Missing centerboard?

Jan 13, 2015
Irwen 28 Charleston
I own a 1973 Irwin28. There are cable and pulleys in the bilge and the remnants of a hand crank in the cockpit. The pulleys are completely rusted and seized up. I believe I have a centerboard model. I took a line and ran it under the boat from bow to Stern and felt no centerboard in down position. I can't tell if its even still there. My question is, if I take this boat out and raise sail and catch some wind..do I run the risk of rolling her? She is a shoal draft and with board up has a draft of 3'...with it down 7'3". This centerboard contains lead as ballast. I have read other forums where people have taken them off. Can this be done and still sail safely? I do not have a way to haul the boat out and the water is to cold to dive in and check what's going on. Can someone please help me with this one. Thank you


Feb 2, 2015
Catalina 22 Crystal River
Im not familiar with the Irwins but it is possible that the centerboard is simply wedged in place by corrosion or fouling. Is there no way to gain access to the top of the centerboard tunnel and shine a light down there? I have heard of centerboards falling off either while sailing or moored in place till the hardware failed. It could be resting on the bottom
Last edited:


The board may not be missing.
When I bought my 27, the board was bent, as a result of being left down when the tide went out. Then after trying to raise the bent board the prior owner ran her aground until the board was up, jammed into the keel. It took hauling the boat, finding the pinion, driving it out then a lot of "pursueding" to drop the board, then finding a large enough press to get the stainless board flat again. I found the bronze replacement pulley with stainless sheave in McMaster Carr's catalog.
All the best,