• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Hunter 216 Sailtec alternative test

Sep 22, 2018
479
Hunter 216 Kingston
The Hunter 216 is equipped with a Sailtec hydraulic system that allows for the raising and lowering of the 500lb centerboard. The Sailtec unit occasionally fails or needs periodic rebuilding, recommended at least every 10 years. The cost of a rebuild in 2019 is approx. $800 and a new unit is over $2,000.

I took it upon myself to determine if I could create a viable alternative to replace the Sailtec unit utilizing standard block and tackle hardware. I used the centerboard raising system for the Hunter 212 as a model. I did not want to modify the existing stainless steel centerboard support system in the boat and ideally have it fit within the cover that encloses the Sailtec unit and centerboard slot.

I used 2 Harken 57mm quad blocks (creates and 8:1 mechanical advantage) and a Ronstan high load single block in a cascade (creates 16:1 mechanical advantage) to create the equivalent of the Hunter 212 system. I also utilized the pin that the base of the Sailtec unit mounts to the frame with as the anchor point for the block and tackle.

I initially attempted to lift the board by using just the 2 Harken quad blocks and found that although I could move the board the effort required was unrealistic for a viable system.

I then rigged the setup with the Ronstan block as a doubler and found that I could move the board with a reasonable effort. Not something I would want to do all day but viable.

Unfortunately the available length within the existing steel structure is not sufficient to bring the board all the way up before the 2 quad blocks touched together.

EDIT: I would appreciate any input on how to use an alternative rigging system that would create a viable alternative to the Sailtec. I've proven that with a 16:1 mechanical advantage an average strength adult could move the board full stroke.

The photos below will help illustrate the system.

The Hunter 212 model
H212 centreboard system.jpg


The 16:1 system maxed out. Note that I had to route the blocks over the steel structure which created a binding moment when I attempted to lower.

IMG_5434.JPG


The highest point the board was raised when the system was maxed out. High enough to get it to load on the trailer but would likely cause trouble if you beached the boat.
IMG_5435.JPG


Board max up using Sailtec for reference.

IMG_5390.JPG
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes: rgranger
Jul 24, 2016
88
Hunter 23 Nashville TN Percy Priest lake
How are you locking it down with your system?
 
Sep 22, 2018
479
Hunter 216 Kingston
The sailtec is just a simple hydraulic jack. If the cylinder and rod are not pitted servicing would just be o-rings and seals. Getting jacks and cylinders rebuild happen for many applications have you tried to source locally for someone to do it without the "Boat part" tax on it. Where I'm at we get 35 ton jacks resealed and recertified for a couple hundred. If we have to replace a piston or cylinder then it gets expensive.
The Sailtec unit that Hunter chose to use is designed as a backstay adjuster so would normally be used in a more or less vertical position. In the 216 application it is in a horizontal position and one of the common issues is airlock where you pump and nothing happens. Usually this can be cleared (process well documented on this site) but there are other reports of the cylinder leaking oil etc. I have also read where users have either attempted repairs themselves (Sailtec provides lots of written information and will sell parts) or had their local hydraulic shop "fix" them to avoid what you aptly called the "boat part tax". The results reported were typically not positive perhaps only because the ones that didn't work after getting fixed were complained about. In any event the common thinking is to send the unit to Sailtec in the USA and have them service/repair it, with the logic of $800/10 years is only $80/yr or not much for preventive maintenance. I could agree with that but it doesn't deal with the fact that outwardly there is no or little visual indication that the unit is about to fail. So just as your planning on launching or loading on the trailer or bringing it into the beach for a picnic with the kids it decides to fail and your stuck with a 500lb board down. If the unit is not removed and stored vertically (over the winter for us Canadians) you could find a functional unit you put away on the boat in the fall doesn't work when you go to launch and your out weeks of early season sailing as the unit goes into the Sailtec repair queue.

The unit in my boat is in working condition but I decided to tackle this for my own benefit and possibly for others. If a relatively inexpensive system can be worked up it could be stored aboard and used to get the boat on the trailer or as a full time alternative to the Sailtec unit. If it's constructed from common marine components anyone could service their own "unit".

To answer your other question there is no lock to hold the board down. The cylinder is pumped to pull a cable that raises it but to lower you release a valve and the board drops under it's own weight to whatever position you wish.
 
Sep 22, 2018
479
Hunter 216 Kingston
Maybe I shouldn't have started this thread. I went sailing yesterday and when I went to raise the board I experienced air-lock, pump but nothing happens. I managed to clear it by opening the valve pumping for a bit, close the valve, pump again, repeat. On the third cycle it started working again. NOT a good feeling!!!

Since my first stab at this failed I have been looking on the internet for another solution. Found this on the L36 site

L36 20 to 1 vang.jpg


This offers an increase in MA to 20:1 so would be less effort to pull in theory, the three blocks to the left could be attached to the pin as an anchor point and the block on the far right to the centerboard cable. I could use dyneema for the red lines for strength and if I can source strong enough "small" blocks it might all fit inside the existing structure so I could use the full stroke of the enclosure. The fiddle block portion could be almost the full length of the enclosure.

