Name: Roger Moore
RE: Swing Keel Shallow Water
I had never heard the concern regarding pinning the Keel untill I found this site about a year ago and started reading the postings surrounding this issue. When I bought by SJ in '82, I asked the previous owner about the keel pin. His response was "don't worry about it, I have never used it and have had no problems". I guess ignorance is bliss, or I'm just lucky. Since we have always sailed in the panhandle of Florida, there are many shallow areas in the bays that we run accross regularly depending on tides and constant shifting of the bottom due to storms and hurricanes. The only time that I will pin my keeel is when I go gulf side. Otherwise it stays unpinned. I am completely attuned to the sound / feel as the keel begins to touch the bottom. We are quickly able to react and raise the keel enough to allow a quick change in course and then lower it again. I am not a raiser and am on alert when at the helm and am positioned to release the mainsheet, or point further into the wind at a moments notice to offset wind or wave threats. Even though I have had many situations with healing such that water is comming over the gunwhales, I have never had a situation in which I thought I had lost control of the boat and was in danger of flipping. When the winds are in excess of 18 knots, I don't cleat the main.
So for me, I will heed the warnings and stories of fellow San Juan sailors, but will continue to sail the inland waterways of the Florida Panhandle "unpinned".
May the wind always be at you back......
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