RC Canting Keel Mechanism

This topic was inspired by a comment Ryan made regarding the fact that I had not detailed the mechanical system of a canting keel boat; this is only a begining and will be enhanced as time goes by.
Grunta Mckinnon of Wind Warrior is building the production Ultimate Warrior ,the first production canting keel boat, and has contributed to this forum in a couple of places notably under the topic of “Sailing a Canting Keel Boat”. John Beavis has posted pictures of his mechanical setup for his new boat. Since I haven’t seen either of those up close I can only speak of my past and future designs.
Before you get into the mechanical part of a canting keel design you should read the other material posted in this section,under New Classes and under the articles section on CBTF and the other forms of lateral resistance that can be used-YOU MUST USE ADDITIONAL LATERAL RESISTANCE with a canting keel boat . You need to decide this first because it may impact the design of your mechanical system
The first thing I have considered is the method needed to make a canting keel move thru the hull without leaking. I can’t post pictures or illustrations but will send anyone a hand drawn illustration of anything that is not clear.
On my first boats a module is used, machined out of aluminum ,that takes the keel(retained by a removable pin) and a lever that actually moves the keel side toside. The module has reduced diameter ends that run in a set of brass tubes: one fixed to the module and one fixed to the boat.There are two brass tubes-very close fitting- at each end. The two ends are about 5/8"(16mm) in diameter with the center section that holds the keel about 1" in dia.(25mm). The center section is about half again as long as the diameter; the forward end is equal in length to the smaller diameter and the aft end is 1.25" long(32mm). The aft end is longer because it takes the inside pivot lever.
In installing this unit in a production boat a carbon cover is used for the raised center section and teflon washers at each end of the center section then the entire moudule is greasesd and the unit plus cover set in the hull mold. During layup the whole thing is glassed in except for the part of the aft end that takes the inside lever. When the hull/deck are pulled the unit comes out ready to take the keel and have the lever installed.It is 100% watertite and free turning. Again, I can send anyone that wishes an illustration of this system as well as an actual module at cost or for you to use to machine your own and then return the original.
The newest design of this system
is still under development and is somewhat different and less than half the weight; it will be detailed in a future posting.
On the first several prototypes I tested the overriding design goal was to have the keel cant 55 degrees or more to at least match the full size high performance canting keel systems. Additionally, the target is to have the keel move from zero degrees to 55 degrees in one second. The beam of my last prototype and the beam of the F100CBTF are so narrow that the best way I’ve found so far to accomplish moving the keel is to use a block and tackle system(2/1) coupled with a fairly long inside lever and a small drum on a Guyatt 380HD winch. The line I use is spectra and I use it exclusively on my spinnaker systems so I know it’s characteristics inside and out. Spectra line under load tends to creep which is like stretching but it doesn’t spring back; when the line is thru creeping it behaves like wire with virtually no stretch. So in the canting keel application before I install the line I “pre-creep” it by tying it between two posts for a week–using a turnbuckle to keep tension on it.
The entire block system including the winch is attached to an easily removable carbon structure that simply drops into the boat–no rigging down in the hull.
The setup includes two turnbuckles and two spring loaded blocks so that tension is on the line at all times. This system allows a 55 degree canting keel in a 6" wide hull and works very well and is quite simple to build for anyone I would think. No critical alignment ; easy to work on and allows the absolute maximum angle to the keel permitted by the hull. As far as radio setup my recommendation is to put the canting keel on the same stick as the sails only moving side to side-more on this elsewhere.(“Sailing a Canting Keel Boat”,this section)
This system is fast reliable ,watertite and easy to make ; if you would like a sketch just ask…

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

Hey Doug,

A picture is worth a thousand words. From your 1000 words, I have a pretty good picture, but boy would I like to see it.

I know that your WebTV setup does not let you post pictures. How about adding some pictures to your MicroSail site and posting the link here.

  • Will

Will Gorgen

Pix are a pain since I have no digital camera;I’ll get someone who does to help out after the holidays…

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

Anyone else here have a scanner to help Doug out? Most Kinko’s and Office Max type places like that either have do it yourself stations or will scan photos very cheaply.

I have a scanner and a digi camera that i could lend to Doug, Just a shame theres a very very big bit of rough water in the way of getting it to him! :wink:

If its not blowing it sucks!

You guys are great: send that camera! And scanner and a real computer while you’re at it!
Just kidding, mostly.
At any rate I’m sure I can get pix after the holidays as the lowest of priorities. I could mail the module to anyone that wants to see it as well as the carbon winch structure for the aeroSKIFF which is similar to the new one. Of course, you could come down here and take your own pictures…

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

Here is one of the pictures of the module. There will be more on the way I just got the camera figured out. You do have to use a little imagination and replace the balsa with a beautiful carbon fin and replace that paintbrush handle with a carbon rod capped off with a pekabe 2/1 block. Sorry I didn’t have that stuff on hand I ran fresh out just yesterday

Download Attachment: [ canting small.jpg](http://www.rcsailing.net/forum1/data/CaptainRon/20031215195426_canting small.jpg)

Download Attachment: [ Canting Mechanism s.jpg](http://www.rcsailing.net/forum1/data/CaptainRon/2003121520515_Canting Mechanism s.jpg)

Thanks Dave! But wheres the battery?

