I have the owner’s manual for my boat that the previous owner gave to
me. It described the removal of the centerboard and I (being mostly
German and mechanically inclined) had to try taking it apart. The
boat is an ’87 model and I don't know when the last inspection was
performed. I took the centerboard out and found that because the
first guide/keel roller on the trailer was missing, the centerboard
took a beating on the leading edge.
I filled the chunks with epoxy/fiberglass filler, sanded the leading
edge straight and covered all edges (leading, bottom and trailing)
with a 4" strip of fiberglass cloth and bonded with
fiberglass/polyester. I put two coats of polyester on, sanded smooth
and painted black. Net effect is a nice new looking centerboard that
nobody but me will ever see and appreciate.
The pivot pin seems to be made of fiberglass with a plastic or metal
jacket. It's about 3" long and rides in a vertical slot raceway that
would allow the board to rise upward somewhat even when the board is
fully retracted. I can only guess that's the purpose of the vertical
slot. The c/b has a stainless steel core through the pivot. The shaft
is therefore riding inside the stainless c/b jacket. My pin is the
original, if I don't miss my guess. It showed only minimal wear, and
not around the stainless core, but along the edges where it rides in
If you find that you have to open the c/b trunk, be prepared to use a
power screwdriver a lot! You must remove the entry step, then the
settee on the port side to gain access to all the screws holding down
the cabin sole plate. They must think that it will hover if not held
down by 20 screws. So far you've removed the carpet, the interior
seating area, the step/settee and the sole plate.
You now can see the c/b trunk cap with its 40-or-more screws. Remove
all those and pry the cap off. Mine was stuck down by the rubber
gasket. Once you crack the seal, you're home free.
BTW, I picked up a tip at the factory concerning the pop-top. I would
have never thought to put it up because the mast wasn't up. They let
the forward end of the top lie on deck and raise the pop-top fully at
The c/b just pulls up. You can remove it for inspection, etc. I found
that my c/b lifting system had been modified some time past, and I
had only a 2-to-1 mechanical advantage. I added a pulley and made
mine a 3-to-1.
My guess is that the c/b line is tangled some way to prevent full
extension of the c/b. It could be that the pivot pin is worn in such
a way that the c/b is not perpendicular with the trunk walls and
falls at an angle that would allow the c/b to wedge in the trunk.
It's too simple to be much else.
Here is how I removed the centerboard:
** Do NOT do this on the water. **
- 1) Loosen the electrical panel ('86 it is below the companionway).
Need to do this so the settee will come off.
- 2) Remove the settee. Not as hard as you might think, just back
out the screws holding it down to the supports.
- 3) Remove (lift up) the casing surrounding the raised portion of
the centerboard trunk.
- 4) Move the drawer out of the way.
- 5) Remove the table support bracket and the carpet.
- 6) Remove the center portion of the cabin sole over the
centerboard cap (mine is not screwed down, unlike the surrounding
sole). This should fully expose the centerboard cap.
- 7) Loosen the clamp holding the lower portion of the pendant
tube in place.
- 8) Untie the stopper from the end of the pendant; remove the
- 9) Back out all of the screws holding the cap in place. Do not
damage the fiberglass.
- 10) CAREFULLY remove the centerboard cap and gasket. Mine felt
as if it was glued in place, but it wasn't. I was able to get mine
off without prying.
- 11) Take note of the way your pendant is run through the blocks.
Mine has two blocks on the centerboard, two blocks on the cap, and a
roller on the cap (aft) to guide the pendant through the pendant
tube. The pendant is tied to the centerboard, run through the
forward-most block on the cap, through the forward (upper) block on
the CB, aft block on the cap, aft (lower) block on the CB, aft of the
roller, and then through the cap, tube, and out to the cockpit.
- 12) Forward, there were two pieces of plastic pipe holding the
CB down in its pivot slot. They were not screwed in place; they just
fit in the pin slot to hold down the pivot pin on the centerboard.
Lift them out.
- 13) Lift the CB out of the trunk. I was very careful not to
damage the centerboard trunk with it. The old style CB is almost the
same as the rudder, except there is a pivot pin near the top, only
one hole for the pendant, and two blocks on the trailing edge.
Lifting the rudder should give you a good idea of the weight.
