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Old 27-09-2009, 16:52   #1
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Center Boards - Safe or Not?

I'm still searching for the right boat and several have center boards which I love to be able to go to shallow places, etc.. My overall question is, I do know that there will be more maintenance involved in having one as with the cable, etc.. I was curious if that box area is truly water tight or will it pour in water in a case of a slap down??

Never planning on a slap down, but rogue waves do happen once in a blue moon, but I was just curious what happens if it does. I know of yachties that don't want anymore holes in their hull than absolutely necessary, etc..

I would love to hear people who own a boat with one and what to expect.

Thanks for everyone's time and help with my query.
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Old 27-09-2009, 18:47   #2
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One of the boats in the Indonesian rally had centreboards. Ran over a rock and the impact broke part of the box allowing water in. As they were about 2,000 miles from the closest haulout facility they had some problems! LOLOL
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Old 27-09-2009, 18:57   #3
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And if it had been a fixed keel?

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One of the boats in the Indonesian rally had centreboards. Ran over a rock and the impact broke part of the box allowing water in. As they were about 2,000 miles from the closest haulout facility they had some problems! LOLOL
Sounds like pounding on a reef.

A centerboard only helps if the bottom is mud.

If I was going far out, I would think about a CB in a crash box.
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Old 27-09-2009, 19:28   #4
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Aloha Shadow,
You might want to try doing a search in the search engine after my signature and go for centerboard and see what you come up with. The discussion has been here before. I think they're safe at sea in a boat that is made to go to sea.
A few old Herreshoff design centerboard boats are still around after a 100 years.
Good luck in your search for the answers.
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Old 27-09-2009, 20:20   #5
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Personal opinion only but I'm not a fan for offshore use. (Even though lots and lots of CB boats have gone here and there w/o incident)
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Old 27-09-2009, 20:21   #6
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Sounds like pounding on a reef.
He hit a rock at 9 kts
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Old 27-09-2009, 20:23   #7
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Thanks everyone and SkiprJohn, I'll give that search engine again.. I came up with nothing before.. Perhaps it was me.. Thanks again
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Old 29-09-2009, 07:33   #8
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Centerboards are perfectly safe and perfectly good sea boats for offshore and the shoals. Of course, much depends on the design and construction. Check out the CB trunk on a well made boat and you will see a large, thick metal plate with bolts on 1-2 in centers all the way around.

One of the best naval architechs of all time, Ted Hood, made a career of Keel/CB boats. His designs have been built by Bristol, Hinckley, Wauquiez and Little Harbor. The Keel/CB design (perhaps a more specialized notion than just a centerboard) is used widely on Alden's, Hinckley's and Bristol's. As far as I know, none of these boats and no Wauquiez's have ever had a problem with water integrity in a grounding.

K/CB's, like anything on a boat (including bolt on keels) have their considerations. Cables need to be inspected every two yrs and probably cut and reattached every 4. Many owners now use high modulous line, such as spectra, instead of cables and thus can forgo that maintenance.

If a CB in a K/cb boat fails or even falls off, no matter, all these designs are design to sail without a need for the board. It simply enhances pointing and reduces leeward slippage.

Lest you think bolt on keels are immune to failure, I would point out the bolt on keel of a Bene Oceanus 39 that was ripped off in a blow, the boat rolled and crew were killed. More recently a new Bavaria also lost her keel, boat rolled and crew were killed. Go to a boat yard and look at some boats with iron keels, you may find one that has actually fractured, as I have and you may find a few whose bolts are being replaced (due to corrosion). Plenty of bolt on keels have come off in groundings.

Obviously, the above is rare...but simply exemplars to say that unless you are going to pour a very large amount of money into a boat, cruising means living with a certain amount of work, maintenance and risk.

Some people have reported that their CB has bumped from side to side. That is generally either due to poor design, poor construction or a lack of maintenance. Most people I know that have sisterships to mine have no problem with this and I never have either.

If you plan to sail to shoal areas, such as the Ches, much of the SE coast of the US, Fl and the Bahama's, being able to get into skinny water is a significant advantage. Look at the charts for areas you plan to go, then decide what draft boat you should look for.

Hope this helps

best

John
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Old 29-09-2009, 13:24   #9
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My boat has a centerboard which retracts inside the lead keel. Boat sails well board up, very well to windward board down. There is a standpipe for the pennant terminus which comes into the cabin, but whose top is above the waterline. The entire "trunk" as such, is contained within the ballast keel and is below the waterline. The top of the standpipe is inside the saloon table.

Once, I had the saloon table removed to refinish the cabin sole. When the varnisher put the table back, he forgot to put the cap back on the standpipe. I promptly went out and sailed the boat 20 miles upwind in 25 knots, open water, good sized waves. With the cap off, I got about a 1/4 cup of water into the locker in the saloon table. I put the cap back on, hand tight, never another drop.

I replaced the pennant 5 years ago, the bushings were still in good shape after 20 years.

The board makes no noise upwind or down, although I typically raise it off the wind. Draft board up is 5', board down 9'6".

A deep keel boat will always outperform a shallow boat upwind in strong breezes. For a cruising boat, in many places a 9' draft is simply a deal killer. All boat designs are compromises, to get reasonable performance with reasonable draft, a centerboard can work quite well. I don't perceive any safety issues with a good design, well built. I'm very happy with mine.

I have a friend with a nice, big Little Harbor. That boat sails very, very well in light air, much better than you would expect, and he can take that big sucker almost anywhere because of the shallow draft.
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Old 29-09-2009, 20:33   #10
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Aloha Sahara,
What kind of boat do you have?
regards
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Old 30-09-2009, 08:18   #11
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Aloha Sahara,
What kind of boat do you have?
regards
She's a Hinckley SW-42.
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Old 30-09-2009, 09:10   #12
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He hit a rock at 9 kts
wondering what happened if your plastic beneteau was hitting that rock...
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Old 30-09-2009, 20:33   #13
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We have a Maple Leaf 42' with a UHMW centerboard with 70 lbs of lead. This works great, makes no noise, and is basically indestructible! Our draft is from 7'6" up to 4'
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