Crafted For Strength

Zero Keel

Zero Bolts,
Zero Risk

It is named the ZERO keel system “because it has zero bolts and zero risk of falling off the hull. The integral lead ballast that sits inside the Zero Keel bulb generates a very low centre of gravity and has a very positive effect on improving the righting moment as well, so the AVS (Angle of Vanishing Stability; the point at which the yacht rolls back up after a knockdown), is an incredible 130deg, which is much higher than all other cruising yachts in production today of comparable size. This means that not only will a Kraken come back up the right way from a knockdown, but they can carry between 20-25% more sail area too, so you’ll sail more and motor less, which is better for the crew sailing her and the planet as well.

The lead ballast bulb is situated inside the base of a long and robust GRP fin keel that is moulded as an integral part of the hull. The leading edge and the bottom of the keel moulding are further strengthened with an extensive external multiaxial laminate incorporating Kevlar™ reinforcement.

This also gives maximum protection against impact while the length and shape of the keel ensure good directional stability and low drag.

Kraken chairman and experienced blue water sailor Dick Beaumont explains…

“Our ZERO keel design answers the prayers of every blue water sailor. If you’ve ever got a cold shiver down your spine wondering what would happen if your keel fell off hundreds of miles from the coast, you can rest in your bunk secure in the knowledge that with a Kraken Yacht that can never happen.”

On the design front Filip Sochaj, Krakens Head of Design explains.

Dick’s brief to Kevin Dibley, Kraken’s Designer was to develop a completely new concept in yacht design which married together all the safety benefits of an integral hull and keel with the hydrodynamic sailing performance of bulb shaped keel.

So now we had it all, a yacht with a keel that can never come off and yet sails like a dream.

Kevin enhanced his keel design to ensure optimum motion and comfort at sea by spreading the ballast weight over a much longer keel length than is normally found in modern yacht designs and after Pete Lawson of Hauraki Design, completed the structural engineering the Zero Keel was born. In summary Kraken Yachts believes that “No blue water yacht should be built without safety being its very first consideration. The Kraken hull and keel are one piece. It is impossible for them to be separated. It is perhaps the ultimate example of Kraken Yachts’ belt and braces attitude towards the requirements for safe blue water sailing.”

You can also take a look at what makes the Kraken 50 a superb luxury sailing yacht and how the ZERO keel supports this.

The Zero Keel

The How & The Why

1.

The Zero Keel is part of the hull and it can never come off. There are no bolts used anywhere in the construction of the keel or hull. This is why we named it the Zero Keel because there are zero bolts holding it on. This makes the hull and keel an integral unit. If you want to cruise around the world with the peace of mind that you will never lose your keel, then choosing a yacht with an integral keel should be your starting point. There’s nothing new about an integral keel, quite the reverse, not that long ago most quality yachts were built like this and had been for decades. Then builders started cutting costs; simply bolting a big piece of steel on, instead of moulding a keel and hull together. It is a big cost saving, but in our view its not compatible with blue water cruising.

2.

Whilst a standard integral keel is always preferable to a bolt-on job     

they have significant drawbacks which the Zero Keel overcomes.

With a Zero Keel, the ballast weight is centred in one area at the very bottom of the keel where it will have the best effect on the righting moment of the yacht under sail. This achieves several things compared to a standard integral keel. See fig 1

  • The centre of gravity is much lower so the yacht is stiffer and can carry a bigger sail area.
  • It can achieve the necessary righting moment whilst having a significantly shallower draft.
  • The bulb shape improves hydrodynamics. When wind pressure on the sails and topsides tries to force the yacht sideways – causing leeway – the bulb shape inhibits the bypass of water. With a Zero Keel the yacht makes less leeway and, instead, improved headway. See fig 2

3.

A Zero Keel is much longer fore and aft (cord length), compared to regular keels. The reason modern keels have a short cord length is so the yacht will turn around a race buoy swiftly. This means the yacht is more twitchy and requires much more helming than that required with the long cord length Zero Keel. What you want on ocean passages is directional stability, and with the Zero Keel, the helmsman and the autopilot need to work less, as the yacht holds its course much more steadily. Nonetheless, all Kraken’s are very manoeuvrable, both forward and astern, and in any case, most owners specify a bow thruster.

The lead ballast in the Zero Keel’s bulb is also much longer and the weight is evenly spread along the length of the keel. This means there is a much reduced tendency to see-saw or pivot around the small axis created by a short cord length keel, as the yacht encounters waves, so the nauseating fore and aft pitching motion is largely eliminated.

See fig 3

4.

The Zero Keel is tapered into the stem of the forward hull, so the hull and keel cut through the waves rather than slam into them. See fig 4.

5.

Fig 5 depicts the massive forces exerted on a bolt-on keel when the yacht is grounded when underway. The damaged caused by the stresses induced in the join between the keel and the hull on grounding, can be catastrophic of course, but perhaps worse, the damage may not be so obvious with the keel only cracking away 1 or 2 mm. What happens then is the keel bolts start to flex. This will induce metal fatigue and they become brittle, loosing all their strength. If this happens the keel can literally drop off at any time.

If a grounding happens in the developed world you can haul out and check for damage within a few hours, in the wilder waters of uninhabited shores you cannot.

Nearing Zero Risk: Kraken Yachts

“Kraken Yachts is around for several years now with a really compelling concept: No less and nor more than the best and safest blue water oceangoing sailing yachts is offered, as they say. Competing against the big brand´s names like Oyster and such, Kraken Yachts have made themselves quite a reputation for making not only beautiful and highly customizable boats for the real big trip, but also to manufacture yachts that stay true to a classic long haul-sailing idea, 100 per cent, no compromise.”

  • Length Overall 44 ft
  • Beam Overall 12.54 ft
  • Draft 6.58 ft
  • Sail Area 1099.5 sq.ft
  • Length Overall 50 ft
  • Beam Overall 14.76 ft
  • Draft 7.54 ft
  • Sail Area 1444.52 sq.ft
  • Length Overall 58 ft
  • Beam Overall 17.06 ft
  • Draft 7.54 ft
  • Sail Area 1946.54 sq.ft
  • Length Overall 66 ft
  • Beam Overall 18 ft
  • Draft 8.7 ft
  • Sail Area 2322 sq.ft

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Kraken Design

The Zero Keel™

The Zero Keel is part of the hull and it can never come off. There are no bolts used anywhere in the construction of the keel or hull.

Kraken Design

Build Structure

All Kraken yachts are built with a substantial interior structure to ensure keel delamination and failure cannot occur.

Kraken Design

The Alpha Rudder™

This comprises four unique features which hugely improve the crews ability to continue steering throughout circumstances that would disable most other yachts.

Ocean Sailor

Podcast

The Ocean Sailor Podcast is a blue water cruising chat show. Our hosts, the two Dicks (Durham and Beaumont), explore blue water sailing topics.

Ocean Sailor

Magazine

Ocean Sailor Magazine was a monthly magazine created by Kraken Yachts and launched in January 2020.

Ocean Sailor

Articles

With eight categories to choose from including tails of the sea, sailing skills and even great recipes for cooking in your galley, there are hours of reading to enjoy and learn with Ocean Sailor articles.

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