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Tartan 37 with lifting keel: does this sound right?

Went through survey today on a 1979 Tartan 37'. Overall, things are looking pretty good, but there's one little thing ...

This Tartan has a lifting keel. During the survey, the keel jammed. While it was hanging in the lift, I got a good luck at what happened: the line that lifts the keel had gotten wedged between the keel and the side of the chamber it recesses into. It was jammed pretty solid, and the yard claimed that it would take some work to unjam and that they couldn't do it right then -- the owner would have to book time to get it fixed.

In any event, early on, when it first happened, the owner claimed that it jams occasionally and pulling on and releasing the line usually frees it up. It was jammed too well for that to work this time. After the survey completed, I spoke to the broker on the phone and mentioned my concern that I'd never heard of this problem with Tartan lifting keels, and was therefore concerned that there may be something in the lifting mechanism (like a guide or something) broken, or something else was rigged wrong. An hour later, after talking to the owner, he called back and the story changed a bit ... apparently when the yard put the mast on a week ago, they accidentally let a lot of slack drop into the keel box, and that's why it jammed.

I thought the lower portion of the lifting line was usually cable, and spliced into nylon (or some other "fabric" line ) somewhere above water line? This is not currently rigged with cable, and I'm worried that the increased flexibility of the line is allowing it to jam more easily than a cable would? I have no experience with this type of lifting keel, though, so the owner's story sounds equally feasible to me. Although it does seem a bit suspicious that the design would allow an easy mistake like letting out too much slack jam the keel so solidly.

So, Tartan owners, what am I looking at here? Is this something to be concerned about? Should I just insist that the owner sort things out with yard and get it working before I proceed? Or should I take a more active role and insist that things be inspected more carefully, and possibly the lifting mechanism be re-rigged with cable? Anyone out there know how Tartan designed this to be rigged?
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Re: Tartan 37 with lifting keel: does this sound right?

Seems like you still want people on an Internet forum - people you do not know - to tell you what to do. Am I wrong?

The Tartan 37 is known as a really great boat.

Fear and uncertainty running rampant inside your head could make it explode. Take a breather...get off that 'on the edge' feeling. We all have better judgement when not operating at warp speed....

Pay a good surveyor to take you thru the boat, piece by piece.
Find a person you can trust.
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Re: Tartan 37 with lifting keel: does this sound right?

It can jam if the tube covering the pennet is too big, easy fix.

It's a centerboard, not weighted, just for upwind pointing.

Decent boats, have had mine for 12 years now, second owner. Not fast, not slow.

Good luck

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Re: Tartan 37 with lifting keel: does this sound right?

It's a center board not a lifting keel. Sounds like the travel lift straps were placed around the center board forcing it up trapping the C/B control line between the board and the well. May be a bitch to free up as that would really jamb the line in there hard. Assume the boat is back in the water so will take a diver work on freeing the board. Be sure it's free before you hand over the money as it could require another haul out and effort to free up the pendant.
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Re: Tartan 37 with lifting keel: does this sound right?

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Seems like you still want people on an Internet forum - people you do not know - to tell you what to do. Am I wrong?
Yeah, you are wrong. Seems I didn't communicate well. I'm asking people with far more experience than I whether the condition I encountered is common with Tartans, and whether it warrants further care. The owner has agreed to pay to get the centerboard unjammed (the yard told him they'd have to haul the boat and drop the centerboard).

I have a tiny bit more research to do this morning, and if I get the answers back that I think I will, I'll be signing the check. I'm basically just going back over my checklist to make sure I haven't missed anything.

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The Tartan 37 is known as a really great boat.

Fear and uncertainty running rampant inside your head could make it explode. Take a breather...get off that 'on the edge' feeling. We all have better judgement when not operating at warp speed....
I have spent a large portion of my life trying to understand what in blue hades people mean when they make statements like that.

