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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Sailboat Design and Construction > Safety of larger centerboard boats
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Thread: Safety of larger centerboard boats Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-16-2007 04:09 PM
T34C My current boat is my second with a CB. Neither of them allowed for inspection of the pin. You know it has a problem when it doesn't work quite right. Current boat has all internal cables that are very easy to inspect by simply looking in the bilge. The T34C also has a continuous loop cable system that is self locking in whatever position you put it in.

I have no problem with the board full extended while sailing in heavy weather*. (*It isn't easy to adjust while undersail in heavy weather due to the added pressure against it.)
11-16-2007 02:43 PM
Valiente
Quote:
Originally Posted by ehmanta View Post
The risk of something happening is real; although, the repair/breakage issue of centerboards would be minimized with annual inspections. In twelve years, I have not had an issue, I have replaced my pendant line every other year and inspect the fittings at haul-out.
Part of my admittedly theoretical concern would be the ease with which those annual inspections could be made. My impression is that some centerboard designs and trunks are significantly easier to access, either in or out of the water, than others. Also, not everyone either hauls out or has the opportunity to haul out every year, particularly if they have the sort of anti-fouling that will run two years with occasional scrubbing.

The fact that you are quite proactive in changing the pendant and looking directly (I assume) at the pin and the board is almost certainly the reason you've had a trouble-free experience. What I don't know is if this regimen is common or even possible for most CB-equipped cruisers.

CBs are yet another example of the "everything is a compromise" school of boat design...they are undeniably a good thing to have in many situation, but the reluctance to keep them deployed in heavy weather is interesting, to say the least.
11-16-2007 02:01 PM
JohnRPollard I well remember the loss of that LH. LH's have an outstanding reputation, and it's hard to conceive what might have happenned. This was not a case of the crew being lost, but the entire boat gone missing seemingly without a trace. Normally the only thing that can do that is a roll or knockdown with sudden catastrophic downflooding through the companionway(s) (two on this boat). They were in nasty conditions - god love 'em. Whether the CB had anything to do with it who can say for sure?

You're wise to keep researching until the HR53 deal goes through. It's a great boat, but there are others out there if this deal falls through (hey, Cam's boat is still out there, isn't it?). The good news is that the market for a boat like that is not very deep, so there's a better than fair chance the delay won't matter. Good luck to you.
11-16-2007 01:50 PM
sailingdog Labatt-

If IIRC this was the boat lost due to Andrea. I don't think that it would have mattered a whole lot if the boat was a full-keel, fin keel or keel-centerboard. An RTS is no place to be in a boat.
11-16-2007 01:39 PM
labatt The HR53 hasn't fallen through at this time. I have a couple of things going on in my business right now (skeletons in the closet from a prior employee) that may delay the purchase to a point where someone else buys it first. I'm still poking through yachtworld.com (as difficult as it is now) to see if anything else jumps out at me. I'm curious about centerboard designs, but there was a Little Harbor 54 lost in May during a sub-tropical depression. I'm sure everyone remembers hearing about it (http://www.4sailors.com/may07.html). A couple of people have mentioned to me that there was a question about whether the centerboard may have played a part in the mystery surrounding its loss.
11-16-2007 12:36 PM
ehmanta The risk of something happening is real; although, the repair/breakage issue of centerboards would be minimized with annual inspections. In twelve years, I have not had an issue, I have replaced my pendant line every other year and inspect the fittings at haul-out.I had to repair the board once due to water infiltration, but that's part of the maintenance. I know of several full time cruisers with boards, especially those in the Bahamas. There are pro's and con's to centerboards and if your cruising grounds have skinny water then it makes sense......
11-16-2007 12:14 PM
camaraderie For FULL TIME world cruising I don't like the idea of a center board boat because it adds complexity and stuff that can and does break underwater with repairs requiring a haulout that you may not be able to get to with the board down in a remote place.
I don't think there are any safety issues with a well built large centerboard boat but the repair issue is a significant one in my mind for world cruising. I probably will buy a centerboard boat for the draft advantages in my next boat...but that will be a coastal boat.
11-16-2007 10:48 AM
ehmanta I've been sailing my Tartan 37 c/b for over a dozen years now and have experienced some heavy gales (30 to 50 knots)with her and I will not use the board when it pipes up too much. First reason is that this boat sails very nicely without the board and is very stable. Second reason is that I don't want the board bouncing around with the wave action (there's no way of locking it down) and the third reason is that "if" something goes wrong with it, I don't want to mess with it when its blowing like stink. The downside of not using the board is in its ability not to point quite as high, I loose about 5 to 10 degrees depending on conditions.
I think that if a centerboarder is well designed, I wouldn't hesitate for it does open up a lot of water to you. Apart from older Tartans, there's Bristol, Older Morgans, Hinckleys, Little Harbors, Shannon and many more respected builders putting out centerboarders.
Hope this helps....just my two cents worth.
11-16-2007 09:39 AM
killarney_sailor I would not pretend to be very knowledgeable about centerboards since I have not even taken possession of my Bristol yet. In buying this boat I was not particularly worried about the centerboard arrangement since it is something that can be over-engineered pretty easily and Hood designs and later Bristol build quality are well-regarded. A consideration is having draft less than 5 feet on a 45 foot boat.
I have been told that there are three distinctly different uses for the board
1. going to windward in light to moderate conditions - I was told that it is a good idea not to use it when it is really blowing - not entirely sure when really blowing starts however.
2. to provide a convenient way to balance the helm in different conditions
3. to have a couple of feet of board down when creeping into really shallow water as an early warning system

Anyway, give me a year or two and I can give a better answer.
11-16-2007 09:31 AM
T34C While a CB boat has more moving/working parts that can and sometimes do malfunction, I would agree with Jeff H that the real difference isn't much different than comparing a deep draft boat to a shoal draft. (If it is a quality design.) That being said, if I were delivering someone elses boat and didn't have any idea about the condition and maintainence of the CB, I wouldn't lower it either. Why risk a posible malfunction while off shore.
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