. These events can range from local club races to international competitions. Some of the most famous regattas include:

  • America’s Cup: A prestigious international sailing competition that dates back to 1851.
  • Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race: A challenging offshore race that takes place in Australia every year.
  • Cowes Week: A week-long regatta held in Cowes, England that attracts sailors from around the world.

Yacht clubs often organize their own regattas as well. These events provide an opportunity for members to compete against each other and showcase their skills.

Cruising events are more relaxed than regattas and focus on exploring new destinations and enjoying time on the water. Some yacht clubs organize group cruises to different locations, while others encourage members to plan their own trips.

Yacht clubs may also organize rallies, which are cruising events that follow a specific route. These events typically have a social aspect and provide an opportunity for members to connect with other sailors.

Overall, yachting events are a great way for yacht club members to connect with other sailors and experience the joys of being on the water.

Community and Social Aspects

Yacht clubs are not only about sailing and boating. They are also a place where people can come together and socialize. Yacht clubs offer a sense of community and belonging to their members. Members can interact in an informal atmosphere at clubhouse cafés, bars, or restaurants.

Yacht clubs also host various social events throughout the year, such as holiday parties, barbecues, and charity events. These events provide an opportunity for members to meet new people and make new friends. The social aspect of yacht clubs is particularly important for those who are new to the area or new to sailing.

One of the benefits of joining a yacht club is access to a network of like-minded individuals who share a passion for sailing and boating. Members can exchange tips and advice on sailing techniques, boat maintenance, and other related topics. This network can be especially valuable for those who are new to sailing or who are looking to improve their skills.

Yacht clubs also offer a range of activities that cater to different interests and skill levels. For example, some clubs offer sailing lessons for beginners, while others host regattas and races for more experienced sailors. These activities provide an opportunity for members to learn new skills, challenge themselves, and have fun.

In summary, yacht clubs offer a range of community and social benefits to its members. The social membership aspect of yacht clubs can be particularly important for those who are new to the area or new to sailing. Yacht clubs offer a sense of community and belonging, a network of like-minded individuals, and a range of activities that cater to different interests and skill levels.

Yacht Club Governance and Leadership

Yacht clubs are often run by a board of directors, who are responsible for the club’s governance and leadership. The board of directors is typically elected by the club’s membership and is responsible for setting the club’s policies and overseeing its operations.

Effective yacht club governance requires a clear understanding of the club’s objectives and priorities, as well as a commitment to transparency and accountability. The board of directors should establish clear policies and procedures for decision-making, financial management, and member communication.

One important aspect of yacht club governance is ensuring that the club’s leadership reflects the diversity of its membership. This includes not only demographic diversity but also diversity of experience, skills, and perspectives. A diverse leadership team can bring new ideas and approaches to the table, promote inclusivity and equity, and help the club better serve its members and community.

To ensure effective governance, many yacht clubs use benchmarking and best practices to evaluate their operations and identify areas for improvement. This might involve comparing the club’s performance to that of other clubs, conducting member surveys, or seeking input from industry experts.

In addition to strong governance, effective leadership is essential for a successful yacht club. The club’s leaders should be passionate about yachting and committed to promoting the club’s mission and values. They should also be skilled communicators, able to build relationships with members, sponsors, and community partners.

Yacht club leaders should also be proactive in identifying and addressing challenges and opportunities. This might involve developing new programs or events, seeking out new sponsorship or partnership opportunities, or addressing member concerns and feedback. By staying engaged and responsive to the needs of their members and community, yacht club leaders can help ensure the long-term success of their club.

boat pier in a yacht club

Yacht Clubs and the Environment

Yacht clubs have a unique relationship with the environment. They rely on the natural beauty of the water and the surrounding landscape to attract members and visitors, and they have a responsibility to protect those resources for future generations. Here are some ways that yacht clubs are working to be more environmentally conscious:

  • Reducing Waste : Many yacht clubs are implementing recycling programs and reducing the use of single-use plastics. They are also encouraging members to bring their own reusable water bottles and coffee cups to reduce waste.
  • Protecting Water Quality : Yacht clubs are taking steps to protect the water quality in their local areas. This includes implementing pump-out stations for boats to prevent sewage from being discharged into the water, and educating members on the importance of using environmentally-friendly cleaning products.
  • Conserving Energy : Yacht clubs are implementing energy-efficient practices, such as using LED lighting and programmable thermostats. They are also exploring the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines.
  • Promoting Sustainable Boating : Yacht clubs are encouraging members to practice sustainable boating, such as using fuel-efficient engines and avoiding anchoring in sensitive areas. They are also promoting responsible fishing practices, such as catch-and-release.

Overall, yacht clubs are recognizing the importance of being environmentally conscious and are taking steps to protect the natural resources that make their sport possible. By working together, they can make a positive impact on the environment and ensure that future generations can enjoy the beauty of the water and the surrounding landscape.

