What is the fin under a sailboat called?

The fin under a sailboat is known as a keel. The keel is one of the most essential parts of a sailboat and plays a vital role in keeping the vessel stable and balanced.

The keel is a long, thin, flat structure that runs along the bottom of the boat, extending down into the water. It is designed to create resistance against the sideways forces of the wind and water, which allows the sailboat to move forward without being blown sideways. The shape and size of the keel will vary depending on the size and design of the sailboat, as well as the conditions in which it will be used.

There are two main types of keels: fixed and retractable. Fixed keels are permanently attached to the boat and are typically made of lead or steel for maximum stability. Retractable keels, on the other hand, can be raised and lowered as needed, allowing the sailboat to navigate shallow waters without damaging the keel. Retractable keels are often found on smaller sailboats and can be made from various materials, such as wood or fiberglass.

The keel also provides a counterbalance to the sailboat’s mast and sails. As wind fills the sails and forces the boat to lean to one side, the weight of the keel acts as a balancing force to keep the boat from tipping over.

In addition to providing stability and balance, the keel also affects the directional stability of the sailboat. The shape and position of the keel can influence the boat’s ability to stay on course and track through the water. Generally, a deeper keel will provide greater stability and resistance against the forces of the wind and waves, but may also make the boat slower and less maneuverable.

Finally, the keel is an important factor in determining the sailboat’s draft, or the distance from the waterline to the bottom of the keel. A deeper draft can make it harder to navigate shallow waters, while a shallower draft may limit the sailboat’s speed and stability.

Overall, the keel is a critical component of any sailboat, as it provides stability, balance, and directional control. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a beginner, understanding the keel and its role in sailing is vital to mastering this exciting water sport.

Have something to add or correct? Please let us know by clicking here.
* See disclaimer in the footer of the site for use of this content.

Related Questions


Latest Posts

Don't Miss

Our Newsletter

Get the latest boating tips, fishing resources and featured products in your email from BoatingWorld.com!