How dangerous is this crack, and how to get it repaired? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 04-01-2011
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How dangerous is this crack, and how to get it repaired?

Was cleaning the stainless on the boat today and came across this crack. The other side has a matching crack.

So my questions are:
1) What is this part called? It's where the forestay attaches at the bow
2) How risky is it to go out in light air (10-15 knots)
3) Can this be repaired by welding it, or do I have to replace it? Do you have it welded on the boat or do I have to remove it? (Looks like it would be a bitch of a project to remove)
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Old 04-01-2011
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That is your tack plate. Yes, it is dangerous. You don't know what the strength of the remaining weld is. 10-15kts might be safe, and then you get whacked with a 20kt puff and "snap!".

I'd think that you could get it welded in place if you can clear away the surrounding interference.
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Old 04-01-2011
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I would be very concerned about that stem head fitting. Not so much for the crack but how they thinned out the stainless. Surely that can't have come that way from the factory with that cut out notch? I know for a fact that our Catalina 36 was not cut away and thinned like that and the stem head fitting was very, very similar in design. Perhaps, and it is hard to tell from the photo, but maybe they just doubled up at the tang? If 1/4" is the design criteria for thickness then surely it should be 1/4" over the entire length, our 36 was & the 34 is not that much different spec wise. Of course if it is just doubled at the tang than it's just a cracked weld.

Hope you don't mind that I drew on your pic...

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 04-02-2011 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 04-01-2011
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Repair

Hello,

I believe that is called the "stem fitting" but check with someone else as I am not a rigger.

I don't know how it would be repaired, but I would not take the boat out at all. If that piece breaks the rig could come down and on a 30 foot plus boat that would be a scary thing.

Good luck,
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Old 04-01-2011
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Needs to be fixed asap. You might be able to get it fixed on the boat but it needs grinding and I'm sure that any welder is going to recommend that you add some tabs to strengthen that very poorly designed weak spot so it will be more welding than just filling the cracks. Weld splatter doesn't go well with gelcoat. I would remove it.
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Old 04-01-2011
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I assume that's your stemhead fitting and you are referring to the crack in the weld between the chainplate and the side plates with the pin that would normally pass through the tack of a sail in the event that there was no furler. Given that the chainplate will work fore'n aft as the headstay is loaded and unloaded, a crack at that point in such a small butt weld is/was predictable. As a practical matter, it will not effect the function of the chainplate. Left unrepaired, however, it will eventually work its way to the bottom of the plate. Until your next scheduled yard visit you can stop the cracking by drilling a small hole through the weldments at the ends of the cracks, being careful not to ding the chainplate. On your next yard visit, the old weld material can be ground off with a drummel tool and the plates rewelded.

Unfortunately, a fore'n aft pin at the stemhead is kind of dumb as the headstay will work fore'n aft. You can ameliorate the effect somewhat by using a toggle if the two plates that appear pinned to either side the chainplate are not themselves part of a U-shaped toggle.

FWIW...
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Old 04-01-2011
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So would I call a rigger, or a marine welder, or should I contact Catalina for a replacement part?

When we had the boat hauled for a survey, we had to disconnect the backstay. Now at certain speeds/points of sail the boat hums--pretty loud. Could the backstay tension be off?

Here's some more pics
Other side

Front view
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Old 04-01-2011
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There are always welders ("portable welding" in the yellow pages) who will work on stainless and come around the docks. Some are incredibly pricey.

But I'd vote with the folks who say "risky". Not a problem today or in ten knots, but something you want to fix ASAP by having the cracks ground and rewelded, and then having a plate (or plates) wrapped over the fitting (i.e. from the side, over the front bar, and around to the other side) and welded to the sides and front piece, so all three are being reinforced with more metal.

That's something you could probably dummy up from corrogated cardboard and a little glue, take it into the shop and show the welder the picture so he can make up a piece and bring it out with him when he comes to the boat.

Of course if you're racing, you'll just pull the whole stem fitting and have a new one made up from titanium or carbon fibre. (VBG)
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Old 04-01-2011
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Any ideas after seeing the picture of that includes the furler? If it's a bad design I'd rather fix the setup then have it welded every X years when it fails.
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Old 04-01-2011
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Perhaps I am seein something different. Mainsail, I don't know this boat, so correct me where I am wrong.

It looks to me like they doubled the stainless (welded a second layer and then ground it away) where the pin goes through. Not great practice, but probably factory. Then, the strap continues down over the bow in one continuous strip. I see no cracks in the strip, just some misalighnment problems. Clearly, they didn't get the forestay angle wrong.

The thinning is a little concerning. It looks like the workman did a bit too much grinding. But if there are no cracks in the continuous strip, that's a good sign.

I would re-weld the cracks to prevent continuing flexing and I would not wait. It's going to be $$$. It is toggled.

Pleanty of folks replace chainplates if they are unsure and expect some heavy work. I would certainly do that before sailing in really tough conditions. Perhaps a simple fix would be a new plate that was simply full thickness.
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Last edited by pdqaltair; 04-01-2011 at 11:08 AM.
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