Yacht Clubs in Popular Culture

Yacht clubs have long been a symbol of wealth, luxury, and exclusivity, and as such, they have been featured in numerous movies, TV shows, and books. Here are some notable examples of yacht clubs in popular culture:

  • The Great Gatsby : F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel features the fictional West Egg Yacht Club, which is where Jay Gatsby’s extravagant parties take place. The club is described as “one of the most fashionable and exclusive of its kind,” and it serves as a backdrop for the story’s themes of wealth, class, and social status.
  • Caddyshack : This 1980 comedy film features the fictional Bushwood Country Club, which is home to a group of wealthy and eccentric golfers. The club’s yacht basin is a prominent location in the movie, and it serves as the site of a memorable scene involving a giant animatronic gopher.
  • The O.C. : This popular TV show from the early 2000s features the Newport Beach Yacht Club, which is where many of the characters socialize and attend events. The club is portrayed as a glamorous and exclusive destination, and it serves as a symbol of the show’s affluent California setting.
  • Succession : This HBO drama series follows the lives of the wealthy and dysfunctional Roy family, who are the owners of a media conglomerate. In season two, the family attends a high-society event at the fictional Tern Haven Yacht Club, which is described as “the most exclusive club in the Northeast.” The club’s members are shown to be ruthless and competitive, much like the show’s main characters.

While these depictions of yacht clubs in popular culture may not be entirely accurate or representative of all yacht clubs, they do reflect the cultural significance and fascination with these exclusive institutions.

About the author

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I worked as an officer in the deck department on various types of vessels, including oil and chemical tankers, LPG carriers, and even reefer and TSHD in the early years. Currently employed as Marine Surveyor carrying cargo, draft, bunker, and warranty survey.

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The Halifax River Yacht Club, incorporated as a private club on May 19, 1896, is believed to be the oldest yacht club on the  eastern seacoast that is still located at its original site. In the Daytona Beach area, it is known to be the one private organization that has been in continuous operation from 1896 to the present — spanning three centuries. 

An author once wrote, eulogizing the Club: “The Queen of the River, she balances on her spindly legs in the brackish water of the Halifax River, as though she had just tip toed from the shore. She is old and shows her age, but has withstood lightning, hurricanes, and floods, all these years. She is the Halifax River Yacht Club, one of Daytona’s earliest landmarks.” She also has been called affectionately, “Heaven on the Halifax.” 

yacht clubs east coast

With the Club’s founding in 1896, five men drafted the Constitution and Bylaws. These documents, though faded, are preserved and seen in the Club’s Historical Cabinet. The Club’s first meeting was held on 8 January 1896, attended by 13 prominent townsmen who were its founding fathers. All were avid sailors with a common sport, racing their gaff-rigged catboats on the Halifax River. Victor Vuillaume was elected the first Commodore with five members to the Board of Trustees. 

Thirty-one members were elected to membership in February and committees were appointed. Treasurer E. G. Harris was instructed to collect a $10 initiation fee and 50 cents dues per month (about $500 and $25 today). Among these early members were R. S. Maley, Parker Wilder, Chas. E. Burgoyne, Charles Ballough, James N. Gamble, and Carl Knapp, many of whose names are well remembered by longtime residents. All worked to make the Yacht Club a reality that has prospered to this day. 

yacht clubs east coast

During the first year, members met in the large Atlantic Building across the street where balls also were held. In March 1896, Laurence Thompson, a founding father of Daytona and one of the original 13 members, gave permission to construct a wharf from his premises on Beach Street, including the “riparian rights.” It was built 8 feet wide and ran out 150 feet with a T-structure at the end for a cost of $225. In February 1897 the original clubhouse, about 25 by 40 feet in size with porches on the south and east sides, was built by S. H. Gove for $1,367 — about $65,000 in 2003 dollars. This first building is now called the “West Room” and contains the Historical Cabinet with pictures and stories of the Club’s history. Chas. Burgoyne became the 4th Commodore in 1899 and initiated dredging a 4.5’ deep channel from the Club’s dock into the natural river channel, sharing the cost, and generously helping in other ways.

HRYC is a member of the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs and the Yachting Clubs of America, allowing for reciprocal privileges at yacht clubs throughout Florida and across the country. For information contact Membership Director Freddie Friend at (386) 255-7459 or [email protected] , or submit the information request form under the membership tab on the website. 

yacht clubs east coast

The HRYC recently welcomed aboard a new Executive Chef, Ronald Reed. Robert is a dedicated culinary leader with over 20 years of experience in casino, hotel and food service. He has provided culinary service for the President of the United States, The Queen of Holland, and the Kennedy family, as well as many celebrities and dignitaries from around the world. He has worked at the Hilton, Hotel Del Coronado, Bellagio and Westin properties. Robert has traveled extensively for his profession in the past and is looking forward to concentrating his efforts for the Halifax River Yacht Club. 

The club is open for lunch and dinner every day of the week except Monday and breakfast is served on the weekends. They have both a clubhouse and a tiki bar where you can enjoy one of their delicious meals. 


yacht clubs east coast

You and your guests will be intrigued by the old world charm of the Halifax River Yacht Club. Their Commodore’s Room, Halifax Room, Flag Room and the Tiki Bar-Pool areas will impress you from the moment you arrive under the porte-cochere, entering through the large wooden doors and receiving sincere greetings from the amazing staff. The entire clubhouse is surrounded by warm colors and inviting pieces and adornments, with the dining areas all overlooking the breathtaking view of the Halifax River and the Marina. 

