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Fin or wing?

Kuwull

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Feb 17, 2020
10
Catalina Capri 22 Fernandina Beach, FL
Ok, a real "new guy" question.
I want to go Catalina for multiple reasons, not the least of which is availability of parts and priceless information.
I am in Amelia Island, Florida location and we have a very large adequately deep bay area in the combine of St. Marys River inlet/ICW/Kings Bay Naval base area. A 4 foot draft is not a serious problem. I want to trailer to other areas where the shoal draft of a wing keel will be a slight advantage, such as the Florida Keys and Tampa Bay areas.
My question is: how much better does the fin keel really sail, for someone not interested in racing?
Our usage will be primarily day sailing with an occasional overnight camping-like trip possible.
We will keep her in a slip most of the time, but want to be able to pull it without being a major event for our usual hurricanes. Also, I realize the fin is going to be pretty much impossible to ramp launch/retrieve.
Last, but not necessarily least is the fairly large number of used wings available, as opposed to the very few used fins currently on the market. I guess this preceding question answers itself, to a large degree. If the wing keel was a pig, they probably wouldn't sell, would they?
 

Kuwull

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Feb 17, 2020
10
Catalina Capri 22 Fernandina Beach, FL
Hah!! Good diversion, Justin!
My question still stands: How much better does the fin sail? I am SAILING for enjoyment, so the SAILING is my key concern. The other concerns are secondary IF the fin sails significantly better.
 
Jan 5, 2017
2,117
Beneteau First 38 Lyall Harbour Saturna Island
Do you remember when the Australians won the "Americas Cup" with a winged keel?
Design is everything.
 
Jul 7, 2004
7,843
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
I think a fin keel points higher but as a cruiser, a priority would be avoiding a grounding. I'd go with shallower draft for a more worry free cruise.
 
Sep 25, 2018
240
Catalina Capri 22 Capri EXPO 14.2 1282 Stony Point
I have never sailed a fin but have sailed all last year with the wing keel. As a day sailor, speed is not my primary concern. That said, I get to hull speed easily and point high enough for my purposes. The only weird thing about the wing is that if you pinch beating into the wind, the keel will lose traction (stall) and start slipping sideways, a trait I sometimes use to get out of the way of fixed and moving objects in my path. The shallow draft allows me to keep my boat at a marina with shallow water and corresponding shallow price. At extreme low tides I cannot get in or out of my slip. Only happened once last year, my first with this boat. Unless you race, I see no advantage to a fin for pleasure day sailing.
 

Kuwull

.
Feb 17, 2020
10
Catalina Capri 22 Fernandina Beach, FL
I have never sailed a fin but have sailed all last year with the wing keel. As a day sailor, speed is not my primary concern. That said, I get to hull speed easily and point high enough for my purposes. The only weird thing about the wing is that if you pinch beating into the wind, the keel will lose traction (stall) and start slipping sideways, a trait I sometimes use to get out of the way of fixed and moving objects in my path. The shallow draft allows me to keep my boat at a marina with shallow water and corresponding shallow price. At extreme low tides I cannot get in or out of my slip. Only happened once last year, my first with this boat. Unless you race, I see no advantage to a fin for pleasure day sailing.
Thank you!! That is the kind of input I was looking for. I realize the fin will point better, but I was looking for HOW MUCH better and if it is worth the other down sides of the deeper keel. One vote for - no.
 
  • Like
Likes: Capt Robbie
Jan 24, 2017
535
Hunter 34 Toms River Nj
Kuwull,

I've been a Sailing instructor for 35 plus years I've see the innovations of sailboat design over the years. Most controversial is wing keel vs fin keel?
Very good question.
I've sailed hundreds of boats over the years, wing, fin, bulb, twin, retractable keels you name it. Unfortunately there is no cut and dry answer to your question. Pros and cons to both types.

Fin keel,
Pros
Points higher, much less lateral movement thru the water therefore able to navagate straight line, much easier to get off of a grounding.

Cons
Generally deeper draft, much more tender due to higher center of gravity, generally has more drag due to more surface area,

Wing keel
Pros
More stable due to low center of gravity, generally shallow draft because of substatual weight at bottom of keel,

Cons
Very difficult to get off of a grounding especially in mud, lateral movement much more apparent srtaight line navagation, down wind runs generally is easier to stall ruder when running with a spiniker under poor sea and wind conditions.

Over all production sailboats with wing keels are great for the average day/ cruiser provided grounding are not going to be an issue. Wing keel boats are very good for what most sailors use there boats for and is as I said previously intercostal cruising and day sailing. due to stability and shallow draft and good over performance this makes a good fit for most sailors. However if you compare the wing keel to a racer's keel like the Americas cup Australia 2 keel. That keel was designed for speed, stability and other then the fact it has wings looks nothing like a cruising boat keel.
Product boats try to give owners a good balance of preformance and over all functionally.

Fin keel production boats in my opinion are better suited for long distance cruisers, blue water crossings, and club racers due to there characteristics for high preforamance.
Now I'm not saying that a wing keel boat has poor preforamance, but it's not an a Americas cup 12 meter design, it's I hybrid. I hope a don't get wing keeled sailboaters twisted up by this statement.

In short wing keel vs fin keel for what i believe your needs are wing keel would be a sound choice however I would not rule out a fin keel boat.
Given the choice wing keel i believe will give you better stability and over all performance for what you intend to use your boat for.

Hope this helps.
 

