Subject: centreboard maintenance advice from Dick Harrington and Uncle Al
a question from Jack Blodgett, new Wayfarer in the Carolinas:
Hi Dick,

I posted this question on the Yahoo Wayfarer forum site but thought also I'd ask you directly:

You recall that I bought Nick Puryear's wooden-kit Wayfarer back in the early fall.  The boat was in such great condition, I never even thought to ask him about the condition of the centreboard.  I now want to know how to get the CB out to look at it - - possibly fix it up if at all necessary.  Nick seemed to remember being able to get the board out while it was sitting on the trailer with the board in a fully retracted position (and to get it back in again).  But he wasn't 100% sure about that - - it's been a long time, he said.  Maybe this issue is too basic for people (other than myself!) to have questions about, but I could find very little about the process in any of the technical or forum info anywhere.

My questions:
1.  While the boat is sitting on the trailer with the CB in full-up position, can I just take out the pivot bolt and pull the CB up and out - - - and then get it back in again?  I'm wondering whether the CB brake will prevent the board from coming out (unless I loosened it ahead of time while out in the water, etc.) - - - or whether, if not, it would be difficult to line up the holes in the case and CB to get it back in again while in the fully retracted position).

2.  Instead, should I just go and get the boat afloat, put the board down, loosen the brake, take out the pivot bolt, and pull out the CB? (Meanwhile, will the boat start filling up with water?  I have a feeling that's a question that might draw some laughter - - but ... that's just how much I don't know!)

3.  If there are serious issues with the above "methods", what's the best way to do it (hopefully short of careening the boat over on its side, and assuming that I would need to do everything without any help)?

4.  Assuming I get the board out and spruce it up if it needs it, is there anything else I should do with the fittings, etc. while it's apart?  E.g., I think there may be a small amount of leakage around the pivot bolt - - would new rubber washers pretty much fix this?

Thanks for any advice!

Jack Blodgett W7978

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Harrington
To: Jack Blodgett
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 10:51 AM
Subject: Centerboard Question
Hi Jack,
<>... From what I remember about the picture appearance of your boat, it wasn't abused, so maybe CB is pretty good.  Hopefully, Nick epoxied the board when he originally built the boat.  If that is the case, the only thing you may need to do is fix any nicks and bangs.  If the board appears to be only painted, or varnished, I strongly recommend giving it three to four coats of West epoxy.  Of course this requires taking it down to bare wood.  It there is evidence of any top ply cracking, severe checking, or soft spots you should apply a layer of glass cloth.  Don't go hog wild with the glass as the added thickness will make the board tighter in the slot. Also, sight along the board for any sign of warping.  Warping is hard to correct. However, my board had some and when I glassed it I applied some reverse bend to the board to try to correct the problem.  It was just a guessing game but it did help some.  The paint on my board has worn off, but since the portion that is in the CB trunk and below water doesn't see UV radiation I've not bothered to repaint it. (Al's note: I highly recommend that if you ever take your centreboard or rudder down to the wood, that you epoxy on a layer of fibreglass cloth, as extra insurance against breakage which could leave you in serious straits, especially if cruising alone. Always being careful not to end up with something that no longer fits into the box or the rudder head. If it's a tight fit now, then sanding a little extra wood away before glassing might be advisable, although thin cloth adds very little thickness as I recall, perhaps 1/32"? I have never painted or varnished my board or rudder blade since the epoxy and glass job in 1979, and they are doing just fine. Of course my boat is covered when not sailing and does not live in the Carolinas.) 
The safest way to remove the board is to bite the bullet and put the boat onto the grass and roll it onto its side.  Depending upon the construction of your trailer you can get the board out by shifting the boat aft until there is clear space beneath.  This is tricky because you don't want to drop the boat and usually the balance becomes back heavy.  Some kind of support such as a sawhorse is necessary. (Al's note: see also my alternative approach below)  The board will not come out until it is about 2/3's or 3/4's in the down position.  You can either drop it below or take it from above. (below requires knob removal, though!) Getting it back in place is a search in the haystack game with the pivot bolt.  A trick I read about uses a string run through one side of the hole in the trunk, then through the board hole and out the other side of the trunk.  This should help a great deal in getting the holes lined up.
Hope this helps.