No party is too big or small for their dedicated staff. From an intimate dinner for two to a celebration that fills an entire room, the exquisite cuisine and experienced service staff will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. 

You can contact the Banquet Manager, Kim Nelson, at (386)255-7459 or [email protected] with any questions you may have. 


The biennial GulfStreamer Race from Daytona Beach, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina takes place during Memorial Day Weekend on even-numbered years. The first 10 miles of the Race is another challenge as the racers sprint to the Main Street Pier in Daytona Beach in the “Brian Every Sprint” race. Not only is this a “Race within a Race” before boats set a course to Charleston Harbor, 215 miles away, but it also gives spectators their best view. A separate trophy will be awarded in Charleston for this unique tradition. 

The goal of the GulfStreamer is to increase awareness of sailing and area attractions and to provide an opportunity to organize a multi-state race offshore for several different classes of boats This year’s race was held from May 28 – 30. 


yacht clubs east coast

Available for boys and girls between the ages of 8-16. No experience is required to participate. Students get hands-on boating experience and learn boating safety and rules while having fun on the water. They have access to the pool and during inclement weather, alternate learning games will be enjoyed. Lunch, snacks and beverages are provided by HRYC. 

Each junior sailor is required to pass a swimming test prior to being allowed out on the water. The swim test includes treading water in the deep end of the pool while putting on their life vest, swimming the length of the pool and back, then taking the life vest off. 

The 2021 weeks available for registration are: July 12, July 19 and July 26. 

yacht clubs east coast


The Halifax River Yacht Club is known by its members as a “fun family of friends” and offers an assortment of amenities to its members, as well as countless events, live music and activities to be a part of. They have a private pool, a boaters lounge, free day dockage and overnight slips, pickleball courts and are host to poker runs and regattas. If you are looking to be a part of a club, but want some more information, you can schedule a private tour today. 

Throughout the Years: 1890-1999 

yacht clubs east coast

  • 1890s:The HRYC was incorporated as a private club on May 19, 1896. 
  • 1896: The first HRYC regatta was held on Washington’s Birthday. 
  • 1902: Mr. Gove built a 30-foot addition to the east end of the clubhouse that included the landmark square cupola. 
  • 1905: Commodore Allen gave the HRYC the Commodore Allen Trophy for long distance motor races (now displayed in the trophy case). 
  • 1906: A second story addition was made to the clubhouse, including today’s “Bridge” with a porch on the east end. 
  • 1930s: Powerboat races on the Halifax became more popular, reaching a peak in the late 1930s before World War II. 
  • 1950s: Many improvements were made, including the addition of a closed-in porch with glass-paneled sliding doors and a walk-around deck built at the east end where finger piers had previously provided dockage for several boats. It was called the River Room, and later became today’s Flag Room. 
  • 1951: The new Municipal Yacht Basin was completed, and the following year the Yacht Club made a major effort to relocate to a proposed new clubhouse on leased city property. 
  • 1970s: This time was considered the rebirth of ocean racing. Bylaws were amended to limit the number of active members to 500 persons. 
  • 1972: The Club sponsored the HRYC Invitational Race, running from Ponce Inlet to Cape Canaveral. 
  • 1974: The Commodores were organized, evolving from the First Mates. 
  • 1975: A large addition was made to the north side of the clubhouse, and the kitchen was moved down from the second deck. 
  • 1976: The introduction of the Lady Helmsman Race and the first running of the Daytona Challenge Race. 
  • 1978: The first Daytona to Bermuda race – known as the TransAt. 
  • 1984: The Club reached an active membership of 500. 
  • 1988: New “in-house” computer system was introduced. 
  • 1990: Commodore Robert Clarke, with First Lady Jeanette, took the helm in 1990 and brought a final resolution of the state’s challenge of the deed to previously submerged land that came in 1988. 
  • 1992: The Club amended its Bylaws to eliminate gender as a measure of status, thus providing that women could become full voting members and could aspire to becoming flag officers and even Commodore. 
  • 1995: The old clubhouse built above the water of the river was held together by diligent efforts and kept looking regal. 
  • 1996: The HRYC celebrated its Centennial Year, having grown and prospered on the same site longer than any other yacht club on the east coast. 
  • 1999: After103 years, the Club elected its first female director. The Commodears celebrated its 25th Anniversary. The final racing of the TransAt is held. 

yacht clubs east coast

Halifax River Yacht Club

331 South Beach Street • Daytona Beach, 32114 

386.255.7459 • 

Office Hours: Tuesday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

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yacht clubs east coast

Discover the Best Yacht Clubs in the US: From the East Coast to the West Coast and Midwest

Table of Contents


Yacht clubs are an essential part of the boating community in the US, providing a place for boating enthusiasts to connect, socialize, and enjoy their passion for the water. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a novice looking to learn more about the sport, joining a yacht club is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the boating lifestyle and take advantage of the many benefits it offers.

