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Old 06-06-2018, 15:45   #1
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Centerboards - good or bad

Considering a 38' boat with a centerboard. Those of you who have one, does it get much use? Do you wish you didn't have it? Those of you who don't have one, do you wish you have one?


We will be doing mostly coastal cruising, Gulf Coast, Florida, maybe one more trip to the Bahamas or the North East, although at our age that is doubtful.


Thanks,


Bob
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Old 06-06-2018, 17:57   #2
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

Have had two center board boats. Had an issue with electrolysis on the cable for the board on the first that I never was able to resolve. Had to haul and change the cable about once a year. That would be cured today by using exotic single braid for the cable. Current boat hasn't had any issues except getting ripped off by marina hanging the boat overnight to paint the board.

Both boats sailed fine without the board down. Only lowered the board for close winded work so sailed most of the time with the board up. Biggest problem with the boats is I got cocky about being able to sail in thin water and ran aground more than I care to admit. Have gotten really good at kedging off.
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Old 06-06-2018, 18:26   #3
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

I heard a story that the Caribbean is littered with centerboards. The rattling and cable problems have driven people to punch the hinge pin out.
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Old 06-06-2018, 19:45   #4
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

We love ours and only use it going to weather, which we do. The shoal draft is so handy, but it is added maintenance and if you don't do it you'll be cutting it loose.
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Old 06-06-2018, 20:08   #5
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

Cruising on an IP keel CB for 13 years (91 model). The shallower draft allows me to keep the yacht behind my house. Don't use it (CB) often because she sails pretty well with the board up. The IP design has been remarkable trouble free. SS cable only replaced once as the existing turned out to be fine just not able to inspect it all. Easy to let down (weighted foam and FG) and easy to raise. My yard has been good about leaving me in the slings overnight making painting easy. If I am hard on the wind leeway about 10 degrees and with the board down about half that. Never heard it make any noise up or down.

Having said all that, if you have a reason to go that route would not hesitate with a good design. Otherwise they have a general reputation for more maintenance so people tend to shy away from them. Maybe the reason you are looking at one (good deal).
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:30   #6
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

Boat we're looking at has some pluses, not sure the CB is one of them.


Thanks for the responses, pretty well matches up with things I have heard in the past.


Bob
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:56   #7
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobHorn View Post
Boat we're looking at has some pluses, not sure the CB is one of them.


Thanks for the responses, pretty well matches up with things I have heard in the past.


Bob
You may find it on handy since you mentioned the west coast of Fla.. Not so much for using it but for not using it. The shallower draft would probably be a plus over a bit of lose pointing from a keel boat..
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Old 07-06-2018, 11:00   #8
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobHorn View Post
Considering a 38' boat with a centerboard. Those of you who have one, does it get much use?

Every time we sail to windward.


Quote:
Do you wish you didn't have it? Those of you who don't have one, do you wish you have one?

The tradeoff is that centerboards are mechanical devices that are exposed to the water and which therefore require a certain amount of ongoing maintenance. Typically this requires that the boat be hauled and be supported on something other than its keel so that access is possible.


On the other hand, we the board up, we draw 34", and can go lots of places we would otherwise have to avoid.
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Old 07-06-2018, 11:09   #9
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

I have a cb on my morgan 38, use it going to weather but mostly to balance the helm, boat sails well without it but better with it. The ss cable corrodes quickly in saltwater, if it breaks you can have a real problem. I replaced my ss cable with a vectran rope with a dacron cover to protect it from abrasion. In my 4th season with it with no noticeable deterioration. Shallow draft is a big advantage in the Keys and Bahamas.
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Old 07-06-2018, 11:59   #10
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

have a cb on my Bristol. to date (x 3 yrs) only maintenance is lowering and bottom painting it each spring prior to launch. stainless steel wire is good altho it takes about 45 revolutions to lower/raise with cabin top winch. use it occasionally when going to weather...with minimal improvement in sailing closer to wind. have noticed occasional banging and found that is not uncommon from other Bristol owners. No damage just noise...Sail majority of the time with board up...allows for 3'10" draft which is nice here in long island sound.
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Old 07-06-2018, 13:14   #11
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

In six years we have only had one issue with our Bristol's board and that was user error. I forgot it was down and got the anchor chain wrapped around it (the board was resting on the bottom ). Broke the cable. We replaced it with Amsteel 3.5 years ago and no issues since. As others have said we only use it going to weather where it does make a noticeable difference. Anything other we leave it up. We have been in 15-20 ft seas on stern quarter with board up and didn't notice any banging from the board. Absolutely love the fact that the board allows us to have a 4.6 ft draft. We can snuggle into anchorages where friends with comparable size boats (meaning 6' + draft) can't get into to.
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Old 07-06-2018, 14:39   #12
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

One big plus for centerboard boats is that people assume they're trouble and so the boat price is lower.

On my Pearson 35, it usually only sees use for a couple of degrees into the wind sailing. Otherwise tucked away. Biggest problem was the prior owner pulled the pennant all the way out so I had to fish a new pennant to it from the cockpit.

Having a boat with a 6ft + draft in the Bahamas or Keys is a pain.
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Old 07-06-2018, 15:25   #13
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

Had a centerboard on an F and C 44 that we owned for 10 years. Used it twice once for 15 mins and once for 6 hours, never noticed a difference in pointing ability. Never gave a problem either. Liked the relatively shoal draft as we were able to go over the banks in Bahamas something we could not do with a previous 6ft 6 draft.

Some people make an argument that a shoal draft vessel is less likely to trip over it's keel in beam on breaking seas when laying to as they slip sideways a bit. Joe Adams an Australian designer took a very shoal draft vessel around the world in the 60's and was caught many times in severe weather and became a big advocate of shoal draft boats due to this factor.
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Old 07-06-2018, 15:36   #14
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

Had one on my prior boat.... a Pearson 36-2. At first I was on the fence however at the end I loved it. Drew 4’2” up 8’ down. Used it in varying degrees depending on wind and tides. Boat pointed well with it up but board would help the boat not slide. I disassembled the entire system when I bought boat and had a few parts custom made for replacements. Cable never broke in 10 years and my grand daughter could pull the board up......
I would not hesitate.

Greg
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Old 07-06-2018, 15:38   #15
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Re: Centerboards - good or bad

CB"s are great in skinny water and depending on your under belly full keel or split, is necessary for close hauled work. Access to the pin for servicing or replacement is a definite factor to consider. And that the thickness of the keel shoe should be ample to absorb the stresses. I almost bought a Mercer 44 yawl with a bronze CB recently that I had lusted after for 30 years. That being said sadly, during the survey we found that great pie shaped pieces of the lead under the pin both sides had come adrift and were no longer able to sustain the load with board down. Big money to fix. She is still for sale. My Hood 40 with CB is great and predominantly used to balance the helm. If I could afford it and buy another boat I might consider a drop keel. But am very happy with what I've got....easy to get into shallow hurricane holes.
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