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'77 DSII can't locate knot in centerboard for downhaul line

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 4:01 pm
by Elizd
My DSII, 1977 needs the centerboard downhaul line replaced. WE have the CB up as high as it can go in the housing. We can see where the line is in the CB. However, we can't see the exit point to remove the old line in order to replace it with the new one. The picture we have from the manual and the information states that this repair can be done easily with the CB in the up position, but we can't seem to fill in the gaps with such unclear instructions. The boat is on a trailer, so we can't drop the centerboard all the way down.
Anyone with better instructions, and pictures to help us out would be so appreciated! We're looking forward to getting "Marsh Mellow" out on our beautiful bay SOON!!

Re: '77 DSII can't locate knot in centerboard for downhaul

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 5:11 pm
by GreenLake
I've moved this to the DSII section of the forum, where it will hopefully find the expert audience.

Re: '77 DSII can't locate knot in centerboard for downhaul

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 11:29 pm

On the starboard side of the CB, or perhaps all the way through, very close to where the line goes into the board, there is a hole about 1" in diameter. If your CB has been (re)painted, the hole might not be visible at first glance, but do a little digging around with a small awl or screwdriver or the like, and you will find it. The knot is pulled into that hole, then the hole is sealed up/plugged, with epoxy I believe. Pry the plug out, and you will find your knot. Change the DH line (using the old as a messenger line for the new), then refill the hole. Done for another 40 years! And yes, as I recall, this can be done with the CB installed and all the way up.

Edit: I should add that it would be much easier to accomplish this if you yard or beach launch and careen the boat, rather than trying to do it on the trailer.

Re: '77 DSII can't locate knot in centerboard for downhaul

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 11:11 am
by klb67
I just wanted to offer words of encouragement. I replaced the line and wire on my CB several years ago over 2 weekends - I beached the DS on a sandy beach and used the halyard held by a helper to heel the boat over. I had previously ensured that the CB bolt was free and could be removed (had just a bit of silicone goop on it). I replaced the rubber washers while I was at it. It's much easier to work on the CB with it out. I put the boat back on its trailer and moored on the hard during the week, repaired the CB, and came back the next weekend to re install it.

Re: '77 DSII can't locate knot in centerboard for downhaul

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 2:13 pm
by GreenLake
It's easy enough to "beach" the boat onto a lawn (or with some old carpet) anywhere on the "hard".

Re: '77 DSII can't locate knot in centerboard for downhaul

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 3:51 pm
by badgley
Elizd wrote:Anyone with better instructions, and pictures to help us out would be so appreciated! We're looking forward to getting "Marsh Mellow" out on our beautiful bay SOON!!

Hi Elizabeth, I put some pictures up (also in my gallery) with a description of how my 82 looked when I had to do the downhaul here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=5220#p31435. Two things: the large hole is only on the port side, and it was full of a crusty old putty that I had to dig out, so like Tim said, if yours has been painted over it may well not be obvious. But those pictures should give you an idea of the location, assuming it's the same.

I remember reading somewhere that the DH line could be accessed with the CB raised all the way, maybe Roger's book, but I don't remember thinking that looked like the easy way to do it. Maybe if I hadn't had to dig it out I could have done it, but I found it easier to drop the board partially to get to it. Just to be clear, I'm talking about dropping the forward end of the board, not lowering it as if you do when you're sailing - that actually puts the DH higher up into the trunk. Plus dropping it gives you a chance to inspect the pendant, pin, etc. It's a bit of a pain in the you-know-what, largely depending on what your bunk and roller setup on your trailer is. But if you're lucky you can probably shift your boat around on the trailer and get to it, and if not careen it as stated above.

Re: '77 DSII can't locate knot in centerboard for downhaul

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:35 pm
by Elizd
I think I need more specific advice...The boat is on the trailer. I have read that changing the DH can be accomplished with the CB fully up. We have found that it is impossible to see the side of the CB in that position. Step by Step instructions...I don't think we can manage to lower the centerboard as suggested by one reply. Just some items we have observed ... A. By careening the boat off the trailer, how would that improve seeing the knot in the centerboard. B. Please list the order in which you would suggest to begin this repair through completion.
As much as we have tried, so far the pictures are hard to see the details, and the instructions seem to be for more experienced people. We really hope to be able to do this ourselves! ...AND, get Marsh Mellow in the water where she belongs!!!
Thanks so much!

Re: '77 DSII can't locate knot in centerboard for downhaul

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:50 am
by badgley
If you look at the photos I linked, that is the forward end of the CB - the part that stays up in the trunk regardless of whether it's raised or lowered. The large through hole in the middle is where the pivot pin goes through, and the other lower hole (large on one side, small on the other) is where the downhaul attaches by feeding the line through the smaller hole in the edge of the board and burying a stopper knot in that cavity.

As for your questions, I'll actually start with B first. The process is essentially the same, but the exact steps depend on your boat:

1. As I said, I did not understand the instruction about doing it with the CB in either. Maybe someone else has done it but I couldn't figure it out. You don't have to get the whole board out, but you do need to un-attach it and drop the forward end at least a few inches. So the first step is to get the boat in a position where this is possible. Depending on the configuration of your trailer bunks, frame, etc., if you can do this where the boat normally sits or by shifting it a little ways in some direction, that's easiest. It's OK if the aft end of the board won't drop - you just need to be able to get the forward end down a little. If you can't get this done on your trailer, than you have to careen it or at least put the stern on some sawhorses or something and get the boat far enough off so that you can then remove the board. That is the point of careening, to make it easier to get at the board (to answer your question A).

