Maybe the debate about what keel or keels make for the best cruising boat is far from settled... Theo Stocker introduces the Summer 2021 issue of Yachting Monthly

The debate about what kind of keel makes for the best sailing boat has, by and large, been settled.

A deep fin keel with a lump of lead on the bottom delivers the best performance to windward and the least drag off the wind.

But the best sailing boat doesn’t always make the best cruising boat, and a sizeable draught will restrict your yacht to all but the deepest, and often busiest, harbours.

So maybe the debate about what keel or keels make for the best cruising boat is far from settled.

In a summer when the British public are turning to domestic waters for their holidays in unprecedented numbers, the ability to find a quiet harbour is even more of a challenge.

When I’m cruising in my fin-keeled Sadler 29, unable to independently take the ground as I am, I mostly weigh up the options between an anchorage, a swinging mooring, or a marina berth, opting for the former whenever I can.

Norman Kean, doyen of cruising the Irish coast, reminds us, however, that there are other options.

Tying up to a quay wall, taking the ground, rafting up to an accommodating fishing boat, or even just mooring between piles were commonplace not so long ago, but are now often eschewed in favour of easy security.

I’m tempted to give at least some of these options a go this summer. Will you?

You’ll probably be doubly rewarded if you do.

As Kieran Flatt says in this issue, Britain and Ireland are home to a beguiling spread of local delicacies, from salt-marsh lamb and home-made haggis to minute-fresh seafood and mouth-watering cheeses.

So rather than sticking to the supermarket, let your navigation take some gastronomic inspiration to add a more refined culinary flavour to your cruise.