Advice Sought on Refinishing Centerboard

David Kautz (
Mon, 01 Feb 1999 10:39:34 -0800

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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Yesterday afternoon I decided that the time had come to remove and
refinish the centerboard of my P-15, something I've wanted to do since I
bought the boat about 9 months ago.

My P-15 was built by HMS sometime around 1987, I'm told. It is one of
the variety that has a painted steel plate and also has two concrete
blocks in the bilge. I weighed the centerboard once I got it out and
it's just over 70 lbs. One of the concrete blocks was already loose and
the other needed only a little persuasion so I weighed them too - the
pair are 23 lbs. So, combined, I'm not too far from the advertised

I'm tempted not to replace the concrete blocks. Positioned where they
were, it was near impossible to sponge water out of the keel recess
where it collects in front of the CB trunk. I think it has been
mentioned that both the earlier AND later Potters do without the
concrete "pigs" - is the centerboard heavier in those boats? If the
ballast is really necessary, what about replacing the concrete with
something else that could be removed quickly to dry the bilge?

The motive for refinishing the centerboard is, of course, because it is
rusty. The rust is primarily concentrated in two places - the bottom tip
where it has struck things and around the slots cut for the pivot. This
second area was rusted so badly I had a tough time getting the
centerboard to disengage from the pivot pin. There was enough corrosion
in the normally unused portion of the slot that it had gotten too small
to allow the pin to pass through. Some scraping and a lot of
back-and-forth and it eventually succumbed.

I've stripped the old paint off, Naval Jellied and ground out the rust
ane now have a bare steel centerboard in my garage. The question I have
is "What to do next?":

Paint it like before and repeat this exercise in 10 years?

Scrap it and buy a brand new galvanized one from IM?

Try and find some one who could "hot-dip galvanize" my present CB

Spray it with the "galvanize-in-a-can" stuff?

I'm curious whether anyone has experience with that last item. The
manufacturers claim that their product is in excess of 90% zinc after it
dries and will work as a sacrificial anode the way that conventional
galvanizing does. Is this for real? Will the stuff adhere?

Anyway, if those of you who have done this project (or one like it)
before could help me with some advice, it would be much appreciated.


Dave Kautz
P-15 #1632 "Tilly Lucy"
Palo Alto, CA