March 11, 2016
Next on the agenda was to inspect and rebed the chainplates. With no deck covers over the chainplate slots–and not enough room at the toerail end to allow stock covers to fit–the chainplates had been gooped up over the years with piles of silicone sealant, which was not only unsightly but was probably of dubious effectiveness. So to begin, I removed all this excess sealant (removing and storing aside the toggles that were in place on five of the six chainplates), which also freed up the chainplates for further work. The starboard side is shown in the top two photos; port in the lower.
Below, access to four of the six chainplates was good, and without drama I removed the bolts securing the plates to the knees and pushed the chainplates up through the slots, so I could remove them from on deck later. I also removed at this time the old and deteriorated copper lightning “protection” system that had basically corroded away to dust in many areas anyway. The knees appeared sound and in good condition.
The chainplates for the uppers (the middle set) posed a problem because the knees were located so close to the bulkheads (those that defined the forward edge of the galley) that it was not possible to access the nuts on the aft sides of these chainplates. Past experience with a sistership had prepared me for this in advance, and for days I’d been wishing the chainplates to simply unbolt themselves and rise airily from the boat, as I knew the only other way I was going to remove them was to remove the two bulkhead sections. This was a shame since it seems like it could have been so easy to avoid this access issue, but at least in this case the bulkheads were simply screwed to the fiberglass interior structure, so removal was possible, but it was still a lot of extra work just to access three bolts that really should have been accessible anyway–and with an inch more clearance would have been.
The port bulkhead came out without much issue, though there was one hidden screw that had been broken off during installation (I supposed), and since it had no head it was not visible, nor would it have been removable even if I’d known it was there. But it wasn’t much of a problem to free the bulkhead from it, as there was plenty of room in the empty hanging locker forward. Space between the knee and the glassed-in liner behind it was still tight, but at least I could now remove the bolts.
On the starboard side, there was a lot more in the way, and before beginning I had to remove the cookstove vent pipe and all its enclosure leading up to the deck fitting. The marine toilet was mounted very close to the bulkhead at the bottom, but the bulkhead would have to come out around it since I had no intention of trying to remove the head. Fortunately, I could access all the bulkhead screws around the toilet base; my worst fear had been that one screw could be inaccessible next to the base.
With extraneous gear out of the way, and all the screws removed, I finally got the bulkhead out, but with difficulty since I had to slide it straight inboard, as I couldn’t tip the top forward as I had on the other side since the head got in the way. The plywood was also very tight–i.e. friction fit–with the protruding bolt ends of the chainplate, a closer tolerance than on the other side, but finally the bulkhead was out. There was just enough room for a wrench on the nut side of the knee, and I thought I could manage to thread new nuts on by hand when I reinstalled the chainplate later.
While I had good access to everything, I cleaned up the head and hanging locker areas, removing spilled teak oil from the liner where it’d been slopped off the bulkheads, and just a general cleanup, which brightened both sides of the space considerably.
I also cleaned up around the various chainplate knees and the locker areas surrounding them; these areas, and the knees themselves, were in good condition. While the bulkheads were out, I cleaned them up a bit and inspected them; they were structurally sound.
I ordered new bolts for the chainplates, as I didn’t have this type on hand, and since I’d found surface rust on a few of the originals (though most were in good condition). Meanwhile, I pulled the chainplates out from above and cleaned up the stainless, which was polished only on the top half of the plates. There was a bit of surface rust on a couple of the chainplates, but nothing significant, and they all cleaned up well and looked good. I also cleaned out any excess sealant from the deck slots. These photos show both sides of all the chainplates after cleanup. I’d reinstall them as soon as the new bolts arrived, and I planned to make simple deck covers that would help more effectively seal the slots and look better than the mess that had been there before.
Next, I painted the engine room and around the other through hull pads as required, using gray Bilgekote.
To round out the day, I continued with some more hardware removal, starting with the water fill deck plate, since I’d had to remove the hose from beneath during the chainplate and bulkhead removal process earlier. This section of sidedeck had a plywood core.
The nearby vente fittings for the water and waste tanks were rusted on the inside, and I planned to replace them in kind. The old clear vent hoses that had been installed, and which I’d removed for better access during the chainplate work, required replacement as well, for appearance if nothing else.
At the bow, I laid out the position of a new latch for the anchor well, and removed the deck side of the hinges so I could rebed those. I’d also soon be creating access to the bow cleats so I could rebed them.
Total time billed on this job today: 6 hours
0600 Weather Report:
32°, cloudy. Forecast for the day: Becoming sunny, high around 50