In this post, we’ll explore the best yacht clubs in the US, highlighting their unique features and why they stand out from the rest. We’ll discuss the factors to consider when choosing a yacht club and share our top picks for clubs located on the east coast, west coast, and Great Lakes regions.

Discover the Best Yacht Clubs in the US: From the East Coast to the West Coast and Midwest

Whether you’re looking for a top-notch facility with all the amenities or a more relaxed and intimate atmosphere, there’s a yacht club out there that will meet your needs. So, let’s dive in and discover the best yacht clubs in the US!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Yacht Club

When choosing a yacht club, there are several important factors to consider to ensure that you find the right fit for your needs

The location of the yacht club is essential, as it will determine the type of boating experiences you’ll have access to. Consider whether you want to sail in freshwater or saltwater, and whether you want to be near a city or in a more remote area.

Yacht clubs vary in terms of the amenities they offer, so it’s important to consider what you’re looking for. Some clubs have fitness centers, restaurants, and swimming pools, while others offer more basic facilities.

Membership fees

Yacht club membership fees can vary widely, so it’s important to understand the costs involved before making a decision. Some clubs require an initiation fee, while others have annual dues, so make sure you understand the financial commitment before joining.

Yacht clubs are more than just facilities – they’re communities of boating enthusiasts who share a love for the water. Consider the social atmosphere of the club and whether you’ll feel comfortable and welcome as a member.

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By considering these factors, you can find a yacht club that meets your needs and provides an enjoyable and rewarding boating experience.

Top Yacht Clubs in the East Coast

The East Coast is home to some of the best yacht clubs in the country, with a wide variety of options to choose from. Here are our top picks for yacht clubs on the East Coast:

New York Yacht Club (Newport, RI)

Founded in 1844, the New York Yacht Club is one of the oldest and most prestigious yacht clubs in the country. Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the club has a rich history and boasts world-class facilities, including two marinas and an extensive clubhouse.

Annapolis Yacht Club (Annapolis, MD)

The Annapolis Yacht Club is a popular choice for boaters in the Mid-Atlantic region, offering a vibrant social scene and access to some of the best sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. The club has a full-service marina, a swimming pool, and multiple dining options.

Charleston Yacht Club (Charleston, SC)

The Charleston Yacht Club is located in the heart of historic Charleston, South Carolina, and offers stunning views of the harbor. The club has a long history and is known for its welcoming atmosphere and diverse membership. Amenities include a full-service marina, a fitness center, and a waterfront dining room.

Whether you’re looking for a club with a rich history, world-class facilities, or a vibrant social scene, the East Coast has something for everyone. These three yacht clubs are just a few examples of the many excellent options available in this region.

Top Yacht Clubs on the West Coast

The West Coast is home to some of the most stunning coastal landscapes in the country and is a popular destination for boaters. Here are our top picks for yacht clubs on the West Coast:

San Diego Yacht Club (San Diego, CA)

Located in one of the most picturesque areas of Southern California, the San Diego Yacht Club is known for its world-class facilities and outstanding sailing program. The club has a full-service marina, a pool, and multiple dining options.

Seattle Yacht Club (Seattle, WA)

The Seattle Yacht Club is located in the heart of Seattle’s waterfront and offers stunning views of Puget Sound. The club has a rich history and is known for its welcoming atmosphere and active racing program. Amenities include a full-service marina, multiple dining options, and a fitness center.

City of San Francisco Corinthian Yacht Club (Tiburon, CA)

The Corinthian Yacht Club of San Francisco is located on the picturesque Tiburon peninsula and offers stunning views of San Francisco Bay. The club has a long history and is known for its racing program and active social scene. Amenities include a full-service marina, a pool, and multiple dining options.

The West Coast offers some of the most breathtaking scenery and challenging sailing conditions in the country, and these three yacht clubs are just a few examples of the many outstanding options available in this region.

Top Yacht Clubs in the Midwest

The Midwest may not have the coastal vistas of the East or West Coasts, but it’s still home to some excellent yacht clubs. Here are our top picks for yacht clubs in the Midwest:

Chicago Yacht Club (Chicago, IL)

The Chicago Yacht Club is one of the oldest and most prestigious yacht clubs in the country. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the club offers a full range of boating activities and is known for its active racing program. Amenities include a full-service marina, multiple dining options, and a fitness center.

Bayview Yacht Club (Detroit, MI)

The Bayview Yacht Club is located on the Detroit River and is known for its excellent sailing conditions and active racing program. The club has a full-service marina, a pool, and multiple dining options.

Wayzata Yacht Club (Wayzata, MN) 

The Wayzata Yacht Club is located on the shores of Lake Minnetonka and offers a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. The club is known for its active racing program and social events. Amenities include a full-service marina and multiple dining options.

While the Midwest may not have the same level of boating activity as some coastal regions, these three yacht clubs offer excellent facilities, welcoming atmospheres, and active racing programs.

Discover the Best Yacht Clubs in the US: From the East Coast to the West Coast and Midwest

Whether you’re an experienced sailor or just starting out, joining a yacht club is a great way to meet like-minded people, improve your skills, and enjoy all that boating has to offer. With so many excellent yacht clubs to choose from across the country, you’re sure to find one that meets your needs and fits your budget.