2. Figure out how your board is attached. Mine had the two steel plates that hold the wedges and pin up in the trunk. Those are screwed in from the bottom of the hull so you just take out all the screws . However, I believe some DS IIs had the CB attached with a pin that went all the way through the trunk and with fastenings in the bilge. So instead of removing screws and plates from the bottom of the hull, there would be nuts to remove on sides of the trunk inside the hull that you should be able to access through the two deck plates in the forward end of the cockpit (I think, I've never actually worked on that kind). Either way, if the boat is upright, FIRST prop up the board so it doesn't drop and break itself or your face! It weighs about 25 pounds. THEN remove the fastenings that hold in the CB. If the board doesn't come out there is probably some old caulk that needs to be pried out.

3. Drop the board enough to get at the old downhaul hole, pry it out and clean out the hole, and replace the line and plug it as Tim said.

4. Put everything back in reverse order.

Once you get it apart you'll see it's pretty simple mechanism, so once you know how the board attaches and you have the boat in a position to get at it, just start removing parts and you'll see there's not a lot to it. Just take notes/photos of how it all was before you took it apart. You can't really do much damage as long as you don't a) let the board drop or b) hit or pry anything hard enough to crack fiberglass. The biggest pain is working your way through old caulk, paint, and other fun surprises you tend to find in 40 year old boats. Do you have Roger Conrad's book? If not, and you're still at a loss, I highly recommend getting that book - I'm not sure anyone here could write anything more thorough.

Re: '77 DSII can't locate knot in centerboard for downhaul

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:31 am
by GreenLake
Note: it's also easy to lift the boat up a few inches while still on the trailer.

You can then use some lumber to temporarily support the hull on the trailer frame or by doubling the bunks (putting some 2x4 or 4x4 between bunks and the raised hull to support the latter in an elevated position while you work on the CB).

When I do this with my boat on my trailer, I actually use a 2x4 as a lever. One end is supported somewhere on the frame of the trailer; some point of the hull rests a short distance away from the point of support, and the long free end is the level.

Even though the boat is too heavy to lift it casually (not unless you have a posse), it is still light enough that you can manually reposition it a bit - especially if one end (either forward or rear) rests on something while you lift the other.

Just something to add to your bag of tricks.

If you beach your boat, or "launch" it onto a piece of carpet (or soft grass), with the mast raised, you can then use a halyard to tip over the boat on its side. (It's quite well-controlled, either a helper or a concrete block is all that's needed to keep it level). You can work on the CB while the boat is on the side - one advantage is that the board is unlikely to fall the moment you disconnect it.

With two helpers it's possible to tip a DS on its side even w/o using the mast as a lever; but in that case, it's not stable unless you tip it a bit beyond 90 degrees (e.g. by propping it against a wall or tree, and you would want to actively secure it in that position. I had mine in the garage on its side for a winter (used blocks of styrofoam as supports; it stayed in that position until spring).

Many ways to go about this project.

PS: @badgley: I put a link into your post. Hope that works as intended (most people here don't know how to get from a post to someone's images).

Re: '77 DSII can't locate knot in centerboard for downhaul

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:34 pm
by Champlaner
Hi I am emerging from years of lurking. Thanks to all for your contributions!

This reply is very late but I replaced my downhaul line from under the trailer without accessing the side of the CB 4 years ago. I thought there were threads here explaining that process, but here's my version: Just cut the rope off flush and drill out remaining rope/epoxy while lying on your back getting showered with the debris. Serious goggles and at least a paper mask required. I think I worked my way up in drill bit diameter to be safe. You'll know when you get to the cavity where the alleged knot resides (1.5 to 2 inches in?), encased in goop or epoxy. In order to hog that cavity out, cut the head off a long finish nail and bend a right angle on the sharp end which will barely fit through the hole. Chuck that into your drill and get as much rope debris and goop out as you can. Don't worry, anything will be sufficient. I used Staset 5/16" rope for the replacement. There is no way you are going to fit a knot through the hole with this rope, so either crimp a 180 degree bend in the end of the rope or just plan on stuffing enough rope so that it will curl around some in the cavity. Again, not that critical because you are going to epoxy it in place and I believe that would hold just about anything you do.

Take the rope out and inject some thickened epoxy, stuff the rope in, maybe using even thicker epoxy for the backfilling/last part. The hardest part is preventing the epoxy from wicking down the rope. Just do your best with that. In retrospect, some kind of rubber washer on the rope before installation could be used as a plug to hold the epoxy in, maybe pushed in enough to put some really thick epoxy afterward for the last 1/4 inch.

When I saw epoxy wicking onto my newly installed line, I ran for the tape and taped the line along the centerboard a few inches away to make sure it was pointing in the right direction for downhauling. That was a very good move! This year, I pulled my board for other reasons and replaced that line since I was there. My repair would have held for many more years, but there was a little fraying so I replaced it using the side access this time. Even with that access you still can't fit a knot in there, so it's really the epoxy doing the holding.

I'm doing a bunch of other things and will post some of my experiences soon, with pictures. I hope to sail before September!!