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I'm going back and probably making an offer on an IP 38 made in 1989 the boat is Immaculate outfitted to the hilt new engine bilges are to eat off of anyway the boat is in amazing condition abet the woodwork on the deck needs some attention but thats small potatoes.

MY QUESTION:
I've just today read some horror stories about chainplate issues I'm not sure how I missed this threw the insane amount of research I've done but after I found one and did a search for chainplate issues seems it's common OR is it just the world wide web that seems to make everything you look for specifically a giant issue? What I'm asking I guess since it seems they are impossible to inspect since they are imbedded if they haven't been replaced should I just walk now or run? I'm pretty good working on about anything but looking at what it takes to replace them seems like a project I'd do if I owned the boat but dont really want to walk into it as a project. It's not a project boat and it's not at project boat prices last thing I need in life is to loose a mast or to even be THINKING of loosing a mast while cruising the Bahamas.

Hopefully I can get a couple solid replies one way or the other before sunday I realize I'm new to the forum but since I dont own the boat yet hopefully that can be overlooked. If I get the boat you'll probably see alot of me on here but thats to be seen.

Much appreciated more than you can imagine just need non hyperbolic solid reply or two would really make a difference to me more than you know and will be appreciated more than you can imagine either way.

Thanks ahead of time.
 

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Beneteau 393
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I might ring the bell for @boatpoker :)

My thoughts are not to believe a horror story on the internet relates to all boats of that brand.

You really need to have a survey done by a surveyor who knows IPs. Yes thy cost a fortune but they are worth it. Your investment will be high so another thousand dollars on a good survey is negligible.

Ask the broker clearly and specifically about the chainplates. Wait until he gives you a clear and specific answer and dont let him change subject. Maybe ask the broker to contact the owner and specifically ask about them?

Make the offer without regard to possible chainplate issues but make the offer conditional to having a survey done. This is normal practice.


Good luck! Its an exciting time. But remember theres always another boat if you miss out on this one.

Mark
 
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I cannot speak to the IP38 but simply put ANYTHING that penetrates the deck or hull is to be watched. Chainplates are that which helps to hold the mast upright, and generally are attached to bulkheads that are frequently wood. Because they MUST penetrate the deck, AND they are subject to stressloads under normal use, the "seal" under and around those chainplates necessarily is subjected to movement and can leak. So now water and wood below, and attachment points for chainplates can compromise over time. THIS is nearly all sailboats.

Noticing rot and weakening of bulkheads is pretty easy. The more subtle issues of compromised chainplates themselves (degredation of metals hairline fractures etc.) are less obvious.

No question a boat buyer should consider a qualified inspector. Only spend money without such inspector that you are perfectly happy to lose.

Ok so on the positive side. Chainplates can be replaced, bulkheads rebuilt, and more importantly a leak that has not compromised a bulkhead (yet) can easily be resealed, you merely take the tension off the shroud, detach stay, pull chainplate cap up and reseal. Many will argue about the right sealant to rebed the seal, but I've had good luck with butyl tape. This last part is part of normal maintenance. We as owners must rebed hardware every couple years, so this should be part of the routine.
 

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This is a known problem, and not just a few boats. I don’t know the ratio.

if I remember, some or all of the chain plates cannot be inspected because they are encapsulated. I’d start researching this to find out which plates are inspectable, and which are typically the problem.

the good thing is that this isn’t a one-off problem so everything you need to know is on the internet.
 

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You didn't ask about holding tanks but I read that some of the older IPs had aluminum holding tanks that need period replacement. Maybe someone with IP knowledge will be able to give more details. It didn't sound like a deal breaker - just something to know.
 

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OP, I understand your concern. We recently bought an IP44 from '94. The previous owner had the chainplates all replaced, and that was one reason that I still looked at the boat. He had lots of photos of the job. What a chore! I think the previous owner just got paranoid, because I asked him it there was any corrosion on the old ones after 20 years and he said something like "no, they were fine, but I slept much better on windy days". I think as long as the boat has a good maintenance history, the chainplates should be fine. Its like that story of the keel that broke off of a new model boat some years ago. It sticks with the name in internet lore forever.

