My '72 Venture 21 has a 400-lb swing keel (according to VENTURE 21 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com) that needs to be removed, cleaned up and painted. The boat should be put on blocks tomorrow so I can start working on it. Any advice? It's held in place by a single large bolt and nut (for which I replaced the rubber washers last year), so it seems obvious that I just pull that and let it drop to the ground - but thought I'd ask anyway. Advice on cleaning the keel slot? Hoping to get everything fixed up and be back in the water in time for Sailstice!
Can you dig a hole under the swing keel? This may allow you to drop it more easily.
400 #'s is not light weight. You are going to need some help lowering and raising this. A spare car jack could easily lift or lower this with additional lines/structures to hold it in place.
As for cleaning out the center board trunk you will have to improvise tools to use. I find that old fashioned hand saws, like a sheet rock saw or cross cut saw will do the trick. Whatever implement(s) you can get up in the slot are what you need to use.
You don't just let a 400 lbs. centerboard drop. For one thing, you will probably need to prop it up somehow, to take the pressure off, just to remove the pivot pin/bolt. Then you want to lower it gently out of the slot, and have some way to move it once it is lowered.
Thank you all - your advice is greatly appreciated! The marina got the boat on blocks Tuesday, and I took a trip there yesterday. They did a great job, and the boat is up nice and high (see pic), which will make the work much easier. As it's set up, I figure I can either let the keel hang down and work on it (then removing the pivot bolt and working on the rest secondary), OR remove it and work on it one side at a time. Should I smooth it off and paint it? Or strip it to the metal and paint it? Or (as seems most likely) there's a lot more to it, than either of those.