Olson 34 Winged Keel info

kevinmccoole

Junior Member
I am looking at an Olson 34 with a winged keel (4'11" draft).

I appreciate any feedback, either positive or negative, aside from not being able to point quite as well.....

I understand very few were made.

Appreciate any info!

Kevin
 
Winged keels

I am looking at an Olson 34 with a winged keel (4'11" draft).

I appreciate any feedback, either positive or negative, aside from not being able to point quite as well.....

I understand very few were made.

Appreciate any info!

Kevin

My opinion is that winged keels got put on production boats without much real thought about how the boat would be used. If the water's always deep I guess it makes no difference. I live in Florida, and a few ears ago I watched a grounded Catalina with a winged keel sit on the sandy bottom while a Tow Boat US bozo tried to pull the boat off while talking on his cell phone. He must have been talking to "headquarters." After a couple of hours he got the Catalina off, but in the doing he had damaged the boat's rudder so badly that the boat had to be towed to a boat yard, hauled out and the rudder either repaired or replaced. Maybe for America's Cup racing a winged keel had its place. I guess the question you have to ask yourself is: "Are they still putting winged keels on production boats?" I don't think they are.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
I have never seen a wing keel on an O-34. What a draft reduction of about a foot from the standard fin, the pointing might be reduced slightly. How much reduced/changed I would not know.

Where are you (or where is the boat)? Might a real good thing in Florida...
Is there a listing on line that we can look at?

Regards,
Loren
 

Slick470

Member III
I haven't come across any of the Olson's with a wing keel. Would be very interesting to see pictures.
 

Rick R.

Contributing Partner
Wing keel

Hi Kevin,

We have a winged keel on our 32-200. The draft is 4.5 feet.

Haven't noticed anything bad about it. The boat points very high.

We are in Florida with a sand bottom so thankfully no serious groundings where we couldn't just back off.
Rick
 

Seth

Sustaining Partner
It is a trade off

Winged keels are no longer in fashion and were an attempt to get a shallower draft boat without giving up too much performance. In fact they have a lot more drag than a normal fin or bulb keel, so in light air they are noticeably worse performers. Unless draft is major concern I would stay away, and if it is, just be aware that the boar will not perform quite as well as a normal fin. The only boat where it seemed to work was on the one 12 meter (Australia), and those boats have a totally different hull shape than most any other boats-certainly way different than yours. There was a lot of hype surrounding that keel and it became a marketing tool during the years after that America's Cup. They are not used anywhere anymore, which is telling.

S
 

Seth

Sustaining Partner
Catalina continues offering "wing Keels" as their shoal draft option, on new boats.

OK. GENERALLY out of fashion. And the only "well known successful racing yacht" was the 12 meter Australia. I stand corrected.
 
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Seth

Sustaining Partner
Sorry

Ouch!:eek:

Looks pretty fashionable under our boat...lol!



Didn't really mean to insult users of them. Just making the point that IMHO the benefits don't outweigh the advantages considering today's technology. It does not make boats that have them bad at all. I'm just saying that if it were me I would go with something different. They were a decent solution given the state of the art at the time.

The most important thing here is this is just my opinion, and often I stand alone with them. I am sure lots of smarter guys may disagree and justify their position as well.

Sorry:oops:
 

Rick R.

Contributing Partner
Didn't really mean to insult users of them. Just making the point that IMHO the benefits don't outweigh the advantages considering today's technology. It does not make boats that have them bad at all. I'm just saying that if it were me I would go with something different. They were a decent solution given the state of the art at the time.

The most important thing here is this is just my opinion, and often I stand alone with them. I am sure lots of smarter guys may disagree and justify their position as well.

Sorry:oops:


No worries Seth.

I would like like to sail on the same boat with a fin and see if I could sense the difference.
 

Mort Fligelman

Member III
A piece of useless information

Seth: More or less the the last cup match to use the winged keel was 1987, Kookaburra III vs Stars and Stripes, Freemantle, Australia.......it really proved nothing IMHO as it was also the death knell for the 12 Meter boats.......we will never know if it was a fluke Fin vs. wing, or all of the theories of full vs, Fin...attached rudder vs Spade......and on and on....there is a 1990 34' 10" Ericson.....the last itteration of the 35-3 built by Pacific Seacraft in the yard at my marina with a wing keel.....I spoke to its PO who claims that the boat "pointed well", which is of course his opinion, but as long as he was satisfied, and anyone who owns a vessel with a wing keel, or any other is satisfied, I feel You hit the nail on the head.....

For grins......there was quite a dissertation on the "end plate" effect which really was a precursor to the wing keel in a book written by C.J. Marcaj....a friend of mine modified a 24 ft Columbia Contender and it went quite well.....a distinct inprovement in windward performance......

