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Sailboat Keel Shapes

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Bulb and Wing Keels
Sailboat Wing Keel

Photo © Tom Lochhaas

In the last two decades fin keels with a bulb and/or “wings” at the bottom have appeared more frequently on production sailboats. The bulb provides more ballast weight without the keel having to go deeper—thus these boats may be sailed in shallower waters. The wings at the trailing edge of the keel provide additional hydrodynamic stability.

Otherwise, bulb and wing keels have similar advantages and disadvantages as a fin keel when compared to a full keel.

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