The swing keel
Finot-conq started designing swing keels during the early 1990s for 8m/26ft daysailers and is now using them on boats up to 31m/100ft long. When down, the keel on Nica is 3.75m, giving optimum righting moment and performance. The lifted keel has a 1.65m draught, which should allow access to most harbours.
The keel pivots around an axis on the back of the keel head, with a ram that pushes the top of the keel head forward to swing the keel down, and pulls it back to lift. There is a fail-safe system when the keel is down, which means if the ram is put under a sudden significant load, it will immediately let go and the keel will swing up. This should eliminate the risk of damage to the keel box and surrounding structure from grounding.
The fit of the keel head into the keel box is extremely precise to avoid vibration while sailing. The space is so tight the head of the keel cannot be antifouled, as the extra millimetres of paint mean it would no longer fit back in its slot.