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

Hi all here’s some photos of the canting keel mechanism in my F100

Download Attachment: 05.JPG

These are the mouldings to house the pivot the one with the slot in is the bottom unit which holds the front and rear bushes.

Download Attachment: 06.JPG

This shows the main pivot front and rear bushes and the rough control lever, the rear bush has an “o” ring fittted in it.

Download Attachment: 08.JPG

The pivot assembly fitted in hull.

Download Attachment: 15.JPG

The internal moving parts the control lever gear quadrant , 380hd guyatt winch and round key.

Download Attachment: 18.JPG

Gear quadrant fitted in hull.

Download Attachment: DSC00626.JPG

Temperary keel and rudders fitted, the keel with be carbon fibre to match the rest of the boat.

Download Attachment: DSC00630.JPG

Looking at inside of boat.

Download Attachment: DSC00639.JPG

Close up of drive system.

I hope that the photos have attached to posting, enjoy!!!

I am working on the rig when time premits so it should be hitting the water in about 4 weeks if I don’t get sidetracked in building fences, painting the house, triming the hedge and gaining brownie points!!!

John Beavis

Just an additon note I have full Autocad drawings of the mechanism if anyone is interested.

Joihn B

one word, well maybe more:

WOW great boat John…plz send pics when she hits the water…amazing.


if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!


Thanks for posting those John! Can’ wait for the sailing!
Johns boat is a potential breakthru design since not only does the boat utilize a canting keel it uses twin foils (CBTF) for steering and lateral resistance and incorporates a very unique spinnaker design.
A lot of power on a one meer boat-tremendous potential!
John,what is the cant angle on your keel?

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing


I have designed it for 55 deg movement both sides total of 110 deg in about 1.5 to 2 seconds, at this stage I have not done an actual measurement.
The Guyatt 380HD winch will be required to do 3 revs to rotate around the fixed quardant gear.
The sevro gear is a 15t module 1 spur gear running on a 150 t spur gear.

Just recieved permission to post these photos of the swing keel of PYEWACKET.
Thanks to www.outsideimages.co.nz[;-xmas]

Download Attachment: [ Canting 1.jpg](http://www.rcsailing.net/forum1/data/IanHB/20031218182553_Canting 1.jpg)

Download Attachment: [ Canting 2.jpg](http://www.rcsailing.net/forum1/data/IanHB/20031218182613_Canting 2.jpg)

nerds of the wold untie

More interesting then the canting device here is the shape of the foil. Max cord looks to be at 50-55% ,with a strange trailing edge! Interesting.

Thanks again for the pix Ian! That picture at first glance is scary: when you think that the hydraulic ram inside the boat and push that keel 55 degrees -more or less- to either side and when you think of 50foot seas in the Southern Ocean you gotta pray that that thing is engineered right and built right.

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing

Here are some more images of canting keel experiments done at our size which may be of interest to all. These are by the team at
www.owenclarkedesign.com who gave me permission to post them here.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a merry christmas.[;-xmas][;-xmas]

Download Attachment: Ecovertank_oc.jpg

Download Attachment: GenuineRisk_co.jpg

Download Attachment: CFD_oc.jpg

Download Attachment: 3dstbdbow_oc.jpg
One more which I am sure they wont mind me posting because it is a beautiful looking model we would all long to find under the tree on xmas day. Check out their site for more great photos of CBTF yachts in various positions and stages of undress.
nerds of the wold untie

Download Attachment: Cruiseratshow_oc.jpg

Thanks again ,Ian,for the eye candy! And Merry Christmas to you as well-and to everybody else for that matter.
PS- If you run across any pictures of Bondi Tram showing her wings with the keel canted that would be cool to post either here or under “Wings: Another Canting Keel Solution” this section…You seem to have a knack finding great pix so I though I’d ask…

Doug Lord
–High Technology Sailing/Racing


I thought I would answer your question here as it is relevant.

For the mast base “bearing”, I plan to use a tefon on teflon bearing. I will wrap the base of the mast with a teflon sleeve and line an oversized brass tube with teflon tape as well.

I am not that worried about slop in the system. I will have a backstay and jibstay (those attachment points will be mounted on the mast canting axis) so the mast will be held quite solidly fore and aft. Side to side I expect to be a little sloppy but for almost all cases the load on the mast will pust the mast base against one side of the sleeve or the other. The sleeve will not be that sloppy, but there will be some small amount of play in the system. If the slop turns out to be excessive, I can alway add more layers of teflon tape to the sleeve or the mast to “fill the gap”.

The sleeve will pivot on the end of the servo cam arm. I don’t expect this to be too complex either.

If these simple ideas turn out to be inadequate, i will have to devise something more complex.

  • Will

Will Gorgen

Gentlemen Hello

I am French, pensioner, construction of a open 60 to 1/10 if possible with pendular ninepin.

Among - you that could have contact me to obtain the placement to disposition of images that constitutes the manufacture of a mechanism of canting of keel . I think particularly of Mr JohnB or lorsail that seems to master the subject.

I communicate by a computer translation.

Advance thank you to read you