dealing with the chainplate from hell…

Having experienced a dismasting due to a chainplate failure on “So It Goes”, and mixed with the fact that the Islander is fifty years old, chainplate replacement was high on the list of the needful things to do list. Of course, being that the Islander’s chainplate design is a bit different from what passes for the norm makes it a bit more interesting.

For example, the port forward lower shroud was way past it’s sell-by date with some serious rust, as well as welds that were impossible to inspect due to it being glassed into the hull. Maybe it’s just my opinion but, having a chainplate weld fail resulting in the loss an entire rig makes me all kinds of nervous. As far as glassed in chainplates goes… I’m pretty sure there’s a special place in hell for those designers that specced such things.

Getting the old chainplate removed took an entire day of cutting and grinding out the fifty-year old polyester resin/fiberglass toxic mess and I’m still itching. Need I really say more?

Because one of my favorite mantras is “Plywood is as strong as steel if used correctly”, the decision was to use a simple plywood laminated mini-bulkhead of three layers of 1/4″ plywood which is actually stronger than the steel it’s replacing. It also allows for easy inspection of the stainless chainplate it supports.

I’m still trying to work out what I’ll be doing for the aft lower chainplates as they’re another bad/problematic design and not tucked away in the head where they won’t be noticed. My current thinking is to just move them to the outside of the hull and be done with it. That said, I keep hoping for a cunning plan to pop up but, so far, still waiting.

Now, of course, I get to do another job I detest which is drilling a bunch of 316 stainless chainplate stock. That being the case I bought a small drill press to makes the project easier. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a spot on the Islander to store the new drill press as as it’s a tool I’ve always missed having onboard.

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2 thoughts on “dealing with the chainplate from hell…”

  1. Nice solution. I had a similar issue and did the same thing. It has held up nicely. Your mini bulkhead looks nice. I would consider just doing the same for the aft lower shroud instead of bolting to the hull.

  2. Blimey. That original chainplate is a pretty rough bit of fabrication for something on a relatively premium product ie a boat.

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