In this article, we’ve highlighted some of the best yacht clubs in the US, ranging from the historic and prestigious to the relaxed and welcoming. Whether you’re on the East Coast, West Coast, or in the Midwest, there’s a yacht club that’s perfect for you.

So, start exploring your options today and get ready to join the exciting and rewarding world of yachting!

For more information on Yachts, we suggest reading this article !

Hope this helps! If you liked reading this article then you’ll surely love reading this article too!

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yacht clubs east coast

Best of Lists

Top yacht clubs - florida.

Tucked along Florida's 1,350 miles of coastline are private seaside clubs where mariners like to dock their boats and hang their hats. Many sport a friendly neighborhood feel; others rival first-class resorts by giving members a taste of the good life on the high seas. Deluxe amenities seem unlimited with annual regattas for racing fans, fishing charters for anglers and social events, where all the stars come out shining.To get a glimpse of how the big dogs in the yacht world roll, we welcome you to check out Marinalife's roster of ritzy yacht clubs serving the Sunshine State.


Jacksonville, fl.

Established in 1876 to foster yachting and social enjoyment along the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, this club grew into a favorite getaway for 19th century business tycoons and their entourage. Today it's known as one of the most prestigious private clubs and the sailing capital of northeast Florida. Amenities include two marinas with 150 slips, 10 tennis courts, a lovely clubhouse with banquet rooms, a swimming pool, a fitness center with personal trainers and a spa. The Youth Sailing Program, several annual regattas and plenty of social events keep members engaged and happy year-round.


Palm city, fl.

The soaring eagle emblem on Harbour Ridge's logo is a pleasant statement that this yacht club cares about protecting the natural environment around its facility on the St. Lucie River north of West Palm Beach. Its two championship golf courses are Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries, but conservation does not distract from luxurious amenities. Members can choose between upscale or casual dining in the 45,000 square-foot clubhouse while soaking up stunning lakeside views. Also set in this idyllic rural setting: tennis courts, a swimming pool, a fitness center and spa, a library, a puppy park and banquet halls for special events.


West palm beach, fl.

Founded in 1890, this boaters' sanctuary is considered a jewel of the Atlantic seaboard that attracts racers and society's A-list from around the world. With five-star cuisine and gracious décor, the dining room is an epicurean delight. The club is renowned for events such as trips to the Kentucky Derby, Napa Valley and Havana, as well as art tours, river cruises, Miami Dolphin football games and tennis tournaments.


Boca raton, fl.

Alcoa industrialist Arthur Vining Davis founded the Royal Palm in 1959 on 450 acres of land that was once Boca Raton's polo grounds. The property's centerpiece is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, which hosts several tournaments on its scenic greens. The marina's floating dock yachting facility can accommodate vessels up to 130 feet. Three restaurants offer options ranging from relaxed snacks to elegant gourmet cuisine. Six tennis courts, a swimming pool, a spa and a fitness center top off the amenity list.


Fort lauderdale, fl.

Conveniently located near three major airports, Coral Ridge has been an upscale haven for affluent and celebrity guests, including The Beatles in 1964. Founded in 1947, the gorgeous clubhouse overlooks stunning views of the Intracoastal Waterway, Sunrise Bay and historic Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Amenities include family and social activities, a fitness center, golf, a swimming pool, tennis, sports camps and sailing programs for children. It's within easy walking distance from white-sand beaches, restaurants, nightlife, and movie theaters.


Some of the country's best yacht racing competitions take place at Coral Reef 2008 Star Worlds, Bacardi Miami Race Week, Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta and more. And some of its members bring home Olympic gold medals in boating events. When you visit this bustling club, it's the 100-slip marina that catches your eye and the 6,000 square foot clubhouse that makes you want to linger in the lounge and hear about the history and camaraderie in the waters of Biscayne Bay. Social activities for adults and kids build a strong sense of community.


Key largo, fl.

You can arrive by land, sea or air to this 2,500-acre private paradise tucked away in the northern tip of Florida's Keys. Known for championship golfing and world-class fishing, the facility includes 12 tennis courts, basketball, a spa and a fitness center. A dozen restaurants and lounges present a range of options from gourmet to casual dining and poolside cocktails. In addition to the nine-hole mini-golf course, Buccaneer Island's saltwater lagoon is family-fun central with water sports such as sailboats, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Snorkeling and scuba excursions depart daily.


Bokeelia, fl.

Private security and sophisticated solitude are the buzzwords for this private club located on a 100-acre island on Pine Island Sound. Since the 1800s, industrialists, socialites and fishing fans have been pampered at this luxurious West Florida retreat. The U.S. government took over the island during the Bay of Pigs invasion, but the club reopened in 1976 and was restored to its original grandeur. Today's guests enjoy amenities such as fine dining, tennis, a swimming pool, croquet and bocce. Social events and regattas in peak season are legendary.


