Latest News: Forums Cruising Centreboard stuck

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  • #4587

    Bit of an old chestnut for the experienced among you, but I have a request for the best solution to having allowed a selection of small pebbles into the centreboard casing, thereby trapping the centreboard in the up position. Specifically, is there a best piece of ‘kit’ to use to dislodge them ? Many thanks in anticipation


    You may want to wear gloves or tape the blade to protect your hands.


    Much appreciated, I’ll let you know how I get on.


    I made a hook about 50cm long by 2 cm wide with a hook at one end from thin stainless steel sheet, similar to the model advertised in Wayfarer News. So when our centreboard became stuck (Clashot to Gurnard Gremlins Issue 123) I was confident that I had the answer in the locker. But the stone wouldn’t come up and when ashore I couldn’t pull it down from underneath but it was readily knocked out backwards. Probably something to do with the taper on the centreboard. Having the tool was one thing, knowing how to use it was something else!
    Nick Giles
    LizzieB 9922


    I cut a sizeable notch in the end of a 60cm steel rule as instructed by a dude called Chris Yerbury. Not used in anger yet though.

    Colin Parkstone

    Just watch out for your sailcloth slot gaskets if your poking about with all this steel work, that’s of course if you have some in the first place which could be reason why the stones.
    Slot gasket will not keep out sand though!


    Many thanks to everyone for information with regard to this one. I’d love to be able to provide the definitive “I’ve just done it, so I can give the up to date info ” bulletin…..,but I can’t. On the plus side the board is free and on the move again, but exactly which action brought about its freedom I am not sure. I started by squirting a healthy dose of washing up liquid down both sides thinking it couldn’t do any harm. Then after a break, board not moving, I set about with saw blade ( wrapped in insulating tape just to give my pinkies half a chance ). Trying all possible angles boat upright on its side, attacking from above and below etc,I tried to locate the offending cobble(s). I couldn’t and nothing at all seemed to come out. Thinking I would resume battle another day I decided to give the boat a good lather and hose down. During this pampering a passer by who knew of my problem noticed the board had dropped down slightly. I then pushed on the front top side of the board to try and work it to the fully up position and with a snap it came up, thereafter, we pushed it off the trailer into water and found it was happy to move through the full range (Very happy courtesy of washing up liquid). Maybe it just responded to an afternoon’s worth of ‘select’ language. If I have learnt nothing else from the experience, it is to try not to repeat it. Thanks again.


    Read an interesting solution to this in Roger Barnes Cruising book about drilling a 10mm hole in the aft end of the center board case and sealing it with a bung to stop water splashing in.
    Then if board becomes jammed insert a long bolt / metal rod etc and hit the other end with something heavy (mallet / anchor / spare crew member 🙂 to force it down.

    Not tried but planning to add a suitable hole as there are several nice but pebbly beaches in my cruising areas (e.g. Blackpool Sands near Dartmouth in South Devon) where I have heard of people having this problem after a lunch stop.

    Will let you know how I get on.

    W9817 Nugget

    Colin Parkstone

    Only my opinion but i see this bolt idea as a recipe for disaster,

    For one if you loose the bung your sink and why drill a hole under the waterline ?? Asking for trouble just like a leaking bailer, Drip Drip Drip!

    Another point is your bolt is going to hit the trailing edge of your centreboard which is thin and also end grain, if you hit it hard enough and the board does not free your split the centreboard along the grain and that’s more trouble and damage.

    A flat alloy or stainless steel piece of metal about 25mm wide, 2mm thick and long enough to reach down the box sides has a better chance and will do a lot less damage.

    Tell Me, why do cruising people dislike slot gasket made from sail cloth, when this problem comes up on a thread it is rarely suggested ???

    Dave Barker

    It has often been stated that slot gaskets make it less likely that stones will find their way into the centreboard case but also more difficult to remove them if they do. I have no experience to support or refute this idea.

    It is also frequently stated that boats should either be left well afloat or dragged well clear of the water, but never left in the intermediate position where wavelets can slop around the boat and potentially drive little stones up into the slot by a kind of devilish hydraulic action. This seems to me to make sense.

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