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Broad Reachin'
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I'm planning to replace the winch cable for my centerboard sometime soon because the current cable is starting to fray. Can I use the Home Depot-variety steel cable as a replacement, or do I need something more specific to the marine (freshwater) environment like SS?
 

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The Home Depot cable will probably corrode to junk in a very short time. You definitely want stainless cable. 7x19 would be the stuff. You could try to use a synthetic line such as Amsteel. it will never corrode, is very light and much more flexible. How the line will behave on the winch I have no idea. SD would probably know better.
 

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Telstar 28
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You really need to use 316 SS cable for that, not 1x19 by something 7x19 or something like that, which is far more flexible. A good synthetic line might be a good idea but it depends on the setup of your boat. Chafe is a problem with synthetic line.
 

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Centerboard SSteel vs line

Often I was replacing the centerboard cable on my Irwin 34, a rope wire splice was involved, so not easy. SIX years ago I went to warpspeed line with the amsteel core, No problems yet. Believe the past failures were not due to chafe but corrosion of the SS, which always displayed a tapering cone of wire.
My advice try line it lasts longer under water.
 
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