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Old 14-03-2010, 13:15   #1
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Replacing a Broken Centerboard On A BlueWater Cruiser?

Would like to hear any "expert" opinions or advice from monohull sailors re: centerboards. We currently live/cruise on a 47ft Wellington monohull (motorsailor), with 14'9" beam, 5ft draft (shoal draft keel), 45,000lb displacement. Had a roll down centerboard (to extend draft to 9ft, made of steel, fiberglass) but was torn off (ie cracked near the base) in rough weather while 500 miles out to sea, on our way from Florida to Puerto Rico. The boat doesnt sail as well without it but we are debating whether to replace it, given the hefty cost. Has anyone with heavy blue water cruisers had a similar dilemma ? How safe is it to sail such a boat without a centerboard in rough-ish weather (it sails fine in mild winds, calm seas) ? The centerboard made a significant difference, especially stabilizing the boat in rough weather but I have heard of a number of owners taking off their centerboards after problems - although this has mainly been on non-blue water cruisers/lighter displacement boats.
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Old 25-03-2010, 10:15   #2
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Center boards provide resistance that help move the hull through the water. No board less resistance less to windward performance. If you wish to you could add some more keel to the boat. You should get a naval architect if you do this. Off wind performance may show some side slipage. It costs $$. Should you not replace the board and try to sell later the boat becomes less attractive to buyers. If you replace it Go with thicker steel only. Coal-tar epoxy ( commercial grade) after sand blasting and coat with a hard epoxy A/F before the epoxy is fulling cured. Then add two more coats of A/F and install. Who ever does the work make sure they know how to compensate for the differance in board thickness.
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Old 25-03-2010, 11:39   #3
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Center boards reduce leeway going to weather. For other points of sail, they may have benefits to trim the helm when partially extended. Other than that, the boards don't really do much unless they were designed as added ballast even when up. Many people who have a center board boat never deploy them. Many cruisers have removed the board and glassed in the trunk.

It really depends on how your boat sails without the board. If you can live with the additional leeway going to weather, deleting the board will save you big money. You are looking at a lot of boat units to build a new board and install it.
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Old 25-03-2010, 14:28   #4
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My Bristol 35 is the centerboard version. Right now the board is stuck up in the trunk and as I have no winch for it that is where it will stay. Once I feel I can get it all sorted I will get the board down and have a look. With the board down the boat is supposed to draw over 9 feet, and in a creek that was just dredged to 6 feet even the high high tides aren't enough so I don't want to chance that.

Evidently the previous owner (who seemed a bit of a scatter brain) didn't realize the board was there until the year before we bought her, and he had owned the boat 5 years at that point.

She seems to do ok, probably make a little more leeway than she should but that's ok for now.
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Old 25-03-2010, 15:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyEscape View Post
Has anyone with heavy blue water cruisers had a similar dilemma ? How safe is it to sail such a boat without a centerboard in rough-ish weather (it sails fine in mild winds, calm seas) ? The centerboard made a significant difference, especially stabilizing the boat in rough weather but I have heard of a number of owners taking off their centerboards after problems - although this has mainly been on non-blue water cruisers/lighter displacement boats.

The main question is above. There have been lots of threads/comments on the site as to the theory etc of the boards. This would be a great thread to NOT go back over the old and to get to real world experience. Since I'm currently considering a boat with a board I would love to hear real experienced answers also. (just to support my new found ranting nature)
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Old 25-03-2010, 17:14   #6
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The comments above are correct. I had a broken centerboard on a Cambria 44/46 and elected to have it replaced. $$$. Without the board, I sailed offshore to Nova Scotia without incident. I noted that I lost a minimal amount of pointing ability and the boat was slightly more tender. I also noticed, however, a little sailing at anchor. On a Cambria, the board only weighs 78 lbs and is used primarily for pointing and not for ballast. The boat has a draft of 5'8" and with the board down draws 9'5" so the comparison might not be valid. In any case, you will hurt the value of your boat should you "alter" its sailing characteristics in any way.
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:38   #7
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Re: Replacing a Broken Centerboard On A BlueWater Cruiser?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjohnson View Post
Center boards provide resistance that help move the hull through the water. No board less resistance less to windward performance. If you wish to you could add some more keel to the boat. You should get a naval architect if you do this. Off wind performance may show some side slipage. It costs $$. Should you not replace the board and try to sell later the boat becomes less attractive to buyers. If you replace it Go with thicker steel only. Coal-tar epoxy ( commercial grade) after sand blasting and coat with a hard epoxy A/F before the epoxy is fulling cured. Then add two more coats of A/F and install. Who ever does the work make sure they know how to compensate for the differance in board thickness.
Just lost centerboard on 1984 Bristol 47.7 in heavy weather in Gulf Stream. Thought cable broke but inspection under water showed board missing. Just overhauled system and removed board/pin April 2012, as well as cable which was entirely removed from winch making me believe cable did not merely break, but pin broke. This after large bang. Perhaps hit a submerged container or possibly board moving up and down in heavy waves could have caused this. Any thoughts?

Can you suggest where I can have a new board built?

Many thanks/regards,
John Demere, "Ocean Queen", Savannah, GA
Tel: 912-398-9820
email: jdemere@primeoceanmarine.com
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