Life Is Better On Keelboat

You might know these long riverboats by the names of “Keelboat”, “Keep boat” or even a “Poleboat”. Whatever the name you use, the fascination is constant. The boats have been around probably for more years than you have.

These boats are long and narrow almost cigar-shaped riverboats and were used from recreational sailing to trading to transporting cargo. It was the most common way of traveling via water; until the mid-nineteenth century and was later overtaken by the more powerful steamboats.

Traditionally, most of these boards were somewhere between 50 and 80 feet long and about 15 feet wide. Typically, these boats would have a flat bottom. The keels of these boats would be interior keels rather than exterior since interior keels were easier to drag or pole. These were rowed by four to twelve people. 

Sailors who would travel by keelboats are called keel boaters; the most notable one in the history of all keelboats was Mike Fink. He was an extremely skilled keelboater and transported cargo between the rivers of Ohio and Mississippi. 

Modern Keelboats

Life Is Better On Keelboat
Life Is Better On Keelboat

The modern version of these long, narrowboats are basically any boats with a keel. In some countries like New Zealand, any sailing ships of any size can be classified under the term “keeler”; as long as the boats have a keel. However, the International Sailing Federation has defined a difference between these boats and larger yachts; (though sizes of both might overlap from case to case).

Set Sail In Keelboat

Life Is Better On Keelboat
Life Is Better On Keelboat

If sailing is what floats your boat (pun intended), you should definitely give keelboat a shot. Sailing in these long and narrowboats will provide you with a sailing platform that is stable; (and so, good for beginners) but still responsive. This type of sailing also does wonders for building teamwork skills amongst both young and old. In these boats, you can learn and hone your sailing skills without having to worry about capsizing; you can also keep yourself in the company of other people. A basic but impactful study of this type of sailing will enable you to set sail in familiar waters with weather conditions; (wind and sea) that are light to moderate. 

Once you learn enough about the art of sailing these boats, you can even participate in races. These, of course, are races you can participate in with a team as every team member has a certain role to play in sailing.

The primary members of sailing this boat are:

Helmsman, Tactician, Maintrimmer, Port Trimmer, Starboard Trimmer, Pit Man, Mastman and Bowman. 

A modern version of these boats is an absolute delight to sail and the races can get very intense as it is all about being tactical. Do make a note of what you are wearing when on such a keelboat. A t-shirt and shorts are fine if the day is nice and warm but you should always keep a rain jacket handy in case the weather becomes windy or drizzly. 

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter