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Old 29-03-2011, 09:32   #1
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First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

So I am in the middle of a busy month of work on the boat and I spotted something I don't like. For the first time, there is a little tiny bit of rust showing around the chainplate bolts in my cabin.

Everything looks solid and the corrosion is very very minor, just under the washers where it sits on the bulkhead fiberglass. It looks a little more dark brown than it does reddish brown, making me think it may be more dirt than corrosion. The port side bolts are nearly pristine, with one long water streak showing, but the starboard ones show a little more brown with no streaking.

So, what is required now? Can I just lift the top covers off the deck and recaulk from above? (This is preferable considering the large amount of repairs I'm dealing with at the moment.) Or do I need to consider actually removing all the bolts to rebed the chainplates? If so, what does rebedding actually involve?

Thanks a lot for the advice!
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Old 29-03-2011, 17:34   #2
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Re: First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

I would certainly get rid of that paint and don't paint it later. The chainplate does not need to be very rusty to break. Another factor is material fatigue.
Your chainplates seem to be easily accessible so it should be a fairly easy job (we need to take apart half of cabinetry to get them out on our boat). If you think (perhaps you even know for sure) how old are they and if you expect to be sailing in stronger winds/chop, I wouldn't hesitate. It will cost you a trifle compared to a broken mast.
In fact one of our chainplates broke last year in 3 meter chop and ~25kn winds, which is far from being heavy weather. Fortunately our chainplates are welded from two parts and only the bottom part broke so the chainplate didn't actually come out, we changed tacks, tied it down with spare halyards and we still have our old mast. We knew the chainplate was rather old, but it "looked ok". There was only a tiny streak of rust and the material looked slightly greyish. Will not make the same mistake again!
Good luck
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Old 29-03-2011, 17:39   #3
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Re: First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

I would be more concerned that the bulkhead could be saturated. I would certainly remove the chaiplates for inspection and check the bulkhead for moisture while you've got it opened up.
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Old 29-03-2011, 17:55   #4
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Re: First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

for peace of mind,if it is worrying you replace the chain plate easy job,especially if the boat is over 25 years old.
do one sid at atime, use 316 ss
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Old 29-03-2011, 17:58   #5
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Re: First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

If the mast wasn't up I would pull the chainplates to inspect and rebed them. If the rig was up and you can't/don't want to take the rig down I would pull the covers going around the chainplates on the deck and rebed them. Then once the goo was dry I would get the hose out and see how waterprooof they are.
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Old 29-03-2011, 18:17   #6
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Re: First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

Would be more concerned with water/rot in the bulkhead (if it's wood core) than a bit of tarnish on the s.s. Those plates don't appear to extend very far down from the underside of the deck.
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Old 29-03-2011, 18:58   #7
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Re: First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

How about taking the spare halyard as suggested to the toe rail to support the mast. Then you’re free to remove, rebed or inspect that side. Just a thought
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Old 29-03-2011, 19:21   #8
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Re: First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

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Originally Posted by knotnow View Post
How about taking the spare halyard as suggested to the toe rail to support the mast. Then you’re free to remove, rebed or inspect that side. Just a thought
You beat me to it.

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Hummingway might see your signature and whack it.
He hates anything even remotely political.
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Old 29-03-2011, 19:50   #9
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Re: First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

If that's the biggest leak you have on an old Pearson 26, you have great karma.

Rebedding chain plates is routine maintence. That's why the cover is easy to unscrew. No need to touch the rigging. The trick is to remove as much of the old caulk as possible. Use awls, small knives, and bits of sand paper. Then wash down with a good solvent. Acetone is my favorite but wear gloves and glasses. My preffered caulk for this application is still Life Caulk.

The rust is probably half rust and half dirt. Boats of this era used much more 304 stainless than 316. Try Spotless Stainless.

Finally, I agree with the others that every piece of the rig on a boat this old from bulkheads to chainplates to turnbuckle screws is suspect and should be checked - or replaced regardless. But I don't think those stains are anything special.

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Old 05-04-2011, 17:14   #10
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Re: First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

Thanks for all the input!

Sorry for the obvious question, but rebedding the chainplate just means removing it completely and recaulking everything, right? Under what criteria do I want to replace them, just if there are signs of fatigue or corrosion? Where do I get chainplates for an old boat like this? (D&R Marine, the company that makes a lot of Pearson parts, doesn't seem to have them)

Thanks!
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Old 05-04-2011, 18:35   #11
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Re: First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

Ya kinda, After removing and a really close inspection on the plates and the mating surface clean, fare and rebed. Minor pitting is OK but anything more than that, hey, they hold that big stick upright. If out of production the parts are better made at a good machine shop.
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Old 05-04-2011, 18:44   #12
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Re: First sign of rust on chainplates... cause for alarm?

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Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
Thanks for all the input!

Sorry for the obvious question, but rebedding the chainplate just means removing it completely and recaulking everything, right? Under what criteria do I want to replace them, just if there are signs of fatigue or corrosion? Where do I get chainplates for an old boat like this? (D&R Marine, the company that makes a lot of Pearson parts, doesn't seem to have them)

Thanks!
for your chainplates, you can buy a cheap drill press (Northern Tool $100) stainless flatbar, usually less than $100, and some bits, also from a cheap supplier, and make the plates yourself.
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