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Old 08-14-2006
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Any advice on chain plates?

My boat has its chainplates embedded into the fiberglass of the hull and one of the has recently allowed a deck leak into the cabin from the bootom of the lump of fiberglass. I am a little concerned in that I can't really inspect them for corrosion and have been considering changing them out to Stainless straps on the outside of the hull as you would see on a more traditional rig. Any suggestions on how to size the straps and mount them? Or am I nuts for considering this as an option? Would love to hear what you guys think.
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Old 08-15-2006
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The size of the chainplates should be based on the size and load on the rigging on the boat. However, engineering chainplates, to spread the load across the hull properly is not something you want to guess at. It would probably help a good deal if you said what kind of boat it was... but YMMV.
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Old 08-16-2006
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The boat is a 27 Dockrell Cutter. I expect to have to consult a marine architect before I begin such a project. Has any one else out there attemted such a refit?
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Old 08-16-2006
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If your chainplates are original, it would be helpful if you mentioned how old the boat is. Also where has the boat been most of it's life. In general though, there is no way to know how much corrosion has occured unless you remove the chainplate. And if you go to the trouble to remove them you might as well replace them and the bolts as well.
I like the idea of external chainplates in as much as they are easy to keep an eye on but they must be engineered to be at least as strong as the original.
I have replaced the standing rigging on boats only to have the customer contact me shortly thereafter telling me they lost their rig because a chainplate failed. Many people are reluctant to address the chainplate issue because of the potential cost and difficulty of the job, but remember the rig is only as strong as it's weakest link. Some of the older Catalinas used eye-bolts as chainplates. I can't remember how many of those I'v seen fail. Also the U-bolts on some boats have the same problem. In any case they almost always crack where they pass through the deck. You can't see the problem in many cases until they fail. Look for rust (bleeding) on the under side. If you see any, you have a problem. If you see water on the underside of the deck at the chainplates, that means that it's wet where it passes through the deck. Again, you have a problem.
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Old 08-16-2006
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"a deck leak into the cabin from the bootom of the lump of fiberglass. "
I see two problems possible. One, damage if the deck is cored--but I would not expect any coring in a structural area like that.
Two, crevice corrosion of the stainless itself where it is "buried" in the glass, if it has stayed wet for any time. There would be no way to inspect that without grinding away the glass and then having the base of the rigging repaired. IF you feel this is a possible concern...that's what you need to do.

Bear in mind that even in a structural area, grinding out fiberglass and repairing it back to full strength again is a NORMAL procedure, all it needs is conpetent fiberglass work. That can be a DIY job if you feel up to it.

And then there's the question of how come water is leaking in, whether the fitting is inherently bad design, or something just failed. I would ask a professional fiberglass repair shop about the problem, before shelling out for a consult with a marine architect.
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Old 08-18-2006
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One other thing about moving the chainplates. It may require changes to the mast. It may also alter the sailing characteristics of the boat.
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Old 08-20-2006
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My boat also has the chainplates inbedded into the hull.I cutoff the chainplate and drilled through from the outside moving the chainplate to the exterior of the hull,1 inch from their original position.I then used flat stock and bolted that on the outside through the plate that was inbedded.There was some corrosion 1/64, that i seen when i drilled through,so i`ll be good to go.It also is a 40 year old boat.As for professionals,become one yourself,learn about your boat if you are going to sail old yachts.It`s like owning a classic car and taking it to a mechanic to be fixed,you would be broke and still not know anything when your done.When i`m finnished with a boat it`s overbuilt and i like it that way,it`s your butt out there not theirs so that will give you even more incentive to make it strong.If these proffesionals were really that we would not be fixing some of these ridiculous problems that every boat has.BTW if anyone thinks that grinding a piece 3 feet long and 1 foot high half way through the side of a hull to remove the old chainplate would be a good start,forget it.I would just glass in another plate to the inside of that and bolt through the whole mess.
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Last edited by dman; 08-20-2006 at 06:07 PM.
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Re: Any advice on chain plates?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailphoto View Post
The boat is a 27 Dockrell Cutter. I expect to have to consult a marine architect before I begin such a project. Has any one else out there attemted such a refit?
What year is your Dockrell? Mine is a 1988.
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Re: Any advice on chain plates?

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