----- Original Message ----
From: Jack Blodgett
To: Richard Harrington
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 4:23:52 PM

Thanks, Dick.  All makes sense.  Nick assures me that he DID West-System epoxy the CB (and everything else recommended for it) so I don't really expect much of a problem.  It occurs to me, too, of course, that I may not even have to take the board completely out if it looks okay or if I can fix any minor nicks, etc. on the spot.
One follow-up on the CB brake: I assume I need to lower the board low enough to also get at the CB brake - - to loosen it before I try to pull the board out.  Yes?
Would it pay to put new washers on the pivot bolt?  I read a hilarious "fix" for minor leakage at that point on the UK site - - using the "perfect-fit" washers that fortuitously come with the Grolsch pint-beer caps.  Drink one beer for one washer to get ready to take the CB out, and drink another beer to get ready to put the board back in - - in order to get your two required washers!  (Al's note: Heck, now that you mention it, we consumed enough Grolsches at the Cedar Point Rally last year to do a dozen boats. Will have to save the washers next time - perhaps during the Chesapeake Cruise?)
Thanks again.

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Harrington
To: Jack Blodgett
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 12:57 PM

The leading edge and tip of the board invariably suffer nicks and often much more.  By now, if the boat was been sailed much, there should be at least minor repairs required.  So you need to get the board in the down position and once there, it's no big deal to remove it entirely, inspect everything (inside the slot, replace the brake, which is a piece of (car radiator) hose, and so on.  With the board down, by using a long-shank screw driver the tension on the brake can be adjusted.
There are literally hundreds of opinions regarding pivot bolt seals.  GRP boats suffer from 'tin canning' (flexing) of the trunk's side panels, where as woodies, being stiffer, allow easier sealing.  Thus, things devised to deal with GRP construction don't necessarily apply to a wooden boat.  I use what are called fender (or pan) washers, which are the largest washers you can get, with a large diameter neoprene rubber washer to match (cut it out of 1/8" flat stock).  You won't have any problem. 

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, March 18, 2007 10:35 PM
Subject: Re: Centerboard Question

Hi, guys:
Once again, I am at last being moved to reply as I prepare your materials for a Weekly Whiffle later tonight. Being the inventor of the saying "Laziness is next to godliness", I am (almost) all in favour of removing the centreboard while the boat is on the trailer, preferably on your front lawn where it can raise the whole tone of your neighbourhood at the same time!! Dick has covered everything else perfectly.
Regarding board removal and subsequent re-installation with a minimum of help, I will however, add my two cents' worth and list the options as I see them, along with pros, cons and procedures:
1. boat stays on trailer
> use magic marker to draw a line along at least one side of the board in its full-up position (if you have a pin [a few inches forward of the thwart near the top edge of the box] that holds the board up for on-the-trailer storage, that should be all you need to locate the board in more or less the correct position for bolt re-insertion later; otherwise, mark the centreboard box where the front of the board emerges from it, then line it up accordingly for re-insertion - I use a screwdriver of appropriate size to try to locate the bolt hole in the centreboard, and having found the hole, I swing the screwdriver around in a couple of circles to make sure the board hole is as lined up as possible with the holes in the CB box. To play it safe, I use the bolt to push the screwdriver back out. This lets me easily make fine adjustments as needed and guards against the possibility of "losing" the CB bolt hole altogether and having to start over.)  
> remove bolt
> don't worry too much about loosening the brake (there is no lip at the top - or bottom - of the CB box on the wooden boats - lucky us!!) - it's actually best to have some amount of friction so that the board will be inclined to stay in the places you move it to, especially until you get the boat moved to a place on the trailer where you will be able to remove the board 
> gently try to slide the board up and out (on W3854 the board will come part way out but then gets wedged because its lower edge is obstructed by a cross piece on my trailer)
> this means the boat must be slid aft on the trailer a few inches before a second (or God forbid third) attempt is made N.B. make sure you put the board back into the full-up position before trying to slide the boat aft on the trailer - if possible/necessary, use the pin to hold it in that position; otherwise tie it to the mast step using the knobs on the upper front corner of the board 
> before trying to move the boat on the trailer, I hook the trailer up to the car with the parking brake on. This does two things: it allows my wife and me to physically drag the boat aft a few inches while holding the trailer in place, and two, it allows me to get into the boat without fear that it will tip over backwards and slam the aft end onto the ground if I move too far aft in the boat (our boat has minimal tongue weight in normal trailering position, perhaps 20 lbs?, so moving the boat aft makes the balance factor a tad precarious) (if you have a trailer that "breaks" make sure it is "locked" in the no-break position. A small aside here, even two of us once had trouble sliding a boat we were bringing down to Richard Johnson at the 2003 Cottonwood Regatta in Charlotte so we resorted to the following:
the end result - and here's how we did it:
It did of course require a delicate touch on the clutch and gas pedal - we were actually just trying to reduce the excessive tongue weight before making the trip from Toronto to Charlotte!!!

