What does a centerboard do?

Purpose. A centreboard (often called a lifting foil in a modern racing dinghy) is used to provide lift to counter the lateral force from the sails. This is required for sailboats to move in directions other than downwind, since the force of the sail is never closer than 45 degrees to the apparent wind.

How does a centerboard keel work?

On centerboard sailboats, the centerboard functions like a keel to keep the boat from being blown sideways. (All sailboats need a keel of the board for this reason: the narrow, flat surface of the board or keel produces little drag when the boat moves forward but resists motion sideways.)

What’s a centerboard sailboat?

A sailboat centerboard is a retractable fin that protrudes from the bottom of the hull. The centerboard keeps the boat stable and on course. Centerboards are an important and often overlooked part of a sailboat, but they’re essential to stability and effective navigation.

When should I raise my centerboard?

So, the idea of raising the board 2-4 inches when you can no longer hold the boat down is an attempt to reduce the lateral resistance enough to get keep the boat flatter. You will point a little lower, but won’t actually won’t be slipping sideways thru the water as much as when you heeling a lot.

How does a centerboard work on a sailboat?

Having the ability to raise and lower the centerboard allows the the boat to operate in shallow waters when lifted, while maintaining good upwind sailing characteristics with the centerboard down. Similarly, lifting the centerboard reduces the wetted surface area, resulting in lower drag while sailing downwind.

How does a centerboard create lift?

Lift is produced because the keel has a certain angle of attack relative to the flow of the water. As your boat moves forward, it is also moving a bit downwind. Sailors usually refer to this “sideways” movement as leeway.

Do catamarans need keels?

Monohulls by definition require a keel, a heavy piece of iron or lead that goes deep into the water. Catamarans do not require this, and therefore tend to have a “shallower draft”.

What is the difference between a daggerboard and centerboard?

On a sailboat, the difference between a daggerboard and a centerboard is how they are moved into position. A daggerboard is lifted and raised vertically (up and down) through a slot in the hull; a centerboard, on the other hand, pivots or swings into place.

What is a daggerboard on a catamaran?

A daggerboard is a retractable centreboard used by various sailing craft. While other types of centreboard may pivot to retract, a daggerboard slides in a casing. The shape of the daggerboard converts the forward motion into a windward lift, countering the leeward push of the sail.