Why Your Swing Keel Lock Bolt Won’t Save You in a Knockdown

If you spend much time around other C-22 owners or in online C-22 forums, you’re bound to hear the following myth over and over. It goes something like this…

The Catalina 22 uses a locking bolt to keep the keel down in case of a knock-down.

It’s been debated on and off over the years from various perspectives but the myth hasn’t been silenced yet because it still rears its ugly head with alarming frequency. I won’t claim that this report will bury the myth for good, but for the benefit of new owners or those who are still confused by the different arguments, I’ll attempt to refute them.

A knockdown is what happens when a sailboat gets pushed over 90° or more by wind and/or waves. Most modern sailboats are designed with enough ballast to right themselves in a knockdown and many veteran racers have experienced them first-hand. If the sailboat gets pushed over even further to the point where it cannot right itself, it is considered capsized. This report is about how the C-22 swing keel lock bolt can do little to help the sailboat self-right in a knockdown and, in fact, contribute to a capsize.

You need to know what to do if this happens!
You need to know what to do if this happens!

I call it a myth because that claim is not made by Catalina Yachts in the C-22 literature and because the design of the so-called “lock” bolt is such that it could not fulfill that claim under most circumstances. I will admit that I’m not a marine accident expert or a licensed engineer, but this myth doesn’t need either one to debunk it, just some common sense and high school level math skills.

This report takes that myth head-on to prove it’s nonsense. I’ll give you some background on the myth and then we’ll test the myth against three criteria:

  1. Intent – What was the original intention of the design of the lock bolt?
  2. Design – Is it physically possible for the lock bolt to hold the keel stationary in a knockdown? In an inversion?
  3. Evidence – Is there credible evidence that the lock bolt has, in fact, held keels stationary in real-world accidents?

The preceding is the introduction to my 18-page ebook Why Your Swing Keel Lock Bolt Won’t Save You in a Knockdown. Written with the help of a licensed professional engineer, it’s the result of weeks of research and mathematical analysis at the level of The error in a popular DIY DVD that will slow down your C-22. If you like that blog post, I think you’ll like this ebook as well.

After reading this report, you will know:

  • The truth about the lock bolt, what it’s for and what it’s not for.
  • Whether the lock bolt can produce enough clamping force to hold your keel from accidentally retracting if your C-22 gets knocked down or turns turtle.
  • What can happen with your keel if you hit an underwater object while under sail and what can happen in a knockdown.
  • How to prevent expensive, potentially catastrophic hull damage from a free-swinging keel.

You can get this first installment in my Myth Busted Series absolutely free! Just click the button below and the ebook will open in your browser where you can save a copy on your device or print it.


One Comment Add yours

  1. adamsboatworks says:

    Very interesting article. I have recently bought a C22 that did not have a keel. It fell out at the dock into 4′ of mud and was not retreived. Having recently located one and prepareing to refurbish it I am looking at doing it properly.

    Thanks for this site and all your info to us $tingy sailors also.


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