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Re: Stantion caps
nick, I suspect they are just jammed in place and removing the cap is a matter of chewing or pulling it out.
There's a stainless shop called Tops In Quality located vaguely in Minnesota or thereabouts who might be able to sell you stanchion caps. If they don't carry them, they'll know who does. And I'd suggest buying a bag of them, treat yourself to a little "dress up" of the boat if they're not exhorbitant. (These days, I never know if a 50-cent part will cost $25.)