Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chain Plates

Chain plates are the long rectangular metal plates that hold the mast and rigging on a sailboat in place.  As ours are 32 years old, it was in our best interest to have them inspected while the mast had been pulled. 

Baxter spent several hours removing all of the chain plates and the 10 bolts/nuts/washers per plate - most of them in corners of lockers, over the shower or in other places that are difficult to access. 
Once the chain plates were out, we visually inspected them and aside from some rust and grime, they seemed to be okay.  We were excited!  Baxter performing the labor himself saved us a couple thousand dollars and then if they turned out to be in good condition with no pitting or cracks, we wouldn’t need to replace them.  We asked the rigging shop to polish and dye test the plates.  We came back from lunch and Arthur, the rigger, said “Hey Baxter, can I show you something?” Doh!  That is never good.  Glad we are not the gate keepers for chain plates.  As it turns out – they all have to be replaced.  They didn’t even have to dye test them to see the corrosion. 

After we managed to swallow that difficult pill, the yard came by to let us know our mast was going up the next morning, which means we would need to get the new plates from the shop, rebed (seal) them in the deck and then screw all of them back in those difficult areas – before 8 am.  Not a problem.  Except when they don’t hand you the plates until 5:30pm.  Yeah – it was probably good to keep all impressionable children away from our hatches as Baxter hammered and ratcheted as fast as he could.

Before 8 am, true to their motis operandis, the yard was ready to go.  Crane was on it’s way to re-step the mast (put the mast back on the boat) and thankfully Baxter had all the preparations complete. 

We now have shiny new rigging that makes Terrapin even stronger and gives us confidence and helps us sleep better on every watch. 

Starboard side without chainplates.

The old chainplates. Once polished they showed a lot of pitting.

New pretty chainplate.

The starboard cap shroud chainplate finished.

The nuts and bolts for the chainplates. We bought good quality at Budget Marine here in St. Maarten.

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