Kuwull

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Feb 17, 2020
10
Catalina Capri 22 Fernandina Beach, FL
Thanks, Captain Robbie, exactly what I was looking for. I'm an old purist from formula car racing for 30 years. Time to slow down and enjoy relaxation! I think a wing keel Capri 22 it will be.
 
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Likes: Capt Robbie
Jul 28, 2016
95
476
I sail a Capri 22 Standard Rig/Wing Keel - primarily used for club racing.

As others have noted, if you are interested in racing, understand that a Capri 22 with a fin keel will outpoint a Capri 22 with a wing keel - no question. If you aren't trying to squeeze every degree of upwind performance out of the boat, the differences are negligible. The wing keel will be slightly more tender, but not appreciably so.

When I downsized to my current boat, my plans included trailering the boat to remote areas where being able to ramp launch is critical. The fin keel makes this impractical for many boat launches that I want to use. If I had not been interested in this, I would have likely looked at a Capri 25.

I think the Capri 22 offers significnatly better sailing peformance than a Catalina 22, but either boat would be good potential fit.
 

Kuwull

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Feb 17, 2020
10
Catalina Capri 22 Fernandina Beach, FL
Thanks delling3! The votes are piling up for the wing keel and it pretty much answers my original statement about so many wing keels being sold, over the years. It also helps my purchase situation with so many more wings available with trailers.
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,945
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
Very difficult to get off of a grounding especially in mud
That statement is one of two things that matters in this discussion.
Just because somebody can stand there with a design sheet and say that the boat can point higher, does not mean that the person piloting the boat understands, and can apply the data in such a way as to see direct benefits from it. It was stated point blank, it's a cruising application.

Ease of loading and unloading take a much higher place in that discussion. In our case, it's the difference between a crane and freedom at the ramp. We are three to four feet lower on the trailer, and almost 5 feet lower than one of our brethren, a 28 with a fin. He's 1000 lbs heavier. We use that small detail to our full advantage. :)

A well sailed boat will come close to it's polars, phrf, and usually beat out a poorly sailed boat, and by understanding the rig, how it works, and more importantly, what it likes and doesn't like, will remove the this vs that arguments.
 
Sep 25, 2018
240
Catalina Capri 22 Capri EXPO 14.2 1282 Stony Point
While you can't just back up off a grounding with a wing, just back up moving the outboard left then right and wiggle out of the mud. I grounded getting into my marina at a low low tide and used this method to break free after just three wiggles. Sailed across the river and back and the tide was up allowing me into my slip. Still needed my winch to pull into the mud at the slip. Never seen a tide so low in the Hudson. I've worked and sailed the Hudson since 1968 so a long record of observations. Better to stay off the bottom in the first place. The power boats were still waiting while I had my after sail beer. Only draw 2' 8", they draw closer to 5 feet.
 
Jul 18, 2013
34
22
FWIW...Tipping the mast up is more of a pain than getting a fin-keeled boat on/off a trailer with correct keel guides, especially if you have to "Iwo Jima" the rig. My three "local" lake ramps have mast "cranes" for tipping up the rig, and that is still more work than the actual launch. I'm considering using the "mast up storage" at one lake, which should reduce the 1-hour rig/launch process to just 15 or 20 minutes. I have SR/FK.
 
Sep 30, 2013
3,232
1988 Catalina 22 central Florida
Good luck finding a ramp in Florida that's deep and steep enough to launch a fin keel. A swing keel is best for trailer sailing, wing is pretty close second, a fin is out of the question.
 

Kuwull

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Feb 17, 2020
10
Catalina Capri 22 Fernandina Beach, FL
Good luck finding a ramp in Florida that's deep and steep enough to launch a fin keel. A swing keel is best for trailer sailing, wing is pretty close second, a fin is out of the question.
That's for sure here in Amelia Island area. I was planning on using a local marina that also does dry storage and will load/unload trailerable for $95. each way. Planning on slipping the boat there except for getting out for hurricanes and doing trips to paradise, :)
 
  • Like
Likes: Gene Neill
May 17, 2021
8
Catalina 18 Chesapeake
Hi All - I am looking for a Capri 18. Here's what I am puzzled by. The wikipedia entry says: "The boat has a draft of 2.33 ft (0.71 m) with the standard wing keel fitted or 2.00 ft (0.61 m) with fin keel." The implication of many of these threads is that fins come with deeper draft than do wings. Is this Wikipedia entry incorrect? Looking at some online photos of fin keeled 18's it doesn't look that much more than 2 ft from the bottom of the fin to the waterline.

Also, on a more general note, my crackpot idea is to find a marina where I can have the boat rigged and on a trailer and then when I wish to sail, float it off the trailer on a boat ramp using either my car or a yard tractor. Is that realistic? Is 18 what I should be going for? I would be on the western shore of the Chesapeake.
 
Jul 31, 2010
35
Catalina Capri 22 39 Seneca, SC
On the Capri 18 with the standard "fin keel", the draft is 2'. I would consider it a shoal keel. My Capri 22 with the fin keel has a 4' draft.

I owned a Capri 18 for about 5 years before I purchased the 22. The sailing experience is significantly better on the 22. Maybe I never had the 18 dialed in properly but the boat always wanted to heel excessively, and gusts would cause it to head up into the wind. It was a constant fight to keep the boat steady in any amount of wind. I sail mostly single handed and I find the Capri 22 to be a much easier boat to sail.

The 18 with the short keel, whether wing or "fin" will be easier to launch. But find a marina that serves sailboats and you should be able to get the launch help you need.