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Keel cable

Discussion in 'Catalina 22' started by kclancy, Dec 27, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. kclancy

    kclancy

    Joined Jul 25, 2016
    102 posts, 22 likes
    Catalina 22
    US Sacramento
    Hi All! I replaced my keel cable this weekend. It only lasted two years before failing. It looks like it might have gotten kinked, and then a strand broke. The wire cable is frustrating because if you loosen it too much, it "birds nests", plus the length of cable provided by CD results is some over lapping of the cable. This is common in winches, but it seems that it leads to kinking more often.

    I replaced my halyards also over the weekend. I went with all line, Dyneema line.

    I started thinking if Dyneema would work for my keel cable. It seems like it might. It will eliminate some of the problems of stainless steel rope. Have any of you tried it?

    Here is a quick video I saw:

    Kevin
     


  2. HighCs123

    HighCs123

    Joined Jun 22, 2016
    13 posts, 0 likes
    Pearson 26
    Us Chesapeake Bay
    Never tried it, it could be a great idea. I think it is suitable as you take care of your attachment joints or use good knots, or hardware to make your ends. Another thing if it floats, too much slack after dropping your keel could foul up easily. Id also wonder if it would "hum" more or less than steel while underway.
     


  3. AaronD

    AaronD

    Joined Aug 10, 2014
    97 posts, 12 likes
    Catalina 22
    US St Helens
    I had a similar wondering at some point. If I recall correctly, the standard cable is 3/16" 316 SS, with a breaking strength of ~3600 lbs. Similarly sized Amsteel breaks at 5400 lbs. I think Amsteel (and other fiber lines) are generally rated for a safe working load at a lower % of breaking strength than steel, but it's probably strong enough either way.

    But a couple concerns kept me from trying it:
    1) Worry about chafe around the turning ball (dyneema is really chafe-resistant, but it still makes me nervous)
    2) Thickness of the splice. For full strength you need a bury of around 72x diameter, so for 3/16" Amsteel that would be 13.5 inches. That bury is much thicker than the rest of the line; when you pull your keel fully up, the thicker bury would be around the turning ball. It might not fit in the ball slot at all, and if it did, it will make the chafe problem considerably worse.

    One possibility (says some guy on the Internet who isn't trying it on his own boat...): You might be able to go down to 1/8" or 5/32" Amsteel (2500 or 4k lbs respectively) but run the eye-splice bury for the full length of the line (essentially making Amsteel into a double braid line). You could probably make a line of ~3/16"that would fit smoothly into the turning ball. It might still chafe, but most chafe should be when the keel is down, so it would be easy to crank it up and inspect the line regularly (chafe with the keel up would be at the bottom of the line, which is much harder to inspect). I'm not sure about the final thickness under tension - you'd have to experiment with 1/8" and 5/32" to see what works best. One caveat for investigation: I suspect that doubling the line doesn't really double its strength (as one layer is now expanded and constricting around the other). If not, doubled 1/8" might be a little small for comfort.

    Or you could machine a thicker slot in the turning ball, large enough for a bury splice in 3/16", but I definitely don't know the ramifications of that. Let us know what you find!
     


  4. HighCs123

    HighCs123

    Joined Jun 22, 2016
    13 posts, 0 likes
    Pearson 26
    Us Chesapeake Bay
    Id also be concerned whether this is suitable for continued underwater use.
     


  5. SG

    SG

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    848 posts, 123 likes
    J/Boat J/160
    US Annapolis
    Stainless steel cable will not mildew. I am concerned with abrasion resistance. Also my question would be why?
     


  6. AaronD

    AaronD

    Joined Aug 10, 2014
    97 posts, 12 likes
    Catalina 22
    US St Helens
    The reasons I thought of:
    --No crevice corrosion
    --Coils (more) smoothly on a winch, without kinking
    --Can be replaced for ~$5, vs. ~$65 for the stock SS one. So no hesitation just to replace it annually.

    But, as you can tell, I shied away from being the first to try it. :)
     


  7. kclancy

    kclancy

    Joined Jul 25, 2016
    102 posts, 22 likes
    Catalina 22
    US Sacramento
    That was along the lines of what I was thinking. And, depending on your line choice, probably stronger as well. was just checking to see if anyone has/is trying it.

    I replaced my keel cable with another steel SS cable from CD already. It's not too much hassle. I am just disappointed the first cable didn't last more than a couple of years. I am going to be more conscientious of it when use it in the future to see if I have better results.
     


  8. SG

    SG

    Joined Feb 11, 2017
    848 posts, 123 likes
    J/Boat J/160
    US Annapolis
    I guess if you lower the board under a controlled drop -- but be careful of twists/knots.

    I am amazed that the SS Cable doesn't last many years -- not just one of a few.
     


  9. Gene Neill

    Gene Neill

    Joined Sep 30, 2013
    2,168 posts, 682 likes
    C-22, Albin Vega
    US central Florida
    Kclancy, it sounds like your cable might have just been twisted. It will neither kink nor birdnest if it's wrapped correctly and is of the appropriate length. And it definitely shouldn't fail after two years. Yes, it will overlap itself and give you a "micro heart attack" every time it bangs. But the design has stood the test of time, and proven itself beyond question.
     


    rpludwig likes this.
  10. gkmoore

    gkmoore

    Joined Nov 12, 2015
    51 posts, 7 likes
    Catalina 22
    US Lake LBJ
    My catalina 22 had an Amsteel (or similar) keel 'cable' when I bought it. I replaced it with the steel cable because I didn't know what it was (regular line, etc). Examining the Amsteel after I pulled it off-- looked good other than being smushed flat from the winch, no fraying, etc. I have reason to believe it had been used a lot (p.o. raced the boat).

    So.... my 2 cents is it probably would work.
     



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