I recently started restoration onn an 8' nelson dinghy that had the drop down keel slot covered over. I opened it back up and found the original keel intact and in working order. I am having to guess what the fold down rudder looked like as that blade is missing from its holder. The gunnel
on the port side has some breaks through the channel so I'm tucking a schedule 40 plastic pipe up under there to stiffen and support. The 15/8" OD worked great and I will secure it with silicone caulk.
I can make a handle for the drop down keel with a little inginuity, but cold use some input really, on how the original keel was maneuvered up and down...kept in place.