If you are looking for a sailboat, you might want to consider one that features a lifting keel.
Lifting keels allow you to explore shallower waters, reduce drag, or other advantages when the keel is lifted.
Here are the boats you should check out first!
What is a Lifting Keel?
As you probably know, the keel of a boat is the longitudinal structural device on the bottom of your hull.
On a sailboat, the keel serves as an underwater fluid machine that helps to minimize the lateral motion of the vessel that is under sail, as well as acting as a counterweight to the lateral force that comes from the wind on the sails which can cause it to roll to the side.
A lifting keel, sometimes known as a centerboard, is a keel that retracts into the hull of a sailboat or pivots and allows for certain advantages.
A lifting keel’s main function is to provide a lift to counter the lateral force that is created by the sails. This allows the sailboat to move other directions other than downwind.
Because these keels lift into the hull, you would be able to take your vessel into shallower waters.
In addition, a lifting keel is ideal for:
- Moving the center of resistance.
- Reducing drag.
- Removing the boat from the water and trailering it.
Centerboards are different than other types of keels, such as a ballast keel, because they do not contribute to the overall stability of the vessel because they are not as heavy and instead they only provide lateral resistance.
Great Boats with Lifting Keels Under $30,000
If you are looking for a boat that features a lifting keel and all that comes with it, you are in luck!
Below, I have compiled a list of great boats that feature a lifting keel.
1. Parker 235 Mini Cruiser
The Parker 235 Mini Cruiser is a small sailboat that should be great for sailors who would like to trailer their boat and explore multiple destinations.
This sailboat exhibits excellence both afloat and while onshore. This features high performance due to its long waterline, stable hull, and a deep low center of gravity.
This boat features a custom boat trailer and is easy to launch and as well as to trailer.
This boat is 23’ 5” in length. Despite its smaller size, there is no compromising with the internal accommodations. The boat featured 2 berths, a galley, and a head compartment.
This boat also has a lifting keel which reduces the draft by 3’ 6”.
This boat can be found used at a price of around $20,000.00.
2. Hunter 22
The Hunter 22 sailboat is a perfect small daysailer that features the capacity to stay aboard overnight. This vessel is ideal for up to five passengers and features a large cabin.
This boat is 21’ 4” in length and is easy to launch, rig, and trailer when needed.
This boat features a lifting keel that reduces draft by 2’ 6” when lifted up.
This boat has a starting price of $29,990.00.
3. BayRaider 20
The BayRaider 20 manufactured by Swallow Yachts, is a small open sailboat that is ideal for families or sailors who are looking for something stable and safe.
This boat has features that make it ideal for beginner sailors including the ability to keep the ballast tanks full for added stability.
This vessel also features a two-masted ketch that gives an advantage over a single-mast rig because it allows for a quick reduction of sail.
This boat is almost 20 feet long and is light enough to be trailered or handled by one person.
This boat features a lifting keel that reduces the draft by 3.8 feet when lifted.
This boat has a starting price of $27,750.00.
4. Catalina 22 Sport
Catalina strives to encourage sailors who are interested in racing with the Catalina 22 Sport. This boat is small and measures at 23’ 10”.
This boat also has a cabin that features berths for up to 4 adults. This boat is a great choice for those looking for speed and easy maneuverability while still offering the ability to stay aboard overnight.
This boat has a lifting keel that reduces the draft of the boat by 3’ 2” while lifted.
This boat has a starting price of $23,550.00.
5. Marlow-Hunter 15
The Marlow-Hunter 15 is a safe and versatile daysailer for families or individuals who new to sailing. This boat was designed with sailing novices in mind and features high sides, a contoured self-bailing cockpit, and a wide beam that was built for comfort.
These safety features will allow peace of mind for parents and brand new sailors.
This vessel is also easy to trailer, rig and launch.
With a length of 14’ 6”, you can fit a crew of up to four onboard but this boat can also be handled solo.
This vessel features a lifting keel that reduces the draft by 3 feet when lifted.
This boat features a highly affordable starting price of $10,123.00.