- convenience, can be done at home, etc.
- no need to raise the mast and rig it up
- requires a certain amount of manhandling but nothing excessive
2. boat is removed from the trailer onto your front lawn or equivalent, preferably onto some kind of padded surface (old sleeping bag?)
Procedure: get lots of bodies to help, especially if your trailer does not "break" > rig the mast (forestay and shrouds) > remove all floorboards and other loose gear from the boat > tip boat over onto its side (hanging off one of the shrouds will usually do it, and it's nice to have a helper to keep the boat from swinging sideways N.B. watch that the mast is in no danger of hitting power lines!!!) > tie or weigh the mast tip down for obvious reasons > mark the board as above to facilitate re-insertion later > lower the board full down (beware!!! on at least one occasion, two of us had trouble getting the board to start going down, and while I went to see if something was wedged into the CB slot in the hull, my crew really yanked on the board which suddenly moved violently and just missed knocking out all of my upper teeth - one of the scariest sailing experiences I have ever had!) > remove bolt and then the board (loosen brake if desired but don't be like me and forget to re-tighten to desired friction level after re-insertion and before letting the boat come upright again) > fix anything that needs fixing > re-insert using the marks to help find bolt hole > re-insert bolt (with lots of silicone sealer between washer and CB box, on top of what Dick has suggested) > bring board back up to full-up position, checking that friction level is such that it takes some but not excessive effort to move the board up or down > adjust brake as necessary (better too much than too little friction since a board that keeps floating into the full-up position is an annoyance or worse) > re-right the boat (best mechanical advantage for control can be achieved by using the (cleated) main halyard which of course gives leverage from the top of the mast) > winch the boat back onto its trailer (with at least enough help to keep the boat aligned and level - especially if you have a trailer that breaks, damage to your lawn can be minimized by hooking the trailer to your car once again - otherwise you get divots as the angled trailer is winched towards the boat which tends to become the immovable object
- board is marginally easier to remove and re-insert
- location is such that the boat can be left on its side or at least upright on the lawn while the centreboard work is done
- far more work
- more assistance required
- potential for hull scrapes is greater
3. launch boat where it can be tipped onto its side at the water's edge
Procedure: similar to the onto-the-lawn routine: launch, tip over at the water's edge and then proceed as for #2 (we have tried to remove/re-insert the board while keeping the boat upright in water deep enough to lower the board, but let me tell you that racing to line up all the holes for re-insertion while the water is gushing in, is a high stress occupation that I cannot recommend!!! Removing the board this way is actually not too bad since the bolt can be quickly re-inserted and excess water in the boat avoided.)
- slightly easier access to the board than #1
- can be done with minimal help
- minimal risk of boat damage
- two trips to the water's edge required, the second for re-insertion - each will entail raising and lowering the mast, time that could be better spent having a nap!
- far more work than #1
- extra bolt insertions (1. after board removal but before re-righting the boat unless you love bailing  2. before the second launch prior to re-insertion of the board)
Boy, Jack, this turned into something longer than I had expected! Upon mature reflection, I would say that option 1 is far and away the preferable option, and it's one that most trailers I have seen will fairly easily allow. And now I just hope that this advice has not come too late.
Good luck! May the work go easily!!
Best regards,
Uncle Al (W3854)