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kwaltersmi 03-10-2009 12:56 PM

Centerboard Winch Cable
The cable on my centerboard winch is starting to show some meathooks so I think it's time to replace it while the boat is still on the hard. Has anyone done this repair yet? Any tips?

How long is the cable? I'm assuming about 10' will suffice since the centerboard swings down to around 6' below the waterline and then there needs to be some reserve as well as a foot or two to reach up to the winch. I'll measure when I get good enough weather to make a trip to the marina.

How is the cable attached to the winch? Will I need any special tools or parts?

knothead 03-10-2009 01:40 PM

Some of the one's I've worked on have a hole that the wire feeds through and then a Nicopress stop sleeve is crimped on the end.
Others have a hole and with an intersecting hole for a set screw.

Sometimes it can be difficult to feed the wire through the hole. A trick that may make it easier is to wrap impregnate the wire with superglue and wrap it tightly in the area you are going to cut it before cutting it.

Wayne25 03-11-2009 10:23 AM


I'm doing the same protect this year. I have a meat hook I can feel when the winch is up. I would say from the tip of the 6' keel back to the fixed keel would be about 8' plus another 3' up the trunk and into the winch. But I'll measure my old one first. I can sling the boat high enough in my barn when I paint the bottom to drop the centerboard down a couple of feet and get access to the connection point.
Some of the winches have been replaced over the years and I hope not with a trailer winch. the original is clutch drive so it can't freefall. Mine goes into a serpentine on the spool. I have to get a better look at it with the winch and wire off. I also want to get a good diameter measurement. It looks like 1/4" by eye.
The centerboard connection is made by 2 tangs of metal (I think bronze) with a clevis pin through a hole in the centerboard and a clevis pin through a sage terminal at the end of the cable. I'm going to use a Suncor quick connect rigging terminal on mine. It will be smaller and smoother than a nicro press fitting so it doesn't hit the fiberglass trunk on the way up.
The biggest part of the project will be looking at and fixing if worn the guide pulley that is up in the trunk. These can get seized and stop rotating. Then the cable wares a groove in the pulley and might ware through the pulley pin. I have a 2"x2" SS plate on each side of trunk a few inches below the copper tee entrance point at the top of the trunk. I took these off to see if i could get to the guide pulley, but it looks like it was glassed over. I could see the indentation of the 1/4" to 3/8" shaft through the pulley, so the fiberglass isn't that thick there. This is close to the water line of the boat and could leak. I'm going to try to wrap a 1/4" line or cable over the pulley and see if mine is free and if not try to free it up. Catalina uses the same set up and you can get replacement pulley and kit from Catalina Direct.
I also have a groove in the copper tee at the top of the trunk. Its starting to go into the clear vinyl hose. My plan is to use Marine Tex to fill and fair the groove and replace the 2 different size vinyl hoses.

Here are some pictures of the centerboard connection.

kwaltersmi 03-11-2009 12:36 PM

Thanks for the information Wayne. Based on my limited research so far, it looks like the cable will need to be replaced with a stainless steel equivolent. Is that what you're thinking of using?

Where can the Suncor terminal be purchased?

My initial thinking was that this was going to be a fairly straight forward and easy project, but I'm starting to doubt that now.

kwaltersmi 03-11-2009 01:05 PM

After a little more research, it looks like I could purchase a 1/8" swage eye ($9.99), 15' of 1/8" 1x19 SS wire ($26.85) and have the fitting swaged on for $8.99 through Defender. Given that I don't deal with saltwater or tropical conditions, I'm thinking the 1x19 wire (302/304 grade) should be sufficient. Also, the 1/8" is rated at a breaking strength of 2,100lbs, which should be plenty for the centerboard.

Am I missing anything?

ottos 03-11-2009 02:34 PM

I've recently seen a discussion (on here, I think) about using Monel from McMAster-Carr McMaster-Carr

Wayne25 03-11-2009 05:57 PM

Is your cable 1/8" now? I assume the original was thicker. 1/8" may have the working load strength, but think about what would happen if it ever did break, a real nightmare. In case some strands would break I would stay with the 1/4" or whatever you have now. I still need to measure mine.
AND don't use 1 x 19 wire. I'm not an expert, but I think 1x19 wire is for standing rigging and not flexible enough for winch work. I think you need 7x19 flexible wire.
Here is a place for the swageless fitting. Quick Attach stainless steel rigging swageless mechanical fittings out preforms Sta Loc Stay Lock Norseman

Wayne25 03-11-2009 06:07 PM

Interesting idea, monel. I'll have to search for that thread and see what was said.

kwaltersmi 03-11-2009 07:36 PM

Wayne - Agreed, 1x19 is no good because of the stiffness. My bad.

I'm still debating between a Nicro press, swageless fitting and swaged fitting.

Wayne25 03-11-2009 08:06 PM

The Nicro press might not be too bad if you would use rescue tape around it and made it taper to the cable. You might have to redue the tape each year, but no biggy and you would want to check for corrosion in the Nicro press anyhow. Should be less expensive. Do you have a hand held Nicro press tool or know someone that does. If you buy the wire at West Marine, they might do the nicro press for you free in the store. You buy the fitting.

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