Models Between $30,000.00 and $100,000.00:
6. Feeling 326
The Feeling 326 was manufactured between the years of 1987 and 1999. This boat is a cruising sailboat that is 32’ 6” in length and comes with 2 cabins, 6 berths, and 1 head.
This boat is great if you plan to go out for long journeys with multiple people.
Even though this boat is an older model, you should still be able to expect quality sailing from them.
This boat also features a lifting centerboard that reduces the draft by 2’ 7”.
Depending on the year and the seller of the vessel, these boats are selling for an average price of between $30,000 and $45,000.00.
7. Norseboat 21.5
The Norseboat 21.5 is the largest model in the Norseboat line with a length of 21’ 10”. You can get either a Cabin or an Open model for this boat.
You can customize this vessel based on your needs and other factors. You can construct a standard or semi-custom Norseboat.
This boat features a lifting centerboard that reduces draft by 2’ 4” when lifted.
Depending on the layout and chosen options, this boat has a starting price of $37,490.00.
Boats Over $100,000.00:
8. Alubat Ovni 365:
From the manufacturer Alubat, the Ovni 365 combines their experience in centerboards and high performance to create a vessel that is both comfortable and high performing.
This boat is great whether you are traveling upwind or downwind. This boat is great for both long trips or for simply cruising up and down the coast.
This boat is 39.17 feet long and features a galley as well as a front and rear cabin.
This boat features a lifting centerboard that reduces the draft by about 5.18 feet when lifted.
Depending on the year and specifications of this vessel, the price could range from $100,000 to $300,000.
9. Southerly 42 RST
Southerly makes a mono-hull 42 RST that is an offshore deck saloon sailboat that was built for cruising. This boat has a length of 42’ 2” and could be equipped with either 2-3 cabins, 4-8 berths, and comes with 2 heads.
This boat is great for taking multiple people out on the water. While these are no longer in production, they were made between the years 2007 and 2017.
This boat has a lifting keel that reduces the draft by 6’ 1” when the keel is up.
Depending on the year and the condition, this boat could cost a minimum of $250,000 but if often over $300,000.00.
10. Gunfleet 43
The Gunfleet 43 is a top of the line vessel with many options for customization. This boat is large and luxurious with a length of 44’ 1”.
This boat features a standard layout with either 2 or 3 cabins, or you could get a custom-built version that also has 3 cabins.
This vessel offers high-end luxurious features that are ideal for long trips and even vessels that you would consider for living aboard.
This line features an optional lifting keel that would reduce draft by 4’ 4” when lifted.
This luxurious and custom-crafted vessel has a large price tag of over $800,000.00.
Keel Types and Performance:
The lifting keel is not the only keel that is available for your vessel. Each keel type is built for a different type of performance.
Some of these keel types include:
- Fin Keel with Spade Rudder
- Fin Keel with Skeg Rudder
- Long Keel
- Lifting or Swing Keel
- Twin or Bilge Keel
- Wing Keel
Make sure before you buy your vessel, you consider the type of performance you are looking for on your vessel and research the ideal keel for you.
This can help you when selecting which boat to purchase and will help you get the maximum performance and use out of your vessel.
If you do not buy the boat with the proper keel type, then you will not get the necessary performance needed. Some keels are made to be more stable, some are made to be more versatile, and some such as the lifting keel is made to be able to be optional depending on what type of activity you plan to achieve in your vessel.
A lifting keel is a great option for those who are looking for shallow draught, speed, efficiency, and the ability to plane your vessel early.
The lifting keel is not ideal if you are planning to use it to offer additional stability. If you are looking for additional stability, you will want to look at different and heavier keel options.
If that sounds ideal for you, you will benefit from one of the many daysailers or overnight vessels that offer a lifting keel listed above.
Shelby Sullivan is a freelance journalist who specializes in boating and recreational watercraft. She captains her family pontoon boat in her spare time with her fiancee and dog on the freshwater lakes of the United States. Shelby prefers swimming to suntanning, and you can most likely find her reading in the shade of the pontoon awning.