If done correctly, mini keels with matching fixed rudders are the more practical option for the majority of sailors. Underlying all of the other reasons is one major factor: simple is safer. As a company, we’re excited by new technologies and innovations, but that fundamental philosophy that simple is safer trumps most. Mini keels provide simple protection for the saildrive when beaching (as well as when sailing forward, while the rudders protect when in reverse). That influences the way we build them – in particular the mini-keels. On most Seawinds, the mini keels are molded into the hull structure (you can see the shape of the mini keel in the mold). So you can think of it being “glassed-in” – however it’s separated from the main curvature of the hull in that we also complete the hull shape straight past the keel. That means that the mini keels are very strong – while being sacrificial in the sense that losing one won’t compromise the hull.
It’s safe to beach Seawinds with mini-keels. As shown in the picture above, owners can beach their boats not only in the case of an emergency such as a storm, but as a way to conduct checks or even service the saildrives or transmissions. That sort of practicality is invaluable in remote regions, and is in contrast to daggerboard versions in which the hulls themselves rest on the ground. Greater care must be paid to the beaching surface with the daggerboard Seawinds.
It’s undeniable that daggerboards and high-aspect rudders can enhance performance. They can raise the pointing angle through increased lift while reducing drag downwind. But they must be used correctly and only significantly outperform mini-keels when used while in their optimum speed window. And it’s worth considering other practicalities as well – it’s easy to enter a shallow area at night and forget your daggerboards and rudders are all the way down. So consider your sailing style, how often you might beach the boat, and if your favourite cruising grounds have a nice consistent surface that will be kind to the hulls of a daggerboard Seawind.
There are many pros and cons either way, so Seawind has both options on offer. We’re glad to spend time with you to make sure you have the right solution for your sailing plans. Contact us today if you have any inquiries!