West Wight Potter Owners Home Port

Potter 15 Keel Raising Modifications
Keel Sheet
Bill Nolen

Click onto photos to enlarge!
John Turpin wrote this about the twin keel control lines
on his P-15
Tetra. "The first time I took Tetra out, I
realized that I needed a way to raise and lower the
centerboard from the cockpit. Ethan, my dear wife and I
kept dragging bottom and this forced us to constantly
unbutton the cabin and untie the board to get us free. If
solo sailing, this could be a tricky operation that might
require a three-handed sailor.

I solved this using the method I saw other sailors here
using. I ran two lines from the centerboard arm into the
cockpit through a pair of hull fairleads. The starboard
line pulls the centerboard into the trunk. The port line is
used to lock the board in the 'down' position. They share
a single cam cleat."
The single line system installed on my P-15
Babe. I found that I prefer having the
cam-cleat above the line so I can pull upward to
lock the line in place.
One line system on a UK
Potter 14, with a port horn
cleat for line storage.
Showing the one line
modification on P-14 #775
Piglet, my first Potter.
Lionel L. Galibert has move
the main sail sheet to a aft
set-up, and uses the
cam-cleat on the bridge
deck to control the keel
line. P-15 #2072 KIROLOU
Several Potter 15 owners have modified their boats to make raising and lowering the
swing keel easier and safer by leading the keel sheet out into the cockpit area where a
cam-cleat is used to secure the sheet. This permits the owner to keep the hatch closed
in bad weather conditions, yet have full control of the raising and lowering of the keel.
Charley Beck wrote: "I wanted a keel raising line and a hold down line, so I recycled two old jib cam
cleats and color coded the ropes as well.  When the blue line is pulled out, it means that the keel is
down and locked in place.  When the red line is out it either means that the keel is raised up or it
means "Hey dummy, you forgot to lower the keel again!".  I added the single horn cleat as I like a bit
of redundancy built in in case of malfunctions.  I will be the first to admit that my mod messes up the
bridge deck area and is not well suited for boats with the original mid-boom swivel cam cleat, but for
my lateen rigged Potterfish, it works very well and the angle of force on the rope is excellent at this

Charley Beck "Sea Bug" P-14 #729

Larry Sweat write: "Here are face and side views of the Clamcleat I installed on my P-15.  This is
probably more detail than you want, but it took me a long time to work up the nerve to poke a hole in
my boat.  Detailed instructions might help the next guy".  


Clamcleat C230 Bottom Roller Racing Cleat
Clamcleat 814/S1 Keeper
15 feet of 3/16" Amsteel single braid
Polypropylene Cutting Board as backing plate
Silicone Sealant
#10 Stainless Steel Flathead bolts & nylon-insert nuts

Place masking tape over the approximate area of the cleat.  I didn't try to be precise here, and just
taped the whole area  Use a rigid stick (dowel) inside the cabin from the fairlead to the bulkhead to
determine placement of the through hull.  For example, I needed to be fairly high on the bulkhead to
avoid the electrical panel.  Mark the location and drill a small pilot hole from the inside.  This can be
quite small, as the only purpose is to provide a guide for the final hole.  Now that the hole is located
from the inside, it's time to make the final hole from the outside.  Use a Forstner bit to make a clean
cut.  I used a 3/8" bit, which allows plenty of room for the 3/16" line.

I was not confident that my boat was level on the trailer, so I used a try square to mark a
perpendicular line from the bridge deck down through the new hole.  Then, I drilled the holes to
mount the cleat.  Using the cleat as a template, I also drilled holes in the poly cutting board.  The
cutting board was installed on the inside of the bulkhead, sealant applied, and everything bolted

One little thing I'd do differently would be to route a bit of scrap string through each piece before
assembly.  That would make it easier to run the line through the backing board, bulkhead, and the

I've left the original horn cleats on the inside of the cabin.  With the 10' line, I can release the
clamcleat and use the stronger horn cleats while trailering.  The Clamcleat does not require the
814/S1 keeper base, but using one allows a smaller hole in the bulkhead.  I could have kept the 1/4"
StaSet line, but I downsized a bit to stay in the middle of the operating range of the Cleat.  Probably
not needed, but it was only a few bucks.  I also like to color-code my lines to keep things simple when
the weather turns ugly (holdover from my racing days).  Gray line - Gray centerboard.

Clamcleat & Keeper came directly from the manufacturer in England (
www.clamcleat.com).  I sent
them a message asking for a US distributor, and they replied offering to take my direct sale.  Service
was great, even for this small order, and I received the parts in less than a week.

Amsteel line, hardware, and sealant from West Marine
Cutting board from the local market.

While I had the tools out, I also installed a pad eye point to attach a tether to my PFD.  Racer's Rule #1
- Stay on the boat.

Best Regards,
Larry Sweat
P-15 # 2722,
mi Dushi     larry.sweat@gmail.com

Eric Hughes sent me a photo of is keel control lines and stated: "Here is a photo of my P-15 keel
controls led to cockpit.  

They are mounted to the small area under the hatch so they are not in the way of cockpit or bridge
deck.  The black stripe above them is the fuzzy side of velcro.  My sunbrella hatch cover has the stiffy
side of velcro sewn on bottom edge. This just helps keep it tight along with snaps".