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Old 08-10-2017, 10:01   #1
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Island Packet question

I am quite familiar with the pros and cons of island packets, both the haters and the lovers. But as a potential Island packet 35 owner is it a safe bet to budget for new chain plates for a mid 90s boat ? I fully understand that the chain plates are inaccessible for viewing and once you get in there to inspect them you might as well replace them. The going rate seems to be about $10,000 to replace them all by a professional . If you are an IP owner is this a reasonable assmption or am I over analyzing this issue? If the protective plates were properly sealed over the past 25 years (which is an unknown here)how long could you ideally expect the chain plates the last in marine conditions?. Thanks for any input based on experience!
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Old 08-10-2017, 17:25   #2
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Re: Island Packet question

As an IP 35 owner, I too was concerned about the chain plates when I bought ours.
You are correct about not knowing for sure until they are removed. Even very well maintained IP's have had corrosion issues. I know of two that were kept in "new like" condition that upon removal, failure was imminent.

In my research, I have discovered that with all of the chain plates that have been replaced, around 1/3 to 1/2 of them really needed new ones.
Even the factory rep admitted that over half of the chain plates they replaced,were still good.
The lucky ones, if you call them lucky, had a failure and thus had no choice.
The rest of us just rolling the dice, and replacing them, hoping to stave off total failure.

I know of no "true" fresh water IP that had a failure nor significant signs of corrosion. So it just seems to be a salt water problem.

If you are in FLA (or planning on taking the boat there) your $10k figure is pretty much the going rate.
Outside of FLA, it is $15k and up.

One other thing to consider, just because a seller says the chain plates have been replaced, with out proof, don't believe it.
I know of a ongoing lawsuit over this very issue.
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Old 08-10-2017, 17:43   #3
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Island Packet question

Worst case, factor it into the purchase price of the Boat.
It is one of the very few boat bucks that you will likely get back.
Ask a broker, an IP with newish plates will bring $10K more at sale if professionally done.

Funny thing is from my understanding there are many boats with encapsulated plates, I’m not sure why IP’s get the publicity, maybe because of their rep for being strongly built, and they way the chainplates are done is a black eye?

I just have had my 87 chainplates replaced, to me they looked good, and they had been leaking for years, possibly never resealed, all salt water use. But boat was a marina Queen. Rarely if ever used. I believe how often and how hard one is sailed is also important.

They chainplate thing is way overblown, yes it’s a $10K fix, but it is a fix, and if you go the Titanium route for about a grand more if I remember correctly, it is 3 to 4 times as strong and they will last essentially forever, you never repeat the replacement.
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Old 08-10-2017, 17:58   #4
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Re: Island Packet question

We still have the original chain plates on our 1994 IP32. If our plans were to cross oceans, then yes, we would have them changed right away. However, our cruising grounds are tooling around SW Florida and the keys. This project is on our “to do” list but we don't feel that it is something that needs to be done tomorrow. We do keep a close eye on them and make sure they are bedded and sealed.

My thoughts are that it is no bigger deal than other types of boats with encapsulated chain plates, however off shore it could be a very big deal!
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:37   #5
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Re: Island Packet question

Island Packet had their chainplates redesigned in mid 1999. They changed thickness, material (went to 316L stainells steel as opposed to original 304) and started making weeping holes in the fiberglass to prevent water accumulation near chainplates. They also replaced the chainplate manufacturer at that time. So any IP built after 1999 will most likely have no problems with premature chainplate failure. Historical evidence over last 17 years seem to prove this point.
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:09   #6
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Re: Island Packet question

$10,000 to replace chainplates. Why so much? Do you have to gut the interior or pull the deck off to get them out?
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Old 12-11-2017, 10:34   #7
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Re: Island Packet question

I dont think the IP chainplates are any more of a problem than many other boats. If sealed, then they should last forever. But knowing "if" is a bit of a guess!
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Old 12-11-2017, 14:01   #8
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Re: Island Packet question

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I dont think the IP chainplates are any more of a problem than many other boats. If sealed, then they should last forever. But knowing "if" is a bit of a guess!


They are not.
However a perfect seal just isn’t possible, and once salt water gets in even just once, it starts a battery so to speak and it will corrode. I suspect my 30 yr old plates had so little corrosion as the boat was mostly a Marina Queen and rain most likely kept the salt washed off.
Just a theory, but mine had been leaking for many years obviously, I had some insignificant water damage to show it.

