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H26 Swing Keel and Heel/Lean

Aug 12, 2019
Hunter H26 Houston
Hello Everyone,

I've got a 1994 Hunter H26 and I am trying to learn to sail. We took the boat out for the first time this year and only my third time sailing it so all of this is still new to me.

How much rope should the keel take when lowered?
It only took like 9-12" of rope leaving us concerned that is might not be down all the way. I pulled it up multiple times and could feel it hit the bottom of the boat but it never took much rope going down. We reefed the main and felt like we caught some good wind without flopping over ridiculously so we feel like the keel was doing it job.

How far can the boat be safely leaned over?
We hit 20 degrees on multiple occasions.
May 24, 2004
CC 30 South Florida
I am under the impression that H26 and H260 have a water ballast tank and just use a center board for pointing ability. a ballasted retractable keel usually requires a winch and a wire instead of rope. Ok, it is important that right after launching you fill the tank completely full as a in a partially filled tank there will be weight shifts. The center board plays no part in maintaining the boat upright and it just serves to offset drift under sail. When motoring or running with the wind behind you can raise the centerboard to reduce drag. Sometimes when the boat is kept in the water and it is not used frequently marine growth can prevent the center board from sliding up or down. Take a dive under the boat and observe how the center board is operating. The boat can heel probably more that it would feel comfortable but these Hunter boats sail faster when upright. I know the water ballasted boats feel a little tender but I really don't know how far you can heel them. I don't know how forgiving they may be.