click on a picture to see a larger view.
While removing my chainplates, I noticed. some pitting and surface rust. They didn't really look TOO bad to me and still felt pretty solid. Then, I was down to two. The bow and the aft chainplate on the port side. The bow took a little time as it was flush with the surface and didn't want to lift up at first. The last chainplate on the side was another story. Each plate for the shrouds have a little block of wood for spacer. The bolts going through them stayed solid in place until I banged them out, but prying the plates from the boat was difficult because the bolts didn't budge. When I went to pull the last chainplate, it gave a little.
I thought it was odd since all the others were pretty sturdy but now I got one with a soft spot. Turns out, there was a hidden crack in it. It was hard to see at first but once I removed the spacer block, I pulled on the plate to exaggerate the bend to show the crack easier. It went right to the bottom of a bolt hole. It ended up leaving one bolt holding the half-shroud that was attached to it.
Can you see the crack?
How about now?
After I pulled a little more, the crack showed up more.
Here, you can see that with were the crack was at the bolt hole, there was only one more bolt before it went to the shroud.
I went ahead and broke it apart altogether to show what was still holding it together. Just the little bit of metal on the left of this picture was all that held it.
The main reason I wanted to share this is to show people why they should check them. I'm sure there's plenty around this forum or other sites online showing damaged chainplates. I wanted to share this to also inform those who are looking for older boats to consider this when shopping around. My chainplates looked ok except for some surface pits, but from seeing other owners of the same type of boat come up with cracks in their chainplates, I decided to do them for preventative measures. Turns out, there was a need for it.
My boat was built in 1981 and these straps of metal are original. If anyone has a doubt about their chainplates or they're just as old as mine are, it might be a good idea to swap them out to ensure that the whole rig doesn't come crashing down.