Posts Tagged ‘canting keel’

Canting Keels don’t always cant!

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

One of the many interesting stories to come out of Leg Four of the Volvo Race, Singapore to Qingdao, is that of the decision taken by Bouwe Bekking and the crew aboard Telefonica Blue. They took on the dangers of the Strait of Luzon while the remaining competitors chose to wait for the storm to pass.

The decision was based on Bekking’s observation: “Every time we approached the coast, more breeze came and we could see a complete white wash approaching the top of the Philippines. We made the call to stay out and go for it.”

Bekking also reported: “We sailed most of the time with three reefs and the storm jib. The (canting) keel was locked in the middle and we kept all the sails downstairs, just to make sure we could sail as slowly as possible, but with enough steerage to avoid big waves.”

So, when conditions got really bad, they sailed their high-tech yacht just like a traditional one – fully reefed and with their canting keel locked in the middle.

I wonder if they turned their motor off?

Read more of my views in my article on canting keels.

Sailing highpoints of 2008

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Did you go sailing as much as you’d like to in 2008? If not, what changes can you make to allow more time aboard this year?

Here are some our highpoints in 2008:


What we lacked in quantity we certainly made up for in quality. The highlight of our year was the week that we spent in the South West Wilderness, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

To ensure a successful voyage and arrival at Port Davey in daylight, the first leg was from Hobart to Southport. A six o’clock start meant that we arrived well before dark but the lack of wind meant motor sailing nearly all the way.

The beauty of the place, its remoteness and the brute force of a two-day storm at the end of our stay gave us a welcome break from suburbia. Flying out in a six-seater on the tail of that storm was the final excitement! Film from this visit is included in The Joys of Sailing, a DVD that you receive free when you purchase The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship.


Like many other armchair sportsmen and women, we watched what we could of the Olympic sailing events.

In the final of the 49ers, Australia had a good chance of winning. However, they left their spinnaker up too long and ended up in the drink. Given the wind and sea conditions, perhaps they should have sailed the final leg with their headsail for greater stability.


We’ve already blogged about the Sydney-Hobart, but it’s worth repeating here. This blue water classic has been turned into a race for motor boats, to the detriment of our sport. Yachts with canting keels and water ballast keep their motors running 24 hours a day. This is not in the spirit of sailing and we were glad that the overall handicap winner, Quest, is not one of their number.

Most sailors have little interest in which speedster is first to Hobart, knowing that far greater skill is involved in achieving a handicap win. See our blog post.

Your sailing highlights

If you’d like to share highlights of your sailing year, please do so by posting a comment below.

Why I’m unhappy about the Sydney-Hobart yacht race

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

It was good to see that some fuss was made of the real winner of the 2008 Sydney-Hobart yacht race. By winner, of course, I mean the overall handicap winner, Quest.


The boat that got there first was not a yacht. It was a motor boat. What do I mean by this? In order to manage their canting keel a number of yachts, including the line honours ‘winner’, Wild Oats XI, have to keep their motors running day and night. No wonder the interiors are bereft of creature comforts when they have to carry so much fuel to feed their engines.


Maybe I’ve missed something, but I thought that a yacht race was for vessels that only used wind power to reach their destination. Without an engine to keep the hydraulics under pressure, these yachts would be unable to function. Some even carry button-controlled winches.


For safety reasons, however, I’m not against the motor being run for an hour two or three times a day to keep the batteries charged up. And it pulls the refrigeration down.


I’ve written more about yachts and canting keels.

Cutting the cant about canting keels

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Let’s start facing facts about yachts with canting keels. They are not yachts, they are motor boats and, as such, should be banned from competing with genuine yachts.

As long as they have to keep their motor running day and night to provide hydraulics for the keels and electrics to drive their winches, they are, and will remain, motor boats.

I am not a Luddite. I am not against the development of canting keels, I simply believe that development should take place separately.

Read more of my thoughts on canting keels.