Dufour Insider: Keels

IMG_6204It’s obvious to see that you get a sexy, well-built hull, and a spacious and finely crafted interior, when you buy a Dufour, but it’s also important to note that we take just as much pride in how our boats look and perform below the waterline as they do above. And nothing makes a bigger impact on both speed and stability underway than the keel.

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But as you can see here, Dufour keels are as sexy as our hulls. I mean, doesn’t that keel just look fast? It is. And you know why? Because a team of highly skilled designers and naval architects have crunched the numbers to produce some of the fastest and most stable keel shapes you can find on any high-performance cruising boats.

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It’s no easy feat to maximize speed and stability with a heavy piece metal that must cut through the water beneath the waterline. But, as you can see above, the narrow chord length of the deep fin is designed to produce maximum lift while and the long narrow shape of the heavy bulb is engineered to maximize stability and reduce drag. In fact, a good portion of the boat’s overall displacement is located in the bulb. And that’s something you may not see, but will certainly feel when you’re steering upwind in a good breeze. A Dufour with a keel like this above will dig in and take off like a rocket. While a boat with a keel like this…

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…will not perform the same way. You’ll feel it in the helm. The helm on a boat with a keel like this will probably feel a bit more sluggish in a breeze. But a Dufour with a keel like this…..

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will come alive. It’s simply a matter of physics.IMG_8778

The same can be said of a keel like this. Yes, it does provide some stability just from its sheer size, and it does counter balance the sideways force created by sailing upwind but, it’s also safe to say that a similar-sized Dufour with a sophisticated bulb keel is probably going to be faster, stiffer, more stable, and more fun to sail than a boat with a keel like what’s pictured above.

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Now there’s no denying that a boat with a heavy T-bulb keel like this one pictured above has all sorts of upwind performance benefits. However, nothing is more prone to catching (and holding on to) everything from lobster-pot lines to speed-sapping kelp than a keel like this.

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Dufour keels are designed to provide the best of both worlds–superior performance (and single rudder protection) while also being much better at shedding stray lines. And as anyone who has ever had to go over the side to free a line from a keel can attest–it’s no fun. Having a keel that’s not prone to catching lines is vital.

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It’s also very important to note that Dufour uses some of the most robust stainless-steel keel bolts you can get and each bolt attaches to the hull with multiple locking screws. The keel-to-hull connection is further strengthened by the fact that the bolts are offset to spread the loads of the keel evenly throughout the hull structure.

 

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Even the 56-foot flagship 560 has this kind of ultra-high performance keel. Why would you settle for anything else?

3 thoughts on “Dufour Insider: Keels

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