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#1 Posted : 03 May 2019 16:07:18(UTC)
Rank: Member

Posts: 19

As I get older, I’ve noticed that I tend to overlook obvious things more often than I used to. Life has become like a chess game where I work hard to keep my pawns in play whilst missing the killer blow to my queen.

Anyway, I’m keeping my Parker 27 in a marina this year because I’m hoping to do lots of renovations (cleaning, headlining, painting, varnishing, etc) but today I had to move the boat from one berth to another about 30m away. I was on my own, but it shouldn’t have been a problem as there was no current and almost no wind.

So I get all the lines and fenders ready and plan in advance what I’m going to do. Then slip the lines, into forward gear and slowly move out of the berth. A right angled turn to the left, followed by several boat lengths in a straight line, then come to a stop and go into reverse. A right angled turn to the right in reverse and nicely into the new berth, using a pre-rigged line from the centre cleat to control the boat. Perfect!

I was congratulating myself on performing this simple operation perfectly with no fuss, and noting how well the boat behaved under engine, when I remembered the one thing I’d forgotten…I hadn’t put the keel down! So the whole operation was performed with the keel fully up.

Is this normal? The boat seemed to behave exactly the same with the keel up as it does with keel down, but it has a very flat Ron Holland bottom and I would have expected a complete lack of control with the keel up... Do others manoeuvre their boats with keel up?


philip linsell  
#2 Posted : 05 May 2019 09:06:56(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Posts: 123
Location: CHICHESTER, west sussex


Never, without some keel down my 26 is an unresponsive barge under engine.

Only needs about a third.


#3 Posted : 05 May 2019 09:58:03(UTC)
Rank: Member

Posts: 19

That's what I thought, Philip.

I believe there is a tiny amount of keel showing even when the keel is fully up, but in my case, the keel was fully up and the pin was through the hole in the top of the keel, so I'm surprised that the boat turned so crisply.

The rudder was fully down, so maybe that was having a 'keel effect'.


Ken Surplice  
#4 Posted : 06 May 2019 21:29:42(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Posts: 224
Location: Basingstoke, Hampshire

Hi Peter,

I've also forgotten to lower the keel on my 275 on a couple of occasions. My experience is that motoring with no keel is ok once you get underway. However, if turning when first setting off, the boat has a tendency to skid sideways making the turning circle somewhat large. Not lowering the keel is something you might get away with but is best avoided. Reading your report will me remember in future :-).


Ken Surplice
#5 Posted : 07 May 2019 09:54:06(UTC)
Rank: Member

Posts: 19

I'm surprised I wasn't skidding around the marina like Torville and Dean, pin-balling off the moored boats!

It's good to know the boat is manageable without the keel down, but I'll probably remember to lower it in future.


#6 Posted : 08 May 2019 09:06:14(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Posts: 132
Location: Exeter, sober

I usually get my younger fitter crew to wind the keel up as we come back upriver after racing. I drop them off at the club pontoon and motor back to the mooring with no keel. Steering is fine but you have to adjust for masses of leeway if you make a turn across the tide or wind. Not a problem though.
#7 Posted : 08 May 2019 10:08:47(UTC)
Rank: Member

Posts: 19

Yes, that makes sense. There was almost no wind or tide in my situation.


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