MY .02 on the subject which I will let RIP
 

Slick470

Member III
I think a lot of this comes down to how and why the wing is designed. For us normal boat owners, the wing keel is a compromise as the boat was most likely designed around a deeper fin keel. The wing allows for shallower draft while keeping the weight down low where it is more useful. A lot of the times a boat is designed around a fin and has a shoal keel option the keel shape is also very, very different between the two designs. With the wing, the keel options can be closer in shape except for the bottom third or so.

In theory, the higher aspect wing keel will be more efficient than a short stubby shoal draft keel, but this may or may not make up for the extra drag that the wing causes. I would think that it does in most cases.

All things considered, the boat was designed around the deep fin keel and will almost always perform better in that configuration than the same boat with a shorter winged keel. Upwind, the fin keel boat will be able to point higher and have less side slip than it's sistership with a wing, or centerboard, or shoal keel. I've raced quite a bit on two different boats (one with a CB and the other with a shoal keel) against fin keel sisterships. Both boats were able to keep up (and sometimes outperform) off the wind, but once the boats turned upwind and started tacking, the deep keel versions would slowly work themselves away from us. Happened every time.

With the 12 meters, the boats were already at the max keel draft dimensions. My understanding is that in that case, the wings on those keels allowed for a bit of end plate effect and possibly some lift at certain angles of attack. Because the boats were different designs to the same rule, it may have made all of the difference, been a contributing factor, or had nothing to do with it at all. I'm sure there are many books and articles on the subject.

All said, unless you are racing, the performance compromise of wing keel vs a fin keel may never matter and if you live in a place like I do, the shallower draft may allow you to get more places than the fin keel would. There is something to be said for that.
 

Blue Chip

Member III
32-200 W-Keeel

One small advantage we find on our W-K is it seems to provide a bit of "FLOPPER STOPPER" action upon occasion when anchored out.

Also, when you have a haul-out...it really affords a great chance to meet everyone in the yard as they will all gather around to stare and mutter.
 

Seth

Sustaining Partner
Nicely said

:egrin:
I think a lot of this comes down to how and why the wing is designed. For us normal boat owners, the wing keel is a compromise as the boat was most likely designed around a deeper fin keel. The wing allows for shallower draft while keeping the weight down low where it is more useful. A lot of the times a boat is designed around a fin and has a shoal keel option the keel shape is also very, very different between the two designs. With the wing, the keel options can be closer in shape except for the bottom third or so.

In theory, the higher aspect wing keel will be more efficient than a short stubby shoal draft keel, but this may or may not make up for the extra drag that the wing causes. I would think that it does in most cases.

All things considered, the boat was designed around the deep fin keel and will almost always perform better in that configuration than the same boat with a shorter winged keel. Upwind, the fin keel boat will be able to point higher and have less side slip than it's sistership with a wing, or centerboard, or shoal keel. I've raced quite a bit on two different boats (one with a CB and the other with a shoal keel) against fin keel sisterships. Both boats were able to keep up (and sometimes outperform) off the wind, but once the boats turned upwind and started tacking, the deep keel versions would slowly work themselves away from us. Happened every time.

With the 12 meters, the boats were already at the max keel draft dimensions. My understanding is that in that case, the wings on those keels allowed for a bit of end plate effect and possibly some lift at certain angles of attack. Because the boats were different designs to the same rule, it may have made all of the difference, been a contributing factor, or had nothing to do with it at all. I'm sure there are many books and articles on the subject.

All said, unless you are racing, the performance compromise of wing keel vs a fin keel may never matter and if you live in a place like I do, the shallower draft may allow you to get more places than the fin keel would. There is something to be said for that.

Is this the closest thing we have to a "like" button: :egrin: ?
 
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kevinmccoole

Junior Member
Thanks all for your thoughts...

A belated thanks for all your thoughts. I decided to buy the boat. I will send pictures. I certainly would've liked a fin keel model instead, but this boat was so clean, was in fresh water all her life, and the price was definitely right. I'm also at a point in my sailing/racing career that I am interest in doing more cruising. The WK configuration looks very efficient to me which also implies that George Olson had a hand in the design. We'll see.

Another question I have is she needs a new set of sails...she has a doyle stack pack main that I will keep for cruising. Any feedback/suggestions on sailing lofts that have had a successful history of building fast sails for the 911 and 34 would be appreciated.

Last question...I saw in the thread that there is another WK owner. Be interested in your PHRF rating. My assumption is that the WK will add 5-10 points to the rating.

I will post pictures soon..

Thanks again
 

Rick R.

Contributing Partner
PHRF Rating

The rating on our 32-200 is 177 (issued by the GYA (Gulf Yachting Association).
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
It's been over a year since the purchase...

So, how does it sail?

Regards,
Loren
 
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