As far as inspections go, there is not a way to visually verify the chainplates condition, except for the stub that comes through the deck. However, IPs are so over built, I think your fine on a well maintained boat.
 

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As others have said, this is a pretty well known issue with embedded chain plates (vs bolted chain plates). The issue with older embedded chainplates occurs with a high level of frequency in boats built by pretty much all manufacturers who used this construction method. Because Irwin was an early adapter of this chainplate embedment method, there is a lot more information out there discussing replacement of embedded chainplates on Irwins. You might try to research Irwin chainplates issues.

Starting with the broad generality, the generally accepted recommendations are that chainplates typically are thought to have a reliable lifespan of around 25 to 40 years. In order to remain reliable for that long, the chain plates should be inspected increasingly frequently as they age beyond 20-25 years. Because of where chainplate failures typically occur, proper inspection requires that the chainplate is removed and be closely inspected at those areas most prone to fatigue and corrosion . Because of that, inspection requires removal of the chainplate because the point of deterioration typically occurs where the chainplates pass through the deck, or sit against a hard surface.

Getting to the science, chainplate failure typically occurs due to several factors. The two main causes are cyclical flexure, and oxygen deprivation corrosion (AKA crevice corrosion). But failure can also result from a failure of the attachment surface and/or components (bulkhead rot, fiberglass fatigue, bolt bearing failure)

Crevice corrosion typically occurs where the chainplates pass through the deck, in other areas where the oxygen can't get to the surface of the stainless steel, and areas where the stainless steel has not been properly pacified (typically occurring where stainless steel has been cut, drilled or welded). fatigue and crevice corrosion often work synergetically to accelerate deterioration. Fine cracks occur in the stainless steel begins to fatigue. The surface of those cracks are not pacified and they are the perfect place for crevice corrosion to take hold. As those cracks deepen the reduce the stiffness of the metal allowing a greater range of flexure, and that accelerates fatigue and the corrosion cycle.

To understand fatigue cyclical flexure in the metal is what causes fatigue and fatigue makes the metal more brittle and reduces in strength of the metal in question. Because of rig geometry, chainplates are particularly prone to cyclical flexure. The factors that control the rate of fatigue are proportionate to the amount of flexure, the proportion of the total capacity of chainplate of each cycle, and the number of cycles. Minimally the movement can be in the form of micro-flexure (tiny amounts of movement every time the rig loads and unloads). But a number of geometry and construction details can greatly increase the amount of flexure and the concentration of the flexure in one location rather than having smaller amounts of deflection at any point along a larger portion of the chainplate. But even the best engineered chainplates, still experience some amount of micro-flexure. Of course it is possible to mitigate that to some extent by reducing flexure to such a small amount that the overall life of the chainplate can be greatly extended and perhaps extended almost infinitely.

As mentioned above, there are factors that greatly shorten the life of a chainplate such as the orientation of the chainplates to the load path, designs that concentrate the loads at a small area of the chainplate, weldments, and the size of area of that would be conducive to forming crevice corrosion. So for example orienting the chainplate fore and aft greatly increases flexure in the chainplate because the narrow dimension of the chainplate is perpendicular to the axis of the shroud loading. This tends to be less critical for the upper shrouds which have lower side loadings and tend to be oriented closer to the direction of the stay. But lower shrouds have suignificantly higher and more horizontal load components and those will greatly increase the loads and therefore the amount of flexure experienced on on each cycle resisted by the chainplate.

Speaking more specifically about embedded chainplates, this becomes more of a problem with embedded chainplates because the embedment prevents the flexure to migrate over as large an area of the chainplate. But added to this, the embedment potentially provides the perfect location for crevice corrosion. If the fiberglass was perfectly adhered to the stainless steel then crevice corrosion would not be a problem. But that is the rub. To get proper adhesion the stainless steel needs to be roughed up to create a better bond. In doing so, the passivity of the stainless steel is lost. Crevice corrosion can begin to occur at the interface between the resin and the unpacified stainless. The pocket that is formed holds moisture. The delamination - crevice corrosion continues to expand as new interfaces are exposed by the action of the corrosion process, This eventually exposes much of the entire chainplate to crevice corrosion, and has the most serious impact in those areas where the welds occur in the chainplate, On the flip side, if the entire chainplate is carefully pacified, then the bond between the fiberglass will be much weaker and will also allow crevice corrosion,

There are a number of videos and articles of these types of repairs. The risks are very real. In most of these repairs articles or videos, they show the old chainplates. Typically there will be several chainplates that show severe cracking in the stainless steel near the deck and /or near the welds.