I could use some suggestions on what knot(s) to use for preserving the maximum strength of the line, for example the connection of the red line to the fiddle block.
 
Last edited:
Apr 16, 2017
631
Federation NCC-1701 Riverside
It makes no sense to me that there isnt a good hydraulic system replacement. Would farm and construction equipment work? Might rust quicker in salt water. Id probably try using an obtainium 2-ton floor jack from walmart if i didnt want to pay the stainless steel boat tax. I have never seen one of those in yhe vertical position.

Going back to your block and tackle solution, Splices for practcal purposes are considered full strength, while good knots reduce safe working load by 20-50%.

If you know the load of the purchase, you can 3-4 times the load to determine what line you need. If you use a splice you can use that line for 3-4 times the load, if you use a knot such as a bowline, halyard knot, figure 8, anchor bend, etc then load times 6-8. If you use amsteel or other synthetic youll need a splice since they dont knot well. If you use a splice, you may need a soft shackle if the becket is not a removable pin.
 
  • Like
Likes: Hunter216
Sep 22, 2018
479
Hunter 216 Kingston
It makes no sense to me that there isnt a good hydraulic system replacement. Would farm and construction equipment work? Might rust quicker in salt water. Id probably try using an obtainium 2-ton floor jack from walmart if i didnt want to pay the stainless steel boat tax. I have never seen one of those in yhe vertical position.

Going back to your block and tackle solution, Splices for practcal purposes are considered full strength, while good knots reduce safe working load by 20-50%.

If you know the load of the purchase, you can 3-4 times the load to determine what line you need. If you use a splice you can use that line for 3-4 times the load, if you use a knot such as a bowline, halyard knot, figure 8, anchor bend, etc then load times 6-8. If you use amsteel or other synthetic youll need a splice since they dont knot well. If you use a splice, you may need a soft shackle if the becket is not a removable pin.
I also started out thinking about some kind of jack but they typically are designed to lift not pull. The Sailtec has power as the piston gets “shorter” and I couldn’t think of anything that I encountered that would work at least without a powered pump.

I know basic knots and the the risk of using them as opposed to a spliced loop but wondered if there was a “special” knot that reduced the risk to close to a splice. I also would consider using wire rope and swaging (sp?) it on. I’m not sure if you can swage synthetic rope???
 
Apr 16, 2017
631
Federation NCC-1701 Riverside
I also started out thinking about some kind of jack but they typically are designed to lift not pull. The Sailtec has power as the piston gets “shorter” and I couldn’t think of anything that I encountered that would work at least without a powered pump.
Ahh, "dual action hydraulic cylinder". Then also pick up a dual action handpump to pressurize it.

The bowline is supposed to be one of the best knots for preserving the line, but i like the halyard knot since it gets close to the block. If the blocks get close to each other the bury part of a splice might be too thick to go through. I have that issue with my centerboard. Using a bowline there for that reason.

If you are using dyneema or amsteel, or the new lines you have one option, eye splice. If there is no core just do a brummel lock splice. Almost as easy to do as bowline. Once you learn it youll find that the yellow poly rope lying around the house must always be brummel spliced.

Remember to maintain a 3:1 ratio of eye to line or 5:1 becket size to eye length.

looking forward to your updates.
 
Apr 16, 2017
631
Federation NCC-1701 Riverside
I also started out thinking about some kind of jack but they typically are designed to lift not pull. The Sailtec has power as the piston gets “shorter” and I couldn’t think of anything that I encountered that would work at least without a powered pump.

I know basic knots and the the risk of using them as opposed to a spliced loop but wondered if there was a “special” knot that reduced the risk to close to a splice. I also would consider using wire rope and swaging (sp?) it on. I’m not sure if you can swage synthetic rope???
IMG_20190901_150322.jpg

brought to by Marlow.

I think my Hunter 170 came with the halyard shackle attached to tbe halyard with the round turn and 2 half hitches with a hog ring whipping.
 
Sep 22, 2018
479
Hunter 216 Kingston
i like the halyard knot since it gets close to the block
That is a good one for the purpose you mentioned. Have to cut them off after they really load though.
0D7D649F-138B-41E3-9C9B-3AB92812D18A.jpeg


Thanks for the info from Marlow as well. I can splice and make soft shackles so intend to use them wherever I can.
 
Sep 22, 2018
479
Hunter 216 Kingston
I think I had a seniors moment when I thought this would work. Woke up and realized that the fiddle block portion would have to move quite a distance to get the block attached to the raising cable to move enough to raise the board!! Not sure of the math but I think 12 inches of fiddle block closing would only yield 3 inches of "end" block movement. The piston on the ram moves about 12 inches for board full down to full up so assuming my math above is correct I would need 48" of fiddle block closure. Not gonna work!

