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Daggerboards - Dang Heavy!!!

What are daggerboards exactly? According to wikipedia: "A daggerboard is a removable vertical keel that is inserted through a "trunk" in the center of a vessel's hull, usually amidships. Daggerboards are usually found in small sailing craft such as day sailers, which are easily handled by a single person. Daggerboards are not usually ballasted but are locked in place by a clip or pin. Unlike a centreboard, which can be set at different angles to the hull of the boat, daggerboards are generally limited to a single perpendicular position relative to the hull. If a daggerboard is located off center, it is called a leeboard or a bilgeboard".

Got it? I know, right?

What I've been told is that the daggerboards we have - one on each side of the boat - are used to give us more speed and efficiency in certain wind conditions while we are sailing. Again, wikipedia says: "The purpose of the daggerboard (or any keel) is to balance the force of the wind on the sails. Without a daggerboard or keel, a sailboat could not sail up-wind and would simply be blown sideways".

I'll confess that it is a bit of a mystery to me exactly how all the wind and water forces combined with sails, keels, and daggerboards work together to make a boat go. Before we started all this I just thought that boats sail whichever way the wind blows, kind of like a hot air balloon. But it turns out, that depending on how sails are rigged (location, direction they are mounted, and what type of sail) and trimmed (tighted or loosened), sail boats can go almost any direction they need to except directly upwind (into the wind).

The direction the boat goes in relation to the wind is called the point,reach, or haul. This might help you understand

So our daggerboards, when lowered, allow us to shrink that no-sail zone into a smaller cone heading towards the wind.

When we put the boat out on the hard, we took out the daggerboards so we could inspect them and the pockets they fit in, make any repairs needed, and repaint them. A couple of posts ago when I said we almost had all the paint done, this was the last little bit we had to do, paint more barrier coat inside the daggerboard pockets. We got that done over the weekend and checked it this morning to be sure it had cured. It has.

John painting inside the pockets with a little tiny roller on a very long pole.

A look from underneath up inside the daggerboard pocket at the tiny roller on the end of the long pole.

So, now to getting them reinstsalled. That means lifting dang heavy boards and carefully putting them into the pockets they fit in - without dinging them or the boat up. While I type this, John is working on making sure the blocks (pulleys) we will use for this, and that control our ongoing management of the boards, are working well. Then he will hook up the boards and I'll come out to work the winch for him. Our friend Thor came over the other day to help lift the boards up into a staging position.

Hopefully we will find a time today when the wind dies down so we can do this! Stay tuned!


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