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Old 07-20-2012
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Helms 25 Centerboard restoration

Hello all!

I couldn't get back into my slip last weekend and realized that it was because my centerboard had become disconnected from the bracket at the end of the pennant and was hanging down.

With some help, I managed to get a rope around it under both sides of the boat, back to the stern cleats, and to the jib winches, and used that to pull it up enough to get the boat into the slip.

The boatyard hauled the boat on Monday and I got my first look at the bottom and the centerboard. (Boat was a gift and I had never seen the bottom)

The centerboard seems to be badly rusted. (Photos below) I am trying to figure out the best plan moving forward to fix it. I sent the plans that I found online for the centerboard to a machine shop and they want about $2500 for a new one. That includes cutting it out and machine grinding the taper.

Some people have recommended having the existing one sandblasted and to get a welder to add material where it has rusted away. I haven't priced that yet.

I have a couple of questions. What thoughts do people have about how I might fix this? Also, if I decide to sandblast, I guess it would be more thorough to remove the keel from the boat. Has anyone removed the pin that supports it? I know that it is accessible under the port side forward bench. Is it hard to take out and replace?

Here are photos of the centerboard right now. Thanks for any advice!!
--Willie



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Old 07-20-2012
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Re: Helms 25 Centerboard restoration

Oy!
The right way to fix this would be to drop the center board completely by knocking that pin out. It does not look like a fun job though as your center board is pretty rusty and looks heavy. At least this way you will be able to inspect the top of the center board where it pivots on the pin; it may be badly worn/rusted as well.
Using an angle grinder and various grinding wheels you should be able to clean up much of the surface rust. You will likely need some welding done to repair the lower attachment point that seems to be where the missing chunk is on the trailing edge.
The entire metal board could then be treated with Ospho or Naval Jelly to stop the rust.
Using epoxy some cloth and fillers you could then coat the entire thing in fiberglass.
It would not be as good as a new $2500 center board but it would likely last quite a while if done properly.

Good luck.
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Old 07-20-2012
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Re: Helms 25 Centerboard restoration

That sure is purdy.
I believe Caleb is right insofar as the most economical way to approach this. Pulling the board and grinding it clean would be the place to start. Then having some material added by welding on to the most damaged sections and regrinding to shape. As long as most of the original thickness is present, the board should have sufficient strength to be repaired. Ospho or Naval Jelly treatment and the refairing with epoxy as mentioned would probably give you a number of years at much less cost. Btw I noted the estimate you sent for the new board; Fairing, coating, surfacing, paint and delivery were not included in the cost and could easily come to several hundred more dollars.
A quick calculation indicates that the board should weigh about 310 lbs +/- 20lbs, so it could be removed in the yard with use of a scissor jack and an extra hand or two. Pounding out the old pin will likely be a bit of a pain, but very doable.

Let me know what you think.
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Re: Helms 25 Centerboard restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goranthedog View Post
That sure is purdy.
I believe Caleb is right insofar as the most economical way to approach this. Pulling the board and grinding it clean would be the place to start. Then having some material added by welding on to the most damaged sections and regrinding to shape. As long as most of the original thickness is present, the board should have sufficient strength to be repaired. Ospho or Naval Jelly treatment and the refairing with epoxy as mentioned would probably give you a number of years at much less cost. Btw I noted the estimate you sent for the new board; Fairing, coating, surfacing, paint and delivery were not included in the cost and could easily come to several hundred more dollars.
A quick calculation indicates that the board should weigh about 310 lbs +/- 20lbs, so it could be removed in the yard with use of a scissor jack and an extra hand or two. Pounding out the old pin will likely be a bit of a pain, but very doable.

Let me know what you think.
Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. ~WaterRat, Wind in the Willows
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Re: Helms 25 Centerboard restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goranthedog View Post
That sure is purdy.

...snip...

Let me know what you think.
Goranthedog,
You are the Emperor of understatement!
That center board is downright scary.
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Old 07-22-2012
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Re: Helms 25 Centerboard restoration

Thanks both for the advice! The yard has recommended a welder who is going to come take a look at it.

In the mean time I am entertaining myself scraping the old bottom paint.

--Willie

The not currently s/v Dhyana
Arnold, MD
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Old 07-24-2012
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Re: Helms 25 Centerboard restoration

I would continue with the repair. There is actually access on both sides of the pin. One on the port under the seat in the storage compartment and one on the starboard behind a small access panel. The panel gives you access through the inner liner to the actual centerboard trunk. There should be stainless steel plates (2"x2") and orange gaskets covering the pin held on with 4 pan head screws. I've heard reports that these were glassed over sometimes by previous owners. So if you can't see them, look for the bumps where they should be.
I never had my centerboard or pin out. The previous owner did that work and used Interlux 2000 after sandblasting. So far it has held up nicely. Done in the late 90's. I know of one owner that had his sandblasted and hot dipped galvanized. I did think through the process of removing the 300 pound beast if I had to. I would make a cradle out of two 2x12 pieces of lumber separated by a wood spacer along the bottom edge a little thicker than the centerboard. I would fasten this to a floor jack and slowly lower it out of the trunk and roll it to where I needed. The cradle would be more valuable to install the centerboard because lining up the holes for the pin would be a bear of a job without it and a roller jack. If your on gravel, put plywood down so you can roll the jack. Also look for spacers that I heard could be on both sides of the centerboard to help stop any slapping. I couldn't see these spacers on mine.
I don't know how long your repaired centerboard would last. It's pretty eaten up. I would keep looking around steel salvage yards for 3/4" plate steel until you find a good buy. then find a metal shop with a plasma cutting machine to cut it out for you. You could grind down the beveled edges or have it done. But I think you could have it done for far less than $2,500 by looking around. I would also keep an ear open for any Helms 25 boats heading for the dumpster. I often thought how much it would cost to have one made or cast out of silicon bronze. Would last longer than the boat but probably cost twice what the boat is worth.
I have a detailed drawing of the centerboard dimensions if you need it. Got it from another owner. But sound like you might have it already.
Good luck
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Re: Helms 25 Centerboard restoration

Look for that pendant roller I talked about while the boat is out of the water. Without it the pendant cable will rub through the top of the fiberglass trunk.
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Old 07-24-2012
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Re: Helms 25 Centerboard restoration

I had my C.B. Galvanized, 20 yrs ago at 5 cents pound, I shudder to think of the cost today, Zinc prices and environmental concerns.
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Re: Helms 25 Centerboard restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne25 View Post
Look for that pendant roller I talked about while the boat is out of the water. Without it the pendant cable will rub through the top of the fiberglass trunk.
Thanks Wayne! I did see the roller in the top of the trunk. It doesn't look like it is in bad shape, but I still need to actually see how easily it spins. Work continues....

--Willie
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