How do sailboats with retractable keels work

Sailing yachts - an explanation of the terms of this boat category

In order to make your search for the right boat even more effective, we regularly present the various boat categories to you in our news - today we explain the term "sailing yachts".

10/16/2015 2:10 PM Age: 6 years

Sailing yachts - here the Hanse 315

Sailing yachts and dinghies - what's the difference?

Larger sailing boats from around 10 meters in length that have a keel are called sailing yachts. Sailing dinghies, on the other hand, have a sword instead of the keel, i.e. a plate that is let into the water vertically and lengthways through the hull in order to reduce drift.

The keel types of sailing yachts

Sailing yachts can have different types of keels. A keel is much heavier than a sword, so it can also reduce the steep inclination of the sailboat, the heel, to one side. While swords can be caught up if necessary in order to drive in very shallow waters, only the rarely used lifting keels have this function.

Usually, either long keel or short keel (fin keel) are used on sailing yachts. Older yachts or classically built yachts usually have a long keel. This takes up to three quarters of the trunk length. In contrast, modern yachts usually have a short keel / fin keel. Another weight is attached to the bottom of this shorter model with the keel bomb.


Sailing yachts that are used in regattas usually have a swivel keel that can even be turned at right angles to the long side of the boat. These keels are used to distribute the weight optimally when the yacht leans sharply to one side, and at the same time to minimize the total weight.

Sailing yachts have seldom keel keels or double keels. These are two short fin keels that are attached to both sides of the hull and on which the yacht can also stand. If the water level fluctuates significantly, this can prevent the yacht from falling dry.


The rigging of sailing yachts

Sailing yachts usually have one or two masts, which are mainly driven with Schratsails. These are in the rest position along the ship's axis. The sloop, which has a mainsail and a foresail, is the most common for single-masted sailing yachts. Two-masted sailing yachts are called schooner, ketch or yawl, depending on the rigging, with the rear mast of the schooners being higher, while the rear mast of the ketch and yawl is smaller. Yawls are also called one and a half masters because the rear mast is significantly lower and stands outside the construction waterline.


Mega sailing yachts

With their rigging, very large sailing yachts are often based on historical ships and can also have three or four masts. One of the largest sailing yachts of all is the regatta ship Phocea (see picture above) with four masts. It has a total length of 75.13 meters and was once built for the one-handed transatlantic race. Today it is privately owned and can be chartered for over 200,000 euros a week.

By: I. Fischer for best-boats24