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Broad Reachin'
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Discussion Starter #1
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?
 

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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.
 

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Kevin:

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.





 

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Broad Reachin'
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Discussion Starter #4
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.
 

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Broad Reachin'
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Discussion Starter #5
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?
 

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Kevin:
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
 

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

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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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You could also use high tech cordage such as Amsteel. Much more flexible and it will never corrode. I don't know how it will behave on the winch but even boats like the Southerly 42 use a Spectra line.
 

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Patrick:
Any idea how Amsteel would hold up with chaff if it rubs on the centerboard trunk and guide block in the centerboard trunk? If it wares well it might be a good substitute. They didn't have these fibers when our boats were made.
 

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Broad Reachin'
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Discussion Starter #13
I just got a quote from a local rigging shop for 12' of 1/4" 7x19 SS wire with a swage fitting for $28.99. That seems like a very good price. Now all I need to do is head over to the boat and confirm sizes/lengths and make sure my centerboard connections is like the pictures Wayne posted. I also need to determine how the wire is attached to the winch.
 

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Do you centerboarders like your setup? In looking around at boats I've been really shunning the the cb-s because it just seems like another thing to have to mess with and possibly fail in a pinch. And I wonder about their true effectiveness while sailing. I'm really ignorant on it from a design perspective - so I'm curious about your thoughts.
 

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Broad Reachin'
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Discussion Starter #15
What I like most about having a centerboard is the ability to reduce my boat's draft to about only 18-20". I could theoretically beach the boat or access some really shallow gunkholes. However, given that I sail in Lake Michigan and that there are not a lot of shoals or shallow areas, I don't really need a shallow draft boat. This feature might be more beneficial in a tidal area or coastal backwaters.

Another advantage is that I can keep the board fully retracted when sailing on a broad reach or downwind and thus reduce wetted surface area and pick up a bit of speed.

There are some downsides. For one, the upkeep mentioned here in this thread. There's also a pivot bolt that can leak if not properly maintained/inspected. However, many fixed keel boats still also have issues such as corroded keel bolts. It's a tradeoff.

I also tend to think that my particular boat would be less tender if it had a deeper fixed keel in place of the centerboard/swingkeel. I have no way of knowing this for certain, but the physics in my head seem to suggest it.
 

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C/B the depth gauge for dorks

It would be difficult to compare all C/B boats in one fell swoop, that said the Helms 25 is the only Helms w/Centerboard (24, 25, 27, 30, 32) and it has a well pronounced keel that allows it to sail with the board up quite effectively. The board is most noticable when beating into the wind the centerboard down helps the pointing.
As an amature sailor I have welcomed the pennance and privacy of going below to crank on the C/B winch, 16 full rev's on mine will release me from the shallow water that has trapped me yet again. It may be good to point out that the rudder is two part and also kicks up from the force of earth impact. The force on the rudder is then magnified, it's like losing the power steering on a truck.
The Helms Centerboard is 1" thick steel weighing in at 300# and lowers the center of gravity as well as drawing neat lines in the mud prior to earth impact, see above.
 

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Smack:
All what Kevin & David said. Our fixed keel also has 1650# of ballast which really helps stabilize our boats. The 20" draft with centerboard up and 6' with it down really is perfect for the sailing I do in coastal Delmarva bays.
The impressive thing about our centerboards is they do not need and really shouldn't be sailed all the way down. We really lower them until the boat sailing is balanced or slight weather helm. That's about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way down with a 112% jib up. The centerboard can also be used to balance the pointing on heaving to.
You also asked about setup. I like our winch and cable setup compared to other centerboards boats I've seen. Our winch is under the first step going down in the compaionway. With the handle left pointing to port it is out of the way. A big problem on other designs. The only thing I would like to see changed is the steel centerboard replaced with bronze. Someday when I win the lottery I'll have one cast in bronze.
 

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Broad Reachin'
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Discussion Starter #20
Interestingly, I spoke with one H25 owner who had his centerboard winch handle in the cockpit just below the threshold, which I guess is just backwards of the way most are installed.
 
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