Newport Surprise: swing keel layout

Thread starter #1
Hello everyone!my name is Cliff. and i was just given a newport surprise with a swing keel. I know the keel is lowered using a rope attached somehow to the keel but i dont see a rope coming out of keel area near the tackle that i suspect it is "supposed" to be.My question is: I suspect there is a place on the keel somewhere to tie a rope and then the rope is led directly to to tackle on keel console?can someone please explain or post a link has this info?and what is the tackle at the very base of the mast used for?I am not new to sailing but new to sailing small boats.I am used to a ct 54 ketch and a S&S sloop.Now i am stuck inland on these small lakes and dying to go sailing.My biggest concern is how to lower and or raise the keel without damaging it.
First of all, sorry that I do not know all technical terms, look at my nickname for explanation. In this message you may find terms like "that thing that goes there for that", but it shouldn't mean that I do not know what i'm talking about. It's all the language barrier. I am fixing up a Newport Surprise that I bought a year ago in crappy condition, but my centerboard came with all ropes attached.
i have no pics available, so i'll try to explain everything you may need with words and drawings. first of all, some info on general operation of Newport Surprise centerboard (in case you or the next person who finds this thread through Google needs it)(I think 'keel' can only refer to fixed keel. if it moves, it's a centerboard)
It is held in place with one bolt (black in picture) in centerboard trunk (or well, as some people call it), and one bolt in the centerboard itself(orange or green in picture). Here's a small drawing of it.
Only today I realized that the top bold actually swings up (green dashed line). and doesn't 'roll'. I just had stainless steel covers for the top edge of centerboard trunk manufactured and installed, because the bolt was hitting there and damaging fiberglass.

Near the bolt on the centerboard, there should be a mount for one block(pulley), which has a rope attached to it too. Rope goes through another block where the mast stands, back through centerboard block, forward to a third block, and then back. this is where you pull it to lift it. There should be a stopper (I think those are called jam cleats too) for the rope. To lower the centerboard, just let go of the rope, it should fall under quite a lot of it's own weight.
Here's a top view drawing.
Now I do not remember exactly where the block is mounted to the centerboard, but I think there's a hole right next to the bolt. If I get access to a camera I might take a picture of it, but all I have now is a cell phone camera, and pics from it will not help you.
I posted so much info here, because there's very little that I could find on Newport Surprise at all, so I hope this will help someone.
Thread starter #3
thank you sir for all your time and effort.very well done. :) I think i understand what you mean.I had originally thought that the block on the foot of the mast was for a boom vang.But after looking at it i also thought it could be a pully system for lowering the centerboard. or (swing keel)Is the rope attached right to the block on the centerboard?? i did not see a hole near it but i will maybe try and lift it up some and see if there is one there near to the block on the centerboard. I have always called a centerboard the type for a sunfish that you can pull up and out. A swing keel is fixed in place and swings or pivots but i understood you perfectly and i thank you very much for your time.Then you would have a full keel that goes the length of boat.One thing i would like to say is never let your keel drop on its own weight, always have tension on it and let it down easy or it can damage the trunk
And yes!!, there is very little information about the newport surprise and your post was very helpfull.I am hoping to have my boat in the water by next weekend and cant wait for some nice fall sailing this year.maybe the wife wont be so mad at me eh?
the russian spy...nice name. some of my best friends are from Russia. I spend a lot of my free time flying online in a Russian ww2 combat flight sim called "IL2 Sturmovik 1946"

I will look in the morning and get back to you and let you know how it went.thank you
I'll get some pics of my Surprise today. And about lowering the keel, that is what I meant, lower it slowly. Thanks for clarifying it for everyone else who'll read this later.
IL2 is one of my favorite games too, haven't played it online though.
Where do you plan to sail your boat? I will take mine to inland lakes in Michigan, and maybe to lake Huron. One thing I have to figure out is how to attach some kind of straps to put my feet under to hang overboard in stronger winds to balance the boat. Did yours come with some? I would assume that the boat that small with such large sails would have something, but mine doesn't even have a trace of straps. By the size, Surprise is similar to olympic class 470, with same length, but a little smaller sails (10 sq m vs 12 sq m, I think), and 470 even has a trapeze.
Sails up for the first time:
And an answer to your initial question:
This is the top forward corner of the centerboard. There's a bolt that hold it, and a block attached to the other hole.
Thread starter #6
hmmmm very good pictures.I was unable to look yesterday we had some terrible weather.i am looking at the second picture of the centerboard and that rope that is tied to the block is all there is?so what you are saying is this : the rope is tied to the block not the hole next to it...then the rope is run to the bottom of the mast (Block) and then back to the trunk where the rope clasp is to hold it secure. correct??I sail mostly here in the finger lake area in the catskill mountains in NY.
you fly il2 as well???i have been playing it over 10 years and fly in hyperlobby(online)if you enjoyed il2 offline you must try it is the best.If you do happen to try flying online go to hyperlobby and install it.we have a large community and i am known as BH_woodstock. and my squad is the Bounty Hunters @

