A swing keel is a type of keel used on sailboats. It is designed to pivot up and down, allowing the boat to sail in shallow water.
A swing keel is made up of a heavy metal plate that is attached to the bottom of the boat by a hinge. The plate can pivot up and down, which changes the depth of the keel.
When the keel is lowered down, the sailboat gains more stability and is able to sail more efficiently. This is because the keel counteracts the force of the wind on the sails, preventing the boat from being pushed sideways or “heeling” excessively.
However, when sailing in shallow water, or when the boat needs to be docked, the keel can be lifted up. This allows the boat to sail in water that is as little as a few feet deep, making it ideal for exploring shallow coves, reefs or other areas that traditional sailboats can’t access.
Lifting the keel also allows the boat to be easily transported on a trailer or taken out of the water without hitting the bottom.
The swing keel on a sailboat can be operated using either a hand crank or an automatic winch system. The hand crank is used to raise and lower the keel manually, while the automatic winch system is powered by an electric motor and controlled by switches located in the cockpit.
In summary, a swing keel is a versatile and practical addition to any sailboat. It allows the boat to sail in shallow water and provides stability while sailing, making it an excellent choice for sailors who enjoy exploring coastal areas and cruising in shallow water.