Forum - Keel and Centre Plate - Help: Sailing without lowered centreboard

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Help: Sailing without lowered centreboard 7Mon 10 Jun 2024 21:05:08
Opsimath Opsimath Thu 25 Apr 2024 09:45:27 I’ve just posted this on ‘For Sale’ board by mistake. Trying again…

Red Herring’s centreboard is again jammed in the raised position. Banging doesn’t release it. Reading many entries on this site (including from my boat’s previous owner) and the real challenges of raising the boat on shore to gain access I have this question:

How many of you Manta sailors give up on lowering the centreboard and sail purely with the keel box as a ‘keel’?


Opsimath Opsimath Thu 25 Apr 2024 13:21:55 For information in case others have the same issue I’ve managed to fix the problem. The lesson for others is that random hammering with a steel pole down on the keel through the chain hole is unlikely to work. All I achieved was jamming the pole between the centre board and the hull. So the brute force method was a total failure. I then tried and succeeded with more finesse after a night’s sleep as follows:

1) bought an endoscope for about £80 (see image)

2) fed the endoscope camera wire through a 1m aluminium tube (cost £3) that could fit through the 3/4” chain hole and that would allow the camera position to be exactly determined.

3) with the side camera turned on I was able to precisely identify the vertical drop from chain hole to shackle on centre board. And the tilt of the aluminium pipe told me the fore/aft position as well.

4) at this position I carefully marked the aluminium pipe at the point it emerged through the chain hole. I wrapped insulating tape around the aluminium at this point.

5) I had an old 1/2” steel rod from the garden and asked our local engineering shop to grind a ‘V’ in one end (Mackays here in Cambridge did it for nothing!) so that the rod would grip the top of the centreboard which would be out of view. I also transferred the marked length from aluminium tube to steel rod, again using insulating tape.

6) Finally, and very carefully, I lowered the rod through the chain hole to the exact depth and felt around cautiously to seat the V notch over what felt like the centreboard lug.

7) with one light tap the centreboard released. After removing the rod I repeatedly raised and lowered the centreboard on the chain and feel reasonably confident now that it’ll be fine for the season!

I hope this helps others facing a minor jam like mine. Enough to stop the CB dropping under its own weight but not entirely rusted in situ. £83 spent but considerably less than hiring a boatyard crane and less worry than the brave owner on this site who lifted his boat onto blocks to access from below.
Help: Sailing without lowered centreboard
Ian & Julie Ian & Julie Sun 28 Apr 2024 19:07:54 Well done, what an inspiration!we’ve yet to try ours but will bear in mind this sound advice of yours. Thanks 🙏
Ian & Julie Ian & Julie Sun 28 Apr 2024 19:09:35 There’s an added bonus haha - you’ll be able to see if your colon is clear !
Opsimath Opsimath Sun 28 Apr 2024 21:43:55 You’re right. You never know when an endoscope might come in handy!
Drucouloir Drucouloir Tue 07 May 2024 00:52:42 Nice fix! Thanks for the update
waterboatman waterboatman Thu 23 May 2024 20:18:17 I can see that your question has not been fully answered.

The information offered so far is excellent and I was even tempted to purchase an endoscope myself if it wasn't for the fact that I have already had a few personal past experiences with this delightful invention!

I currently have a Manta 19 and the keel does go up and down.

15 years ago I also had a Manta 19 I sailed on Lake Windermere which was a joy.

I was used to the reassuring clunk of the keel moving from side to side whilst on the mooring and sailed happily without the bother of having to raise or lower the keel.

It was only some months later I felt the boat wasn't pointing in to the wind quite as I had expected but put it down to my sloppy sailing.

Later, whilst safely on the mooring, I realised it was quite peaceful and there was no knocking sound and when I investigated, I could see light down the hole where the keel should have been!

The boat had been previously been sailed in the saline solution so I should have realised that a bit of wear and corrosion to the keel bolt should have been investigated. Unfortunately I didn't . I painted it but didn't go as far as removing the keel.

So, in answer to your question, it depends how serious a sailor you are, where you wish to sail, and if, like me there is no hurry, don't worry. Enjoy it as it is.

Hope this helps. They are excellently built boats and can give so much enjoyment - just a shame about the annoying keel.
Ian & Julie Ian & Julie Mon 10 Jun 2024 21:05:08 Yes I agree , in a previous manta we couldn’t lower our keel but had a very enjoyable time nonetheless on Coniston. We hardly noticed much difference , in fact we did eventually fix it (see previous posts) but I don’t think we’d bother again , if it drops off !

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