getting back to the surprise, i have an extra cable i was thinking of attaching to top of the mast for a trapeeze. and yes..i have NO straps or anything either and was curious on how it will perform. check out this youtube video of the 470's
very simular boats
there's 2 blocks at the base of the mast on my boat, so the rope goes from the becket on the block on the keel to one block, back to keel block, to second block and then to the trunk's jam cleat (I have it on the left side).
About trapeze, make sure all cables are in good condition, and are rated for the load they'll be taking. Stock cables look pretty thin, you might want to get something that's stronger(i'd say 600 pounds working limit?), and maybe even have 2 cables on each side, like this:
Stainless, of course, and see if you can find a place that has a machine to do the ends for the cables. Doing it manually would not be as reliable.
Make sure to look up where are trapezes attached on other boats, and do a similar design. One other thing to watch for - your design should allow you to unsnap yourself from the trapeze in a semi-conscious condition and your eyes closed.
I think one reason there's no trapeze or straps on Surprise, is that it's more of a recreational boat. Length is about the same as 470, but sails are a little smaller, more weight, and there's a heavy swing keel instead of fiberglass centerboard.
Thread starter #10
after lifting my centerboard and looking i found that i had no 2nd hole for a bolt to go threw.All i have is the one hole and the single block attached to the centerboard.Is that hole with the bolt running through it actually used?other than that i have the 2 blocks at the base of the mast too.
refer back to my first drawing. the centerboard has 2 holes in it right next to each other - one with a bolt and one with a block. Then on the bottom forward side it has a "hook", which hooks onto a bolt built into your boat. The hook is on the bolt at all times, and the other bolt, the one in centerboard, rests on the edge of the trunk when in lowered position.
Thread starter #12
hmmm, yeah i have no second hole in the board. only the one with the block attached to it that rest on top of the trunk.thats all.any suggestions would be helpful. I am considering getting the drill out and drill a hole in it in same location as yours.
I think the second hole (the one with the bolt) is not stock, but was added by previous owner.
Also, today I took my surprise to the lake for the first time. Wind was 20mph, with 35 mph gusts, so I had only one sail up. No leaks or other major problems, except that my homemade spreader bars have bolts pointing towards the sail (easy fix) and main sail jams at certain point, when raising it. The brand new paint job turned into crap after the boat took a beating at the dock. Wind was pushing her right into it.
Thread starter #14
your boat is much newer than stable was it during the maiden voyage with these wind gust's?I will have to find a camera somehow and take a few pictures.what year is your boat?i have no clue what year mine is .there were no papers that came with it.
Thread starter #16
Mine is a 79 I have a question again and could use your help.the boat was given to me with no papers for trailer.For me to find out how much it weighs it would be a huge hassle to put the boat in the water and then travel 60 miles to a weigh station with no tags.In order for me to get the trailer registered i need the weight of the trailer itself.Can you share that info if you have it please?
I didn't get the papers with the trailer either. I went to DMV office in town where I bought it, and they told me that I had to get it weighed. Then I went to one in my town, and they just asked me if it's a small trailer with one axel and got it registred. Depends on people and on how strict the laws are about it.

But if you will be doing any work on your boat, you'd probably have to take if off the trailer anyways. I had access to a fork lift, but 3-4 guys can lift it and slide it off the trailer to some boards.
Thread starter #18
rgrt, understood. our DMV is small here too. hopefully since ive been there a few times maybe i will have some luck too.i am almost willing to take the chance and bring it the whole 2 miles to the lake just so i can do some sailing.
Hello gents, I have a Surprise that I lost the swing keel/centerboard to a couple years back. My plywood replacements have sufficed, but they are less than stellar at keeping the boat stable (at least I can go in a straight line). Now that my young kids are interested in going out with me I need get the boat a little more stable and I need to get a replacement fabricated. The problem is I need dimensions. I think I read on a post somewhere that they are 1/4" thick and they are 12" wide, but I remember mine was wider at the top end where the block attached and I have found no reference to the length or angles or the position of the slot to fit over the pivot bolt. If anyone can provide such dimensions and/or a picture of the entire centerboard I would be most grateful.
Thread starter #20
hi Blue Dragoon,that is a tuff one.i did google a while back and some guy lost his centerboard in the bay and i think some dude from Pa. gave him the details for a new board.It is posted somewhere on the net.I would have to take mine out and i cannot do that at this time.Hope u find what u r looking for.what is your overall opinion of the "surprise"??what is the strongest wind and how many knots have you gone? just curious cause i have been unable to make it to the lake this year and have not sailed it yet.