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post #1 of 14 Old 08-15-2015 Thread Starter
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Stemhead problems

I have what I would consider to be a fairly unique but serious problem. my boat does not have a stemhead or a proper attachment to the forestay. I do have a bowsprit which has a collar where a forestay could attach although there are no proper attachments for bobstay's and the pushpin is aft of where it attaches, there are numerous reasons why relocating the forestay to the forward end of the bowsprit is a less than ideal solution.

Currently the boat has a bow eye with a small backing plate which was used as the stemhead fitting by the previous owner and myself for a few months, however i believe this to be manifestly unsafe. The bow eye is drilled through the bowsprit and the deck and the bowsprit is bolted to the deck with a substantial 304 stainless steel backing plate.

In looking for a proper solution to this problem I have identified 4 possible solutions i would like someone to tell me which is best.

Solution 1: I make a large thick backing plate in a triangular shape to spread the load over a larger area of the deck, this however does not address spreading the loads to the hull and keel. One possible augmentation to this solution would be to add an eye nut after the backing plate and a pushrod or stainless steel cable between that and the u bolt which is embedded at the bottom of the anchor locker, however the strength of that attachment is not known.

Solution 2: get a piece of stainless bar and have it bent so that it acts as a backing plate that attaches to the deck/ bow eye and the inside of the bow to try and spread the load down the bow to the hull.

Solution 3: to drill a hole in the bowsprit following the incline of the bow and put a which stainless bar through it and bolt it thru the bow with a backing plate and a slight bend after it has reached through the bowsprit much like an external sidestay chainplate would look. (essentially a straight bar that reaches to the level of the bowsprit and then bends to the angle of the forestay.

solution 4:
I could buy a ready made chainplate and remove the bowsprit and bolt it with adequate backing to the hull and deck. The problem with this is there are no ready made chainplates for my boat and it is difficult to locate one with the right dimensions, as there are very few ready made chainplates that I have found on the web.

Solution 5:
I could install bobstays and use the bowsprit as the forestay attachment.

Whichever solution I choose it has to have the maximum strength possible as this boat will eventually be used for offshore crossing so I can not have this fitting failing halfway across the pacific ocean. It needs to be maximum strength so if there is a better solution i have not thought of please let me know i have added some pictures of the bowsprit and bow area and the chain locker for illustration.

One additional point is that I have also enclosed a picture of what the original stem fitting would have looked like, however note that I do not have the template for this as this was found on flickr.
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Re: Stemhead problems

the pictures
Stemhead problems-20120928_113723.jpg

Stemhead problems-img_20140914_143822.jpg

Stemhead problems-img_20140914_143750.jpg

Stemhead problems-7939245238_3028cd48d0_o.jpg
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Re: Stemhead problems

It doesn't look as though that bowsprit belongs on that boat. I don't really see a fair lead from the end of the bowsprit to the masthead, without removing some of the pulpit.
Not only are you going to need a bobstay, but most likely a couple of whisker stays as well, which will require even more strong points.
I think you'd be better served to chuck the bowsprit and just mount the headstay on the bow of the boat, keeping her a simple sloop. I wouldn't want only one forward stay going from a bowsprit to the masthead as my only forward stay. Normally, the bowsprit goes better with the cutter rig, giving you another stay forward.
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post #4 of 14 Old 08-16-2015
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Re: Stemhead problems

Under the assumption that the PO removed original stemhead fitting and added the bowsprit I don't think you can trust it or anything else he did. Remove it all, it's unuseable.
I think a combo of #4 and #2 are your best option, talk to a good stainless fabricator in your area, someone that does a lot of marine work if possible.
The PO did you a great disservice with his improvements, maybe he still has the original stemhead fitting ?
I agree with you that the current configuration is untrustworthy under any circumstances.
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Last edited by capttb; 08-16-2015 at 11:04 AM.
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Re: Stemhead problems

So the consensus is that the bowsprit needs to go. In terms of the stem fitting if the P.O has the original I will take that to a fabricator to be rebuilt, if he does not is there any way a stainless fabricator can make a replacement from photographs of the part and measurements from the bow, or should i purchase something like this titanium stem chainplate for an islander 32 https://www.alliedtitanium.com/produ...PDCID=53892003 which would be within 5 degrees of the proper angle of the forestay and then have it bent a few degrees more or less to the exact angle and then mount it with a large backing plate. If there is any other potential way of getting a stem fitting made without the original let me know but from your feedback I think these are the three options as using the bowsprit is not a feasible option.
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Re: Stemhead problems

I can't get the stemhead page open on their website but RigRite in Rhode Island may have something comparable or a replacement idea for your boat. If all else fails they will custom make one, you can get an estimate for free, if you have a design and dimensions. Call them, maybe they are familiar with the boat.
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Re: Stemhead problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by duchess of montrose View Post
So the consensus is that the bowsprit needs to go. In terms of the stem fitting if the P.O has the original I will take that to a fabricator to be rebuilt, if he does not is there any way a stainless fabricator can make a replacement from photographs of the part and measurements from the bow, or should i purchase something like this titanium stem chainplate for an islander 32 https://www.alliedtitanium.com/produ...PDCID=53892003 which would be within 5 degrees of the proper angle of the forestay and then have it bent a few degrees more or less to the exact angle and then mount it with a large backing plate. If there is any other potential way of getting a stem fitting made without the original let me know but from your feedback I think these are the three options as using the bowsprit is not a feasible option.
I wouldn't be so quick to jump to a super expensive stainless steel fitting when a bronze or even steel (with galvanizing) one would do perfectly well. Talk to a machine shop near you and get quotes on several materials.

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Re: Stemhead problems

this is a contest 30. thats how it looked. 1970 CONTEST MARK II SLOOP sailboat for sale in New York you do not have the topside railing so the stem plate would be simpler to make. a good fabricator could make one. If my shop was making one we would need to measure the boat and fit it to the boat. make it out of 316L stainless steel, polish to mirror finish and passivate. steel will cost just as much after galvanizing. bronze will cost more. it is not the material that cost but the labor will. we did a custom job similar a year ago and the material was $250 the labor was $3000 including the two trips to the boat 1 hour away
Note:Contest yachts is still around and making custom large yachts

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Last edited by overbored; 08-19-2015 at 03:17 AM.
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Re: Stemhead problems

I have a mark 1 like this 1969 Contest CONTEST 30 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com (although this particular boat doesn't have the standard stem fitting either) but the stem fitting was similar in all of the older contests 29,30,31,33,40 and maybe others. Do you think replacing the stem cap with a full wrap around cap like the original is stronger than simply having an angled stemplate made to match the angle of the forestay as is common on many newer boats. is there an advantage to the extra labor required to make the wrap around stem fitting compared to the more simple angled chainplate with backing plate design. Does the cap like design have more strength or transfer loads better or is it just aesthetic.
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Re: Stemhead problems

I think t depends how the fiberglass bow was mad. if was me I would do the stem strap like most boats but would add more glass to the inside of the hull to carry the load outward just to be safe. I think the original wrap a round was just for looks. and I never thought it looked good.

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