After a recent $4.8 million renovation, Pelican Isle is looking pretty swanky. The new 20,000 square-foot club-house is complete with a new kitchen, banquet rooms, fitness center, stellar waterfront views, two bocce courts and firepits. Only five minutes from the Gulf of Mexico at Wiggins Pass on the Cocohatchee River, the nearby beach is rated as top-notch with a coral reef for scuba divers. Amenities include upscale dining, a swimming pool, tennis, pickleball, water aerobics, a ship store and yachting excursions.


St. petersburg, fl.

Established in 1909 and fully renovated in the 1990s, this prestigious club is dedicated to preserving traditions in sailing and yachting. The list of members' championship racing awards and Olympic medals is extensive. As one of America's oldest yacht clubs, the facility overlooking Tampa Bay presents two elegant dining rooms, cocktail lounge, poolside tiki hut and many spacious banquet rooms. Special events include the historic Habana Race (first sailed in 1930), Vintage Motor Classic and several fishing tournaments.

yacht clubs east coast

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Yacht & Sailing Clubs along the US East Coast

Click on a state to find clubs and meeting schedules in that region. 

Clubes de Yate y Velerismo en la Costa Este de los EEUU

Haz click en un estado para encontrar clubes y horarios de reuniones en esa region.

yacht clubs east coast

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yacht clubs east coast

East Coast Sailing Association

yacht clubs east coast

“The ECSA shall organize and coordinate sailing activities of its members for their mutual benefit. It shall assist and complement established yacht clubs by actively encouraging and coordinating sail-cruiser participation in open yacht club events and by organizing local and distance cruises and racing for sailing craft. Its members shall actively encourage the highest standards of yachting safety, integrity, courtesy and camaraderie.”

Please join us for our monthly meetings, the Second Wednesday of every month (except January, when we have our Annual Banquet) at 7:00 p.m. , at the Satellite Beach City Hall:

or on your chartplotter: 28° 10.30' N,  80° 36.28' W

How to Join ECSA or Renew your existing membership ?

Glad you asked!  Three ways - online, by mail, or by mobile app:

yacht clubs east coast

Coming up :

Next Meeting:

Our next regular meeting will be Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at 7:00 p.m.

Come join us for a discussion of our past and upcoming cruises and fine refreshments, followed by our annual Summer Ice Cream Social.  Come to our meeting and beat the heat!

We meet at Satellite Beach City Hall, 565 Cassia Blvd. in beautiful Satellite Beach!

Click "Meetings" in the main menu for more information.

yacht clubs east coast

Members-only features :

Some pages on our web site under the "Club" menu can be accessed only by members who are logged in: Presentations at monthly meetings, Lend-a-Hand (tools and services), Annual Directory, and Club Guides (information on how to plan cruises).  If you are a member, please log in and see the additional features of our web site that are members-only benefits.  If you need help logging in, please e-mail your webmaster: [email protected] .

Where to find us:

New items of interest:.

  • Classified ads : New on the " Club → Classifieds " page are Various items, such as books, magazines, Windex, etc.)  ads for several sailboats, a pair of AGM Batteries, a nautical-themed blanket, strands of double-braid line, a free (!) inflatable dinghy, and an offer to share a 28-foot sailboat.
  • St Lucie Railroad Bridge *update*: The St. Lucie railroad bridge is now open on a limited schedule.  Click here for more information.
  • Cruising Checklist:  Member Simon Koumjian has compiled a list of everything a sailor needs to make a trip to the Bahamas, or perhaps even longer.  Check it out on the " Club → Lend-a-Hand " page.
  • Advertise with us: If you have a business and would like to advertise in our monthly newsletter, we would warmly welcome you!  Just go to " Club → Advertise with us " for all the information you need.  Membership is not required, so feel free to sign up.
  • Southwinds Magazine:  Secretary Joe Cloidt wrote a fine article on the history of the ECSA, submitted it to Southwinds magazine, and they put it on their web site.  Good job, Joe!  Here is the link:

Check out our other ECSA Web Site features:

  • Weather: We sailors can't check the weather forecasts too often, especially here in east central Florida during hurricane season! Click " Local → Weather " in the main menu for updated links for current conditions and forecasts to help plan your next cruise.
  • Members Helping Members: Check out " Club → Lend-a-Hand " in the Main Menu, where members can share tools, skills, and information they may have, but that the typical sailor may need only occasionally.  Also, our " Club → Presentations " page has the slides from some of our past presentations at meetings, in case you missed them.  Members helping members -- that is what ECSA does best!
  • Ship's Store online: Please log in and click on " Shop " in the Main Menu to see all the wonderful items available.  We have shirts, hats, helpful gadgets for your boat, and more!

Ads from Members:

yacht clubs east coast

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  • 2024-06-22 10:00 – 2024-06-23 12:00

Please join us at Squid Lips in Melbourne for the annual Summer Sailstice Cruise. The Summer Sail... More Details

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  • Cocoa Village Marina, Cocoa, Florida 32922
  • 2024-07-04 1:00 – 2024-07-05 12:00

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Please support our wonderful sponsors:


Why do I need a TidyHQ Account?

You need a TidyHQ to buy tickets, register for memberships and interact with your organisation. Having a TidyHQ Account lets us remember who you are so we can keep everything in one place for you ready to access and update at any time.

Got it, but what is a TidyHQ Account?

