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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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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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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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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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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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Kevin:

I'm going by memory from the fall, but I think mine does a surpentine (an S) on the winch drum and is clamped to the drum by a screw and a piece of metal formed the shape of the cable. I know David's winch is different than mine in that it has a different ratio. I take 30 turns to fully extend and he takes about half that.
 

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Kevin:

I have 2 - approx 2" x 2" stainless steel plates on the centerboard trunk below the entrance point of the cable. I assumed they are for access to the sheave. When I unscrewed mine, it was sealed with a thick red gasket material. No opening was behind the plate. I could see a faint outline of a 3/8" circle at the edge of the fiberglass. I assumed this was the end of the sheave shaft. I didn't want to disturb it and screwed the stainless steel plates back on. If yours has 5200 or a white caulking, someone might have already accessed the sheave for servicing.
 

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Knotty - Good information. What lube do you use on the turning sheave? We only have one. How do you get about 12" up in the trunk to lube it?

Kevin - When you take the vinyl hose off the bronze Tee at the top of the trunk, look if the cable has worn a groove in the Tee. From what I can see through the vinyl on mine, the cable is through the wall of the tee at its tip and just touching the vinyl hose. I was planing on filling the groove with MarineTex and sanding smooth rather than re-glassing in another bronze tee.
BTY, I bought new vinyl hose for mine. Its 3/4" over the tee then the 1/2" slips tightly inside the 3/4" up to the winch hub. Its nice heavy wall vinyl I got at West Marine. A foot of each and I'll cut to fit.
 

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Number of Helms 25 owners

Kevin:

I'm not sure how many Helms 25 owners read this forum. On the old SailNet email board, I think there was a at least 30 Helms owners that contributed. I think this is the only board that has any regular activity. Mainly due to you, me and David. If we keep active, it should grow as new owners Google for information.

Wayne - On closer inspection, I also have two plates which are not necessarily inspection plates but rather provide access to the turning sheave.

I'm planning to do the repair on Friday, so I'll let you all (how many of us are there?) know how it goes.
 
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