- 14) Aft, there may be a plastic piece with a "V" cutout (open
end down) to keep the CB from banging around when it is up. This
was held in place by two screws set diagonally through the CB case.
These were the source of my problem, because they went through the
trunk to the bilge.
- Stan suggested removing it and plugging the holes, but I like
the idea of having it to prevent banging, so I plan to build up the
fiberglass on the outside of the trunk so that the screws don't
penetrate. I will probably also use sealant on that bracket.
(Better safe than sorry, and I should not need to remove it).
I'm afraid I can't tell you how to put it all back together, because
I haven't done it. I assume that doing all of this in reverse will
A few suggestions I've heard from others who have done it:
- 1) Be ready to replace screws with bolts, because some of the
screws may have stripped the threads out of the fiberglass
- 2) One school of thought recommends sealing the gasket. The
down side is that will make it even MORE difficult to remove the
next time. Perhaps so difficult the fiberglass cap won't survive.
I do not plan to use sealant. I'll clean the mating surfaces well,
and if it leaks, I'll replace the gasket and try again. If it STILL
leaks, I'll try a sealant.
- 3) Some have not bothered to replace the hoses used to hold the
CB down and reduce banging. I will.
- 4) While you are in there, clean and paint the CB and well with
several coats of bottom paint. Also replace the pendant and tube.
Additional comments from MJM:
- 1) Replace the tube and pendant (line) and bottom-paint the area
while you are at it.
- 2) Most likely you have screws holding the cap into the trunk.
Discard them and re-drill to thru-bolt with stainless steel bolts
with oversize washers (both sides, but not so large they over hang)
and nylon-insert lock nuts.
- 3) Drill and tighten the seal in one direction, one hole at a
time. You do not want a "pucker" in the seal that pre-drilling and
cross tightening might introduce.
- 4) Buy / borrow an adjustable torque driver: over- or
under-tightening is bad. Use a socket wrench with a universal joint:
tight clearance in a small space and about 50 to be done.
- 5) Order the parts from GB, if you need a new centerboard, it
might need some trimming to fit, try it before (on dry land) sealing
Need any and all info on replacing complete centerboard. Any manuals
or advice will be greatly appreciated. Line broke while putting boat
in water and centerboard dropped down and jammed and came up into
cabin. Admiral is a very mean and nasty person right now and is
severely angered. Capt. demoted to full time bilge rat until all
repairs completed. Stan, I hope you read your e-mail about parts
needed. Any assistance will really be helpful.
First thing you need to do is remove the port settee plywood decking
that goes across and forms your cabin step. That is an easy, but time
consuming job with many screws. Charge up your battery-powered
screwdriver and have at it. Once that is out of the way (the under
step drawer has to come out too, along with the side support). You
can now gain access to the floorboards that cover the centerboard
cap. You would also remove any carpeting prior to getting the
You will expose the centerboard cap at this point, having removed the
floor boards. If you had the centerboard come up through the cap, you
probably need to order that from General Boats unless you feel
confident in fiberglass repair. You will have to remove a whole
bunch of centerboard cap screws around the flange of the centerboard
cap. That allows you to remove the centerboard and get to the broken
line. BTW, if it is still threaded through its pulley system make
note of how it is routed. There are variations on this.
I wouldn't be surprised if you did have damage to both the well and
the centerboard. If you have cracks in the centerboard well area,
you might consider professional repairs, since this is a critical
area to have damage. I would remove all parts and inspect after
cleaning up the area. You could attempt the fiberglass repair
yourself, but unless you have had some experience with fiberglass,
I would not attempt repair.
We launched Fretnaught again on Friday, and the repairs to the
centerboard trunk seem to have worked!
We had no water in the bilge at launching, and no moisture around the
centerboard trunk where I added fiberglass to patch the holes or
around the gasket. Not wanting to jinx things, we decided to hold
off on the announcement until after she sat in the water for a few
Well, yesterday it rained in torrents. Today we went to the lake
expecting to see water in the bilge from either the rain or a failed
Not a drop.
So, I put the interior back together and went for a sail! Even the
new radio, depth and speed instruments worked flawlessly. Life is
The only thing I can complain about now is that the centerboard
bangs around more than it once did. There is plastic pipe in the
pivot pin slots of the trunk to reduce banging, but perhaps I didn't
put them back properly. Well, that will give me a project for
04 Jul 2000