Year of Status
No. of Crew
No. of Trapeze
Typically 2-4 (depending on class)
Typically none (depending on class)
Typically between 6 – 9 m (depending on class)
Keelboats are versatile sailboats, characterised by a fixed keel that extends down into the water from the hull. The keel provides stability and counteracts the force of the wind on the sails, making them popular for both racing and cruising. Keelboats come in a variety of sizes, typically ranging in length from around 18 feet to over 60 feet. They can be used in various bodies of water, from lakes and rivers to coastal waters and offshore sailing.
Keelboats are designed with different types of keels, such as fin keels, full keels, and wing keels, which offer unique advantages in terms of stability, speed, and manoeuvrability. They can be sailed single-handedly, with a small crew or a large crew, depending on the size and complexity of the boat. Keelboats are popular for sailing schools and clubs because they offer a more stable learning platform compared to dinghies, which can capsize more easily.
The J/24, designed in 1977 by Rod Johnstone, is one of the most popular keelboat classes globally, renowned for its competitive racing and strong international community. Keelboats participate in numerous races and regattas worldwide, including prestigious events like the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the Fastnet Race. The keelboat class typically features larger boats with crews of 2-4 sailors. The teamwork and coordination required to sail these boats at a high level make for a particularly exciting spectator sport, with the larger size and stability allowing for closer, more strategic racing.
Many keelboats feature a cabin, which provides shelter and accommodation for the crew during longer voyages or overnight stays, making them popular for extended cruising. Thanks to its stable design, ease of handling, and adaptability to various sailing activities, the keelboat class offers an enjoyable and rewarding sailing experience for people of all skill levels and experiences.