I can comment on this based on my own experience with embedded chainplates. Last year, I replaced an embedded babystay chainplate on a 1980's era Moody. While the construction was somewhat different than on the Island Packet or Irwins, given its full embedment, this welded and embedded chainplate was still subject to the same set of issues that would be expected from the type of embedment found on embedded shrouds like those on an Irwin or Island Packet. When the chainplate was removed we found that there was no attachment between embedment and the fiberglass Examining the surface of the fiberglass (which was smooth and shaped to the bar, the stainless steel had been free of corrosion when the bar was glassed in. But the surface of the stainless steel was now badly corroded suggested long term contact between water and the stainless steel. moisture potentially simply was due to condensation since the bar would be cold from being above deck while the interior of the boat was warmer and more humid.

In examining the the tang portion of the chainplate, the tang was was badly cracked just above the weld, and just below the surface of the deck. I will note that the tang looked brand new above the deck.

I respectfully disagree that a surveyor would be able to determine whether there is an issue with the specific boat in question. The portions of the chainplate that need to be examined are hidden behind cabinetry, embedded in fiberglass, painted over and concealed where the chainplate passes through the deck. There is no way except by doing destructive exploration to determine the condition of the chainplates with this construction technique. And no seller would permit that type of destructive exploration.

We all have our own deal killers. Embedded shrouds on a 20 year old boat would be a deal killer for me personally. But obviously, not everyone sees it this way.

So, since you may proceed with possibly buying this boat, I would also suggest that you pay close attention to the stainless steel plate between the aft end of the keel, and the bottom of the rudder. The issue with that plate is that it is located essentially at the same height as the bottom of the keel. In a grounding, that plate often touches bottom. Due to catenary action, it puts a lot of force on the fastenings into the keel, and on the end of the rudder post. In talking with yards who have repaired these boats after groundings, several things tend to occur. Minimally the bar is bent and the fastenings are loosened on the keel. This permits water to enter the encapsulation envelope. At various times, Island Packet used Iron ballast set in concrete, later set in resin, and ultimately changed to lead set in concrete or resin. If this boat has iron ballast, the that water in the encapsulation will cause corrosion and the expansion due to rust will undermine the bond between the concrete or resin binder, and the iron and between the ballast and the encapsulation, both of which compromises the strength of this area of the boat and the area near the bilge.

But also the Island Packets have post hung, counterbalanced spade rudders that are almost as deep as the keel bottom. Good practice when designing a post hung spade rudder is to keep the rudder well above the bottom of the keel. The depth of the Island Packet rudder makes it more more prone to damage in a grounding, This issue is exacerbated by the stainless steel plate between the aft end of the keel, and the bottom of the rudder, which exert a lot of force trying to bend the rudder post as it deflects during a grounding, Those are issues that a good surveyor should be able to detect.