The 316 plates are not and won’t be immune either, they are a little better, but are not immune to corrosion.
Titanium actually is extremely susceptible to corrosion, it corrodes extremely quick and the oxide layer forms a layer of protection. Titanium plates will outlast the hull, even if the seal leaks.
I would hope that new IPs would come with Ti plates, be a lot easier than redesigning the boat, and would never require replacement, and they are surprisingly inexpensive compared to a life limited chainplate. However I do not believe people that buy new boats do so with the idea of still owning it in 15 years, so other than the Cool factor, I don’t think it would help Sales all that much.

So you take an older IP, replace the plates with grade 5 Ti and they will last forever practically, and are three to four times as strong as SS plates. Suddenly the chainplates are no longer an issue, for the life of the Boat. How many boats can claim that?
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Old 12-11-2017, 14:18   #9
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Re: Island Packet question

So just how many documented IP chain plate failures has their been?? Year and Model please.
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Old 12-11-2017, 14:36   #10
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Island Packet question

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So just how many documented IP chain plate failures has their been?? Year and Model please.


Enough, several although it only takes your Boat to matter, right?
Not trying to be smart but I do not think there is any kind of data base being kept by the NTSB or anything. But I have talked to one or two that have had one fail, neither lost the rig, but I am certain that has happened too. When I was at Stuart, this Boat showed up, look closely at the middle stay.
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Old 12-11-2017, 14:50   #11
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Re: Island Packet question

Just curious. In 2004 I purchased a 1994 IP 44 from Boat US Ins Co after it had been dismasted and sunk in Punta Gorda at the owners dock during Hurricane Charley. It had beed driven into a piling at the shrouds by 135 mph winds . The entire chainplate assembly pulled out and the mast fell into a tree. Ip sold me a new type 316R chainplate assembly and my FG guy installed it just like it was when built new after he had repaired the surrounding FG. I have always thought their "belt and suspenders" arrangement weird. However I cant think of a better way when the shrouds are wanted out .
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Old 13-11-2017, 08:00   #12
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Re: Island Packet question

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$10,000 to replace chainplates. Why so much? Do you have to gut the interior or pull the deck off to get them out?
One needs to remove cabinetry to get to the hull where chainplates are attached. But, again, I have not heard of a single incident of IP chainplate failure after year 2000. Besides changing material it is also attributed to a new manufacturer who, supposedly, welds them much better. Most of failed pre 2000 chainplates were broken at the weld.
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Old 13-11-2017, 10:35   #13
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Re: Island Packet question

The only significant difference between 304 and 316 L is the “L” which is a special alloy meant for welding.
The L may stand for low carbon, it is lower carbon steel and therefore less susceptible to weld decay.
Actually 317L may be a better alloy for chainplates.

However several have broken at places other than the welds, although the weld is the most likely place, due to weld decay.
The 316L alloy is less susceptible to corrosion, but not immune. They will fail. Hopefully will have a longer life. The 304 chainplates most often seem to last longer than 15 yrs, 15 yrs is often given as a good conservative life limit for them, and the oldest 316 chainplate is just now 17?
If I had a boat worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and I were going offshore with it, I wouldn’t trust my life and my boat on something that costs $10K to fix.
You wouldn’t with 20 yr old standing rigging would you? What is the difference?
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Old 13-11-2017, 13:06   #14
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Re: Island Packet question

Oh really?? then why does 304 rust in a salt atmosphere and 316 does not--which is why Monitor pilots switched to all 316 . Those old monitors got covered in rust while the 316 ones did not.
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Old 13-11-2017, 13:17   #15
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Re: Island Packet question

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Oh really?? then why does 304 rust in a salt atmosphere and 316 does not--which is why Monitor pilots switched to all 316 . Those old monitors got covered in rust while the 316 ones did not.
-They both rust in salt environment.
-Some more than others in the same alloy.
-316 a little less.
-Many manufacturers of things have tried to improve by going to the best available.
-There are a lot of things going on. Especially if the SS has been work hardened or welded. If the plates are bent, then was the press brake blade isolated from the metal with mylar or etc? The tools deposit iron/steel on the SS which rusts.
-If welded, the best thing is to solution heat treat restructuring the weld area. No one in the marine industry does that, everyone in the aircraft industry does it.
-If the flat bar used is "cold rolled" at all, sometimes it's a final pass only, That will change the SS some. Often it will even make it magnetic as it changes the grain direction etc.
-Chemical polishing and or passivating can help any 300 series alloy have better corrosion resistance if done properly. Under a microscope SS has a surface with fissures, crevices etc. This is where the rust starts to take hold. The chem polish smooths "melts" the surface, making it less susceptible.
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