A TidyHQ Account is the personal account you use to access organisations that use TidyHQ to run their back office. This includes: Events, Memberships, Meetings, Finances, Online Shop, Communications and more. Your TidyHQ Account includes the email address and password you use to log in, as well as all the contact, payment and security details that you will use for this organisation and across all TidyHQ services.

yacht clubs east coast

Eau Gallie Yacht Club

Eau Gallie Yacht Club Burgee

Phone: 321-773-2600

Email: [email protected]

Address: 100 Datura Drive Indian Harbor Beach, Florida 32937


The Eau Gallie Yacht Club is a private Club located at the mouth of the Banana River adjacent to the Intra-coastal Waterway in Indian Harbour Beach on the east coast of Florida near Melbourne. Launched in 1907, the Club has grown over the past one hundred plus years to include members from all walks of life and business – from area founders, astronauts and government officials to titans of industry and community leaders.

The Club’s lounge, dining and banquet room, and Harbor Grill overlook the Club’s marina, the beautiful Banana River and its confluence with the Indian River. The ambiance of the Club is the perfect setting for these special occasions including weddings, socials, card parties and business gatherings. Members and their guests enjoy a variety of dining ex

yacht clubs east coast

Our Club Members

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Isles Yacht Club

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Naples Yacht Club

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Port Canaveral Yacht Club

Check out our great slip rates, member owned yacht club.

Port Canaveral Yacht Club is a non-profit, member-owned club with a deep water, 50 slip dock. Located on Florida’s central east coast, PCYC offers a full range of amenities for the active boater. We welcome transient boaters.  Address:  910 Mullet Rd, Cape Canaveral, FL  32920.  Office Phone:  (321)-784-2292.  Dockmaster Phone:   (321) 482-0167

Become a Member

Central florida deep water marina.

Located in Cape Canaveral, midway down Florida’s Atlantic Coast. PCYC is an important stop-over for vessels transiting the Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW) and the Atlantic seaboard. The Club is ideally situated to experience the comings and goings of a bustling Maritime Center ( Helpful Links ). Recreational boating, racing, world-class sport fishing, cruise-line terminals commercial shipping, space launches, and amusement parks all abound here.

The Club maintains an active calendar including regular weekly dinners, the coolest Tiki Bar around (with food service on weekends), Cruise outs, Races, cookouts, and many Club-sponsored events. Take a look at the Calendar and see what’s up.

The heart of this Club resides with its members. The camaraderie, enduring friendships and abiding love for the sea are clearly apparent. It binds the Club into a wonderful mix of people.

For the4th year in a row PCYC has won Best Marina Award.

The Ship Store has exciting new merchandise.   Click to enter the Ship Store.

Pump Out Manual-click to open document.

Book Your Dock Space

The Port Canaveral Yacht Club is now partnering with Dockwa and to make it easier for you to book a dock online. Just click the button below to get started.   You can book through dockwa by clicking the “Book Now” button below.  You can also reach our dockmaster at [email protected]  or by phone from 8AM-8PM EST,  Dockmaster Phone #:  321-482-0167

SpaceX Falcon GPS III

In this view from the Port Canaveral Yacht Club, the SpaceX Falcon 9 launches from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying a Lockheed-Martin GPS III satellite, Thursday night, November 5, 2020. The mission for the U.S. Air Force had been delayed multiple times before Thursday’s successful launch. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

Mother's Day Brunch

yacht clubs east coast

Welcome to Eau Gallie Yacht Club

The Eau Gallie Yacht Club is a private Club located at the mouth of the Banana River adjacent to the Intra-Coastal Waterway in Indian Harbour Beach on the east coast of Florida near Melbourne. Launched in 1907, the Club has grown over the past one hundred-plus years to include members from all walks of life and business – from area founders, astronauts, and government officials to titans of industry and community leaders. Club Members enjoy our unique amenities, World Class Clay Tennis Courts, Elegant Waterfront Dining, Riverfront Dining and occasional Brunch, Themed Parties, and Club Functions, The Club includes an RV Club, Book Club, Kids Night, Women’s Council, Captains Table, Bridge, Mahjong and more. Large Fully Renovated and Heated Pool with Seasonal Lifeguard, and Kids Splash Pat. Boat Slip Availability at reasonable pricing. Use of Sailboats, Kayaks, and paddleboards.

Eau Gallie Yacht Club

From the moment you step onto the property, you are welcomed into a community that values shared experiences. The club offers a variety of amenities and activities that cater to all interests and ages. Whether you’re a sailing enthusiast, a tennis player, or someone who simply enjoys a relaxing day by the pool, there’s something for everyone at the Eau Gallie Yacht Club. The club’s location on the beautiful Indian River Lagoon provides stunning views and opportunities for water sports and boating. The marina is top-notch, with state-of-the-art facilities to ensure your boating experience is always enjoyable and safe. What truly sets the Club apart is its sense of community. In addition, the Club hosts a variety of social events throughout the year, providing members with opportunities to connect and create lasting memories. It’s about making memories that will last a lifetime. And that’s what makes it truly amazing.