Good luck with whatever you chose to do,

Jeff
 

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My 2 cents as former IP 420 owner and liveaboard cruiser.
The seriousness of the chain plate concern has a lot to do with how you plan on using the boat. If you are going to be off shore for weeks at a time, than I’d have some concerns. But if your passages are going to be under a week you should
Be okay. Given the quality and availability of good weather forecasting and routing, you’ll be able to avoid the kind of stink that could threaten the rig.
The poster that said you can’t inspect the chain
Plates in situ is correct. But what you can do, if the seller will let you, is remove at least one chain plate cover and look down inside for signs of water intrusion. That would be bad. Barring that, look at the covers and check for wear and deformation at the slots the tangs go through. Check for the presence of caulking and it’s condition.
Unless the standing rigging has been replaced and the seller has the reciepts, I would also Spring for a separate rigging imspection. If it’s original then some or a of it ikely needs to be replaced as 20 yrs is about the limit. It’s very likely the insurer will require it anyway. Fu replacement would probably
Be around 8k.
The other poster that mentioned aluminum tanks is also
spot on. While the fuel and fw water tanks should be fine, if original, the holding tank MUST be replaced. If it hasn’t failed yet, it will, and soon. It’s a horrible job on all IP’s and until 2004 the tanks on every boat were aluminum. Doing mine was close to 15k, and about the only project I didn’t do myself. The tanks are inaccessible under the cabin sole which has to be torn up to do the job. I would make sure the seller says it was done I’d make sure he has receipts to prove it unless you can catch a glimpse of it somewhere.
If you are on the east coast an excellent source for good info on costs, and having the work done is Mack Yacht Services. I have no affiliation, I was a customer. They are in Stuart, Fl. Colin Mack is an expert on specializes on IP’s. He knows them
Inside and out. For rigging his brother at Mack sails, also in Stuart is the guy.
Finally, one caveat. If you are looking for a boat that will perform nicely in light air, keep looking and not at IP’s. They are built for cruising in real wind, and do that very well and comfortably, but under about 12knots, you will likely be motoring, or at least motor sailing. Or get a Code 0 or other cruising chute that works upwind. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT an IP hater, and there many. I really liked my boat. But do understand what they are built for and be realistic about how she will be used. If you use it for
It’s purpose you’ll be very happy. If not, …

Bill Berner
passport 470
Currently Oxford, MD
 

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I was seriously looking at iP35s and stopped because of the chain plate issues. Somewhere around 1990 they switched to 316ss to cut down on corrosion but even side from that they're embedded and you can't check easily. There was a blog post by folks with a IP35 in the early to mid 2000-2010 (something like Island girl?) where they went thru the inspection and replacement process and have a link to a company in South Florida that which has a lot of experience with these replacements.
 

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There are a few companies with a lot of experience regarding the chain plates, one near me in Texas. When I bought mine almost two years ago the cost to replace was about $10K.

Moisture readings at each plate where good. While not fool proof it gives some assurance in addition to looking for indications.

Previous owner on mine had replaced the aluminum tank about 18 months prior to me buying it. He photo documented it all, Did a really great job.

IP Yacht Owners Assoc website is a good spot to go and ask about this, as I did. Hayden, who runs it, has a 1990 IP 35, is a buyers’ broker for those wanting to buy an IP, exceptionally knowledgable and always willing to share information and direct you to sources.

For me should I end up at some point addressing the plates it will still have been a good purchase. Love the boat.
 

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To Bill’s point above on the holding tank….it is not the holding tank that is the problem it is the Fresh Water Tank.

Because it is aluminum bleach/ammonia harms it and many folks use bleach to clean their FW Tanks at times. Over time it becomes a problem.
 

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There several views out there regarding how long chainplates will last ... I offer no time frame as I've seen hundreds of wild differences.

There are possibly 3 different forms of corrosion that I've found in chainplates but the worst of all is crevice corrosion on encapsulated chainplates. Crevice corrosion can start with just a few drops of stagnant water sitting in a single pin hole in an ss plate, or it can start with few drops at a microfracture where holes have been drilled or trapped in a "crevice" between the ss and the glass. There are some photos here ... Salt Corrosion
but the three best photos I have to show crevice corrosion caused by stagnant (deoxygenated) water are these which are of a propeller shaft.

1. The shaft with hub attached
2. Closeup of the shaft break showing the inside of the shaft looks like a Cadbury's Crunchy bar
3. An x-ray of that shaft showing the size of the void under a single microscopic pinhole.

What caused this disaster that turned into a huge insurance claim ?
The boat sat at a dock for three years and never moved. Water trapped inside the cutless bearing and against the shaft became deoxygenated and crevice corrosion was the result. (ss needs the oxygen to regenerate its protective coating).

Encapsulating chainplates with the attendant cyclical loading and the inevitable entrapment of water which will turn stagnant (deoxygenate) and result in crevice corrosion was just another Stoopid Boat Builder Trick..

The only two ways to examine encapsulated chainplates is to either remove them or x-ray them. The cost of either will shock you.
 