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Pay a good surveyor to take you thru the boat, piece by piece.
Find a person you can trust.
Three shipwrights, the owner, and the surveyor were all arguing about this situation. There was absolutely no way to know who I could trust. So I'm taking my standard approach: gather as many opinions and as much information from as many sources as possible; then sort though it and try to understand the situation well enough to make my own decision. Which is why I asked the question I did. Not sure how it was so thoroughly misunderstood, except that communication is just difficult in general.

I still haven't gotten clear answers to whether it's common to have a fabric line the whole way down to the centerboard. I seem to remember reading somewhere that these were rigged with a wire cable from the centerboard to above the waterline, spliced to a fabric line that ran above deck to the winch. But now I can't find any reference to it. Given the amount of DIYing that this owner did (much of it looking quite good) I'm not sure if his rigging is typical, or a mistake.
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Re: Tartan 37 with lifting keel: does this sound right?

People started switching from ss cable to Dyneema rope when it comes to centerboard control. Mostly all the way. That rope has no give and performs better than ss wire rope, both mechanically and corrosion wise. During normal centerboard operation a rope should not jam, but if you run aground or if centerboard gets jerked up without the slack in the pendant taken up, the rope can wedge between the board and the box wall. I would imagine that a wedgie from travel lift belt placed on the cb section could jam the board really hard, even up to a point of cracking the side of centerboard box. I would make sure that not only the board is freed, but that cb well is inspected for any possible damage. Repairs in that area are a total PITA due to limited access as well as limited repair options.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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Re: Tartan 37 with lifting keel: does this sound right?

Switched the center board cable to Dyneema from SS cable in 2012 on my current boat, no problems so far. Depending on the boat, metal cables can be prone to electrolysis, corrosion, and jamming from kinks. My first center board boat's ss cable would be eaten by electrolysis in about a year. Even tried Monel cable without success. This was before Dyneema so was stuck religiously hauling the boat and replacing the cable to stay ahead of the electrolysis. Current boat had no problems with the ss cable in six years but changed to Dyneema as a permanent solution.

Don't know how the center board well is constructed on the T37. On my Pearson 35 it's part of the lead keel so jamming the pendant against the well shouldn't be an issue other than freeing it up and inspecting for possibly damage to the cable.

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Re: Tartan 37 with lifting keel: does this sound right?

Bill, I have a Tartan 27' from 1967 but it also has a lifting center board (as we seem to be calling it). Depending on who built the T37 it could have been done differently (was somewhat different than my setup on a T34 I sailed on).
My T27 has a double spooled pulley, 1 large diameter spool with rope and 1 smaller spool with wire rope. The spool gives you some mechanical advantage when raising/lowering the board. On the T27 this double spool is located at the top of the run of wire rope from center board to spool. The line portion emerges in the cockpit.
I'm sure the T37 is put together a little differently.

Normally my center board only jams if/when there is a lot of barnacle growth in the center board trunk. Yet another off season item to maintain.

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Red face Re: Tartan 37 with lifting keel: does this sound right?

Picture of center board lifting/lowering mechanism. It. provides perhaps a 3:1 mechanical advantage as the larger spool is about 3 times the diameter of the smaller wire spool.
I actually had a line overrun onto the wire rope side of this pulley which caused an inoperable center board which is fixed in the picture.
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Re: Tartan 37 with lifting keel: does this sound right?

As krisscross said, some of the new synthetics far outlast cable so they have been used for a while now. The nice thing about centerboards is sneaking into shoal water. The dark side is that's moving parts, thoroughly inaccessible when you are in the water. IIRC the Sabre '38 centerboard model had an extra "port" fitted in the top of the centerboard housing, and a yard long steel rod so that you could physically open the port, insert the rod, and PUSH if the board got jammed up. Might be worth looking into, to see if you can retrofit a throughhull and plug to do that.

Tartans have a good rep, but whether you want a centerboard is an entirely different question.
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