The Eau Gallie Yacht Club offers a wide range of amenities designed to provide a comprehensive and enjoyable experience for all members. Here are some of the key amenities you can expect: Marina: The club boasts a full-service marina with state-of-the-art facilities. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a boating enthusiast, the marina provides everything you need for a great day on the water. Dining: With a variety of dining options, from casual to formal, the club offers culinary experiences to suit every palate. Enjoy a meal while taking in the stunning views of the Indian River Lagoon. Sports Facilities: The club offers a range of sports facilities including 6 Clay tennis courts, a fully renovated and heated pool, a fitness center and much more. Whether you’re looking to stay active or simply relax, there’s something for everyone. Social Events: The club hosts a variety of social events throughout the year, providing opportunities for members to connect and create lasting memories. Children’s Programs: The club offers a range of programs and activities for children, making it a great place for families.


Camaraderie: The club fosters a strong sense of community among its members. Regular social events provide opportunities for members to connect, share experiences, and create lasting memories. It’s not just about the facilities, but the people you meet and the friendships you form. Love for the Water: At its core, the Eau Gallie Yacht Club is a haven for those who love the water. With a full-service marina and a variety of water-based activities, it’s the perfect place for those who feel at home on the waves. In essence, the lifestyle at the Eau Gallie Yacht Club is about more than just the amenities it offers. It’s about the experiences you have, the people you meet, and the memories you create. It’s about feeling at home, whether you’re out on the water or relaxing on the shore. It’s a lifestyle that’s hard to beat.



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Squib East Coast Championship 2024 at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham

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yacht clubs east coast

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In February 1897 the original clubhouse, about 25 by 40 feet in size with porches on the south and east sides, was built by S. H. Gove for $1,367 — about $65,000 in 2003 dollars. This first building is now called the "West Room" and contains the Historical Cabinet with pictures and stories of the Club's history. Chas.

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The Eau Gallie Yacht Club is a private Club located at the mouth of the Banana River adjacent to the Intra-coastal Waterway in Indian Harbour Beach on the east coast of Florida near Melbourne. Launched in 1907, the Club has grown over the past one hundred plus years to include members from all walks of life and business - from area founders ...

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Welcome to Eau Gallie Yacht Club. The Eau Gallie Yacht Club is a private Club located at the mouth of the Banana River adjacent to the Intra-Coastal Waterway in Indian Harbour Beach on the east coast of Florida near Melbourne. Launched in 1907, the Club has grown over the past one hundred-plus years to include members from all walks of life and ...

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Elektrostal Localisation : Country Russia , Oblast Moscow Oblast . Available Information : Geographical coordinates , Population, Altitude, Area, Weather and Hotel . Nearby cities and villages : Noginsk , Pavlovsky Posad and Staraya Kupavna .


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Elektrostal Demography

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Elektrostal Population157,409 inhabitants
Elektrostal Population Density3,179.3 /km² (8,234.4 /sq mi)

Elektrostal Geography

Geographic Information regarding City of Elektrostal .

Elektrostal Geographical coordinatesLatitude: , Longitude:
55° 48′ 0″ North, 38° 27′ 0″ East
Elektrostal Area4,951 hectares
49.51 km² (19.12 sq mi)
Elektrostal Altitude164 m (538 ft)
Elektrostal ClimateHumid continental climate (Köppen climate classification: Dfb)

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DaySunrise and sunsetTwilightNautical twilightAstronomical twilight
8 June02:43 - 11:25 - 20:0701:43 - 21:0701:00 - 01:00 01:00 - 01:00
9 June02:42 - 11:25 - 20:0801:42 - 21:0801:00 - 01:00 01:00 - 01:00
10 June02:42 - 11:25 - 20:0901:41 - 21:0901:00 - 01:00 01:00 - 01:00
11 June02:41 - 11:25 - 20:1001:41 - 21:1001:00 - 01:00 01:00 - 01:00
12 June02:41 - 11:26 - 20:1101:40 - 21:1101:00 - 01:00 01:00 - 01:00
13 June02:40 - 11:26 - 20:1101:40 - 21:1201:00 - 01:00 01:00 - 01:00
14 June02:40 - 11:26 - 20:1201:39 - 21:1301:00 - 01:00 01:00 - 01:00

Elektrostal Hotel

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Located next to Noginskoye Highway in Electrostal, Apelsin Hotel offers comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi. Free parking is available. The elegant rooms are air conditioned and feature a flat-screen satellite TV and fridge...

Located in the green area Yamskiye Woods, 5 km from Elektrostal city centre, this hotel features a sauna and a restaurant. It offers rooms with a kitchen...

Ekotel Bogorodsk Hotel is located in a picturesque park near Chernogolovsky Pond. It features an indoor swimming pool and a wellness centre. Free Wi-Fi and private parking are provided...

Surrounded by 420,000 m² of parkland and overlooking Kovershi Lake, this hotel outside Moscow offers spa and fitness facilities, and a private beach area with volleyball court and loungers...

Surrounded by green parklands, this hotel in the Moscow region features 2 restaurants, a bowling alley with bar, and several spa and fitness facilities. Moscow Ring Road is 17 km away...

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guppy 13 sailboat for sale

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