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I’m afraid I must respectfully strenuously disagree with flyrod1 about the aluminum
holding tank. It is a well documented problem, and can be confirmed with discussions with the new owners of IP, or the folks at Mack. Mack, by the way is the company on south Florida that Hayden, the organizer of IPYOA, and owner of Island Girl recommends. They did a refit on his boat which is illustrated on their site.
IPHomeport.com is another owners group with an excellent forum and some really helpful folks.
Allen, best of luck with the boat. & get that standing rigging inspection!

Bill Berner
 

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There are a few companies with a lot of experience regarding the chain plates, one near me in Texas. When I bought mine almost two years ago the cost to replace was about $10K.

Moisture readings at each plate where good. While not fool proof it gives some assurance in addition to looking for indications.
Since a moisture meter measures capacitance and not moisture ... any reading over an encapsulated chainplate will show very high readings if the plate is in contact with the glass. There is no reliable information to be gained from measuring with a moisture meter.
Moisture Meter Mythology
 
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I might ring the bell for @boatpoker :)

My thoughts are not to believe a horror story on the internet relates to all boats of that brand.

You really need to have a survey done by a surveyor who knows IPs. Yes thy cost a fortune but they are worth it. Your investment will be high so another thousand dollars on a good survey is negligible.

Ask the broker clearly and specifically about the chainplates. Wait until he gives you a clear and specific answer and dont let him change subject. Maybe ask the broker to contact the owner and specifically ask about them?

Make the offer without regard to possible chainplate issues but make the offer conditional to having a survey done. This is normal practice.


Good luck! Its an exciting time. But remember theres always another boat if you miss out on this one.

Mark
I've even had my boat surveyed after I've had work done to ensure the work was done properly, for insurance valuations, for racing handicaps, and to find a problem no one could seem to find. That said, get a surveyor with lots of references and make sure he knows he is working for you, not the yard, not the insurance company, not the seller, not the broker...
 

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I've even had my boat surveyed after I've had work done to ensure the work was done properly, for insurance valuations, for racing handicaps, and to find a problem no one could seem to find. That said, get a surveyor with lots of references and make sure he knows he is working for you, not the yard, not the insurance company, not the seller, not the broker...
Choosing a Marine Surveyor
 

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@boatpoker youre going to say no, BUT…

couldnt one drill through the glass near the Top of the chainplates and look at what comes out? Not perfect, but perhaps an inexpensive and far less intrusive spot check. Rusty stuff comes out bad, clean SS comes out good.
 

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@boatpoker youre going to say no, BUT…

couldnt one drill through the glass near the Top of the chainplates and look at what comes out? Not perfect, but perhaps an inexpensive and far less intrusive spot check. Rusty stuff comes out bad, clean SS comes out good.
A one half inch hole will show you 1/2" that has been scarred by the drill bit, not very useful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Didn't expect so many great responses I have been watching but things have gotten a bit crazy thus I neglected a response or even a thank you and for that I apologize. Update though. We are in the process of purchasing after negotiations seller accepted and we are waiting on the survey. Am getting the chain plates replaced after purchase and am lucky enough that we have two locations that specialize in replacing island packet chain plate replacement snead island just to the north of us 2 hours by ca4 and Mack Sails a bit of a distance to the south. Cost incase anyone is curious is 15,000 at both locations. The issue isn't water intrusion the issue is the encapsulated system locks out all oxygen and the stainless used corodes in the absence of oxygen. Now the boat is a 1989 so if it takes this long to corrode I personally call that a win myself others will disagree but anyway. The new system does not encapsulate it hard to explain but looks like crystal gale got her hair cut and they used it they wrap them then it spreads out over the entire side of the boat inside. Anyway the previous owners pumped an insane amount of money into the boat impossible to list everything the only thing they didn't do was chain plates oddly. All tanks have been replaced and upgraded with water doubled. All new electronics new engine along with a host of other stuff. So with new isenglass coming after its done and the chain plates she should be good for quite some time. Not closing till after this hurricane has came and left rather not be holding title till after.
 

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The issue isn't water intrusion the issue is the encapsulated system locks out all oxygen and the stainless used corodes in the absence of oxygen.
As a retired Certified Marine Corrosion tech ... Water is the issue in that it becomes stagnant. Stagnant water is deoxygenated water and it is that deoxygenated water that prevents fresh oxygen getting to the stainless.

That deoxygenated water can also lead to crevice corrosion.
 
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