RE: Keel Trunks Redux And Centerboard Cables

Judith Blumhorst, DC (
Fri, 17 Dec 1999 14:38:51 -0800

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
West Wight Potter Website at URL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Hi Andy,

Thanks for writing to tell me about what happened to your keel trunk. I think that unbreakable steel bolts are part of the problem. Sooner or later, every boat runs aground. I have a suggestion: how about using nylon nuts for your lockdown bolts? That way, the nut will break before you do any other substantial damage. I believe the bolts are a metric #8, so you may have to search around for them in nylon. Don't take my word for on the size; the lockdown assembly I saw may be different from yours.

On my boat, I intend to install a short piece of rope from the keel cap to a cleat on the trunk, in addition to to the breakway lockdown bolt. I'll leave 8 or 9" of slack in the rope. That way, the keel can ride up, but if we get knock down subsequently, the keel can't come out of the trunk very far. I'll put the nylon break-away bolt thru the keel and trunk to lock the keel perfectly still.

Jerry Barrilleaux's old P19 has a rope from the keel cap to a cleat on the trunk, and it's perfect. It takes two secs to secure or undue it, and it's infinitely adjustable. Simple and sweet.

Yes, people have replaced the wire keel cable with strong, low stretch line. With my keel winch, I couldn't do that because of the way the cable attached to the drum. You probably can just tie a knot to your keel. Spectra line is *very* strong in a small diameter (almost as strong as cable)- that might be a good line to use. Just be sure to tie a very secure knot; spectra is also very slippery (which makes it work well in the winch but makes it hard to tie a secure knot). There are special knots that you use for tying slippery line. Most of them have one extra loop on the tail of the line for extra friction. Brion Toss' book _The Rigger's Apprentice_ has some good knots for slippery line.

About removing the cable: I remove the cable on my keel for overnighting. I just undo the bolt, slip the cable off it and put the bolt back thru the keel cap. It makes the cabin feel HUGE!!! However, be sure to put the cable back on before you go out sailing again unless you're in very deep water. You may need to raise the keel quickly if you run aground. If you can raise the keel in a second or two, you don't even need to lower the sails.

Hope I answered all your questions!

Fair winds,

From: Krumpe, Andrew[]
Sent: Friday, December 17, 1999 1:37 PM
To: 'Judith Blumhorst, DC'
Cc: 'wwp list'
Subject: Keel Trunks Redux And Centerboard Cables


I must be the 3rd person to damage the centerboard trunk in all of
Potterdom. I described it on the list last year, but I'll briefly review it
here. I hit a submerged rock with the bottom of the centerboard, bringing
the boat to a complete and abrupt stop. I know this because the front
lockdown bolt acted as a pivot, causing the rear bolt (stainless steel) to
push up through the fiberglass. I have a 1995 P19, and the fiberglass there
is more lie "-5/8" thick. However, the bolt came completely out through the
top of the trunk making quite a mess of the fiberglass. The fiberglass
centerboard cap was ruined, and when the centerboard could pivot no more,
the front bolt came out through the fiberglass too. The centerboard hit the
back of the trunk at the keel, but the repair yard inspected it and could
find no damage - a good show of hull strength in critical areas.

The repairs included repairing the trunk (you know, hoisting the boat in
order to drop the centerboard), making and installing a new cap (out of
TEAK!!!), and reterminating the cable. We paid a deductible, but insurance
paid the rest. The bill was pretty high, giving me another reason to
navigate more diligently, but they did an excellent job.

Now, I've got a new question. Do you know of anyone who has done one or both
of the following modifications:
1. Replaced the centerboard cable with small diameter, low stretch
line, or
2. Installed a quick-release mechanism on the centerboard cap so that
the cable (or line) can be swung up out of the way once the centerboard is
locked in the down position.
I think that if this were done it would open up the cabin tremendously. We
spent 5 night on the boat on Block Island last summer (me, wife, 6-year old
son), and getting those cables out of the way would be a big improvement.

Andy Krumpe
P19 Great Wight
Seacoast of New Hampshire
Current weather conditions: Dark

Judy B. wrote:

Mac et al,

I'm curious about how your keel locks down. I'm one of four people
(including you) that I know of who have damaged their P19 keel trunk...