Deep fin keel and balanced rudder

This configuration offers greater speeds and improved manoeuvrability in harbour and is widespread today. The hull frames are trapezoidal in the bow section and wide and flat towards the stern, a design which is good for length along the waterline (and hence speed) and that promotes surfing, but that reduces comfort on board. These boats do not carve through the waves but rather bang hard against the water. They are noisy and uncomfortable to sail, but since the difference in comfort only becomes apparent on extended voyages the average sailor is unlikely to notice.

As far as the small contact area between keel and hull and the completely unprotected rudder are concerned, it seems astonishing that some skippers are prepared to set out on extended blue water voyages without even an emergency rudder on board.

Fin keel boats are easily steered by windvane systems in as much as the boats are very responsive to the helm and steering impulses are therefore converted to course corrections promptly and quickly. The same applies to autopilots, although the more rapid yawing of some fin keel boats can test the intelligence of the electronics to its limits.

Extreme yachts that are designed to plane are too much of a handful for windvane systems (see The ultimate limits of windvane steering, p 78): only the highest specification autopilot motors and hydraulic pumps have the power and speed necessary to keep them on course.

The hull lines of this Sparkman & Stephens guarantee comfortable sailing

The seaworthiness of classic Colin Archer yachts is undisputed; Hans Christian moored in Chesapeake Bay in 1996

A Concordia from Abeking & Rasmussen at Rockport Marina, Maine in 1996

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