Swapping steel centre plate for wooden and vice versa

By WCOATechnical

Start by removing the spacer strips at the top of the centre casing, this will give move freedom of movement when removing the steel plate.  These are not needed with the wooden board at it is thicker.  Also remove the lifting and holding tackle from the steel plate so it will be free to remove.

Remove the launching trolley and Wanderer from the road trailer and then, locating a level piece of ground or grass (with perhaps an off-cut of carpet to protect the boat) partly slide the boat from the launching trolley with the aid of a box or wooden trestle. Support the bows with the rear of the launching trolley and the stern with the aid of another support.  Aim to have the bottom of the boat approximately 850 to 980mm above ground (a friend’s launching trolley or a collection of tyres would be ideal). This operation must be done with the steel centre plate withdrawn inside the centre casing of the boat, not released and sitting on the cross member of the trailer as recommended when normally trailing. The steel centre plate can now be lifted into a near vertical position for withdrawal. Having positioned the boat on supports it is advisable to try and find some soft cushions, or similar blocks to put both port and starboard to stop the boat from rocking when you commence the withdrawal operation.

You can now start to release and unscrew the bolt on the centre plate and with the aid of a helper, it is important before finally knocking the bolt through with a screwdriver or similar to take the tension from the bolt by slightly lifting the centre plate with the rubber stoppers.  It would also be advisable to find a small plastic tube to lay inside the centre casing (both for and aft) so that, as the withdrawal process is started, the plastic tube will protect that part of the casing. 

Position yourself over the centre plate, slightly forward of centre, facing the bow and slowly start to pull the plate up into a vertical position.  The plate will obviously be running on grass or carpet and should therefore be easily lifted.  Having achieved this position it is a two handed exercise to slowly move it upwards and when it is finally out of its casing, turn it slowly onto its side and pass it to a helper, who will then carry it to a pre-destined area for storage. When removing the plate you will find two discs that are positioned around the bolt hole.  These act as spacers and protect the case when bolting up.  These will not be used when sailing with a wooden plate.

If you intend to swap back to the steel board at some time, cover the holes left when the spacer strip was removed with a strip of insulation tape to prevent water ingress.  Otherwise fill the holes with gel coat.

Slip the wooden plate back into the casing and bolt up, making sure that the friction pad is screwed tight for entry. (We recommend a little was in order to allow it to move freely through the entry slot.)  Position first the washer and then the rubber ‘O’ ring onto the M10 stainless steel bolt, passing the bolt right through the centre casing and plate, then adding the ‘O’ ring first then washer and nut in the same manner on the opposite side to compete assembly.  Prior to finally securing, apply a small amount of mastic sealant around the entry hold on both sides.  Complete the operation by tightening the assembly together, without putting too much strain on the casing.  It needs firm fixing only.  Having completed this operation the friction pad can be adjusted accordingly as described in the handbook.

When refitting the steel place make sure the spacer discs have been property glued back into position and using a 10mm dummy location rod to keep the discs in position whilst sliding the blade down the centre case, slot the place into the correct location following the arrows marked on the white spacer disc.  Having reached the correct position use the M10 stainless steel bolt, which will have the washer and rubber ‘O’ ring in place to knock the 10mm dummy rod out from the centre case (ensure the dummy location rod is retained for future changeovers).  Proceed with ‘O’ ring, washer and nut to complete assembly and finally refit spacer strips

Note:  If anyone carried out this procedure, I could do with some photos to enhance this article.  The ones I have are black and white and very poor quality.  Please send to technical@wanderer.org.uk.