Michael Storer Boat Design


Fitting bilge keels for shallow water


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With the wide options available for a PD Racer is it a good idea to make it shallow draft by fitting shallow keels along the bottom?

It is not a good solution for general performance, but for a cruising boat it may be worthwhile. My feeling is to go for the most efficient (and deep) foil possible - it will still be effective even when only 12 inches (300mm) is in the water - provided you don't pull the sails in too tight.  If you need to go somewhere in shallower water - get out and walk!

Hi Tim,

Pretty well - I was so caught up with the planing thing in the stronger breeze thismorn I forgot to check the tacking angle.

But Basically right - I would expect an optimum puddleduck in moderate winds 8 to 12 knots to be pointing around the 50 degree mark.

Hypothetically if the bilge keel model doesn't do quite so well in deep water against deep leeboards and centreboards - it may do a lot better in variable depth water where it retains its lower pointing angle in a foot of water.  Which is not possible with leeboards or Centreboards.  So it might make a better gunkholer or racer for shallow areas.

Also recreationally it might make lots of sense because of the protected hull bottom.

In other words you can match a boat to a purpose, but there is no perfect boat.

Will check the tacking angles when the wind moderates more.


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