I'm not from the team, but i'm here already 2 months and the team seem to be disapeared so i'm going to try to help you. I have phantom race 380 from 2008. My daggerboard is also very hard to put down and up. I think one solution would be to brush the rubbers. I didn't do it, but i read it somewere. I just got used to the stiffness and the lips became also a little bit softer, so nowadays i'm able to do it with my feet, or sometimes helping with one hand while i hold the sail with the other out of the watter. But this is not good method for a competition, is takes too much time. So i guess the best is to brush a little bit the lips or maybe to put vaseline there.
I don't have the problem you said with the knob and track. Can you try to act in the pedal pressing the knob (wich would press the pedal) and not directly the pedal?
I hope this helps. Bye