Back to the thinking chair!!!:banghead::)
 
Nov 19, 2018
28
Hunter 216 Liberty one Silver Lake, Wisconsin
Hunter216,
I like you way you think through problems!
Great work
 
Sep 22, 2018
479
Hunter 216 Kingston
Well the light bulb went on last night!! @BobbyFunn had mentioned farming equipment above and as I grew up farming I guess I went back to my roots and remembered any job is easy with the correct tool. I realized I was trying to reinvent the wheel with all the block and tackle stuff and that I should change tactics. I started looking at mini lever chain hoists as all of the MA is built into the device. I found one at a local store for $120 CDN, it's aluminum so weighs about 5 lbs and rated at 1/4 ton so I thought I would give it a try.

Went out to the boat, dropped the board and removed the Sailtec unit. Hooked the "rachet" end onto the pin that holds the base of the Sailtec, ran the chain forward through the steel structure of the box and hooked the other end of the lift chain through the existing eye of the centerboard lift cable.

Started cranking and managed to raise the board to full height and then back down to full lower. Not something I would do while sailing but I have found a viable disaster recovery option should the Sailtec fail when trying to load the boat on the trailer etc.

The raising was slow as I had to crank one link at a time so I think the hoist is maxed out for weight but I might be able to lash up a small MA set of blocks to help with that.

This is board down ready to hoist

IMG_5495.JPG


This is board all the way up :beer::beer::beer::beer::beer:

IMG_5506.JPG


This is the Sailtec for reference

724F49EF-C98B-4D55-BE59-1AFE4A162224.jpeg
 
Last edited:
Apr 16, 2017
631
Federation NCC-1701 Riverside
Looks like a good fix.:beer:

How does the speed of raising or lowering compare to the hydraulic version? Does it lower under good control? Can you flick even accidently, anything to let it free spin.

Hiw does the safety of the new version compare to the old?
 
  • Like
Likes: Hunter216
Sep 22, 2018
479
Hunter 216 Kingston
Looks like a good fix.:beer:

How does the speed of raising or lowering compare to the hydraulic version? Does it lower under good control? Can you flick even accidently, anything to let it free spin.

Hiw does the safety of the new version compare to the old?
I only did one up/down cycle and was extra cautious as I could feel that it was really loaded up - 500lb rating for 500lb board so speed rating is a little subjective. I also took it slow as I didn’t want to jamb it or for that matter my fingers.

Raising was a lot more effort as the lever is quite short compared to the long handle for the ram.

Lowering was very controlled and easy.

The ratchet does have a neutral between up and down that would let it freewheel but you would have to almost try to get it in that mode. I’m sort of mechanical as I’ve worked this sort of stuff a lot so maybe I’m making a little light on that point, things could get messy if the board dropped in freewheel. So from a safety perspective about the only danger with the Sailtec is stubbing your toe on the pump mechanism as it’s all covered up when it’s moving. The hoist is inherently more risky as the cover is off, your hands are close to the steel box that has sharp edges and there are lots of places to get your digits caught in or I suppose if the chain failed you might get it in the face. Sounds pretty bad when I lay it all out like that!

I wouldn’t endorse it as a complete replacement for the Sailtec but when used with appropriate caution it will raise the board if the Sailtec fails.

I picked the 1/4 ton because it’s dimensions let it fit under the existing cover but it might be smart to go to 1/2 ton although I couldn’t find one in anything but steel and the hooks might not fit inside the trunk “box”. Might have to buy a 3D printer and print one out of carbon!;)
 
Sep 22, 2018
479
Hunter 216 Kingston
I would like to find a solution to add to the hoist setup that would accomplish two goals:

1) reduce the load on the hoist, I’m thinking a 2:1 rig that the hoist chain would pull. I think there is now enough stroke to do this.
2) rig a progress capture failsafe in case the hoist fails or accidentally free wheels, maybe a Prussic knot

Anyone have suggestions?
 
Apr 16, 2017
631
Federation NCC-1701 Riverside
I cant imagine the pull on the centerboard is the full weight. Youll probably be fine, its a nice backup at least.
 
Sep 22, 2018
479
Hunter 216 Kingston
I cant imagine the pull on the centerboard is the full weight. Youll probably be fine, its a nice backup at least.
I don’t know of a way to measure other than a $ load cell. My spidy senses were tingling as the chain was piano wire tight so I’m pretty sure the hoist is maxed out. As the board neared the top I was only getting one click on the ratchet handle. I think maybe they make the handle short to keep people from overloading, of course you just stick a pipe over the end of the handle to “fix” that problem! ;)
 
Apr 16, 2017
631
Federation NCC-1701 Riverside
After i clicked post i thought about my 70 lb centerboard the 3:1 purchase system and how it generally feels like it takes about 15-20 lbs of pull to raise it. That puts it in the 45-60 lbs range of resistance at the top of the centerboard, and the force probably increases with some exponential trig function as it gets closer to full up.

Your chain device is sold for 500 but probably has a 3-5 x safety factor built in.