Wednesday 23 April 2014

Beefing-Up Mekicevica's Chain-Plates

Step-by-step I am making Mekicevica a stronger boat. After having encased the keel in a rust-proof coating and changed the mast and boom, it was the turn of the chain-plates. I tend to keep the rigging rather tight, which allows us to sail efficiently in windy conditions. Last season hair-cracks started to form around the chain-plates, especially the port-side where there was some damage when we bought her.
Hair-cracks around the chain-plates. Superficial or danger of catastrophic rig failure?
The first step was to sand the gel-coat down to the polyester. This turned-out to be in good condition, albeit a bit thinner than I would like.
Sanded down to sound polyester.
The polyester was beefed-up with countless layers of epoxy strengthened with three layers of the sturdiest, woven fibreglass I could find. And the same again from the inside for good measure. Since the polyester looked in good nick on starboard I strengthened from the  inside only.
Beefed-up with several layers of epoxy strengthened with a total of six layers of woven fibreglass.
Than the whole thing was covered with epoxy fairing mix...
Covered in fairing mix. It looks a bit messy at this stage. 
...and sanded until it looked just rough enough to hint it was not professional work.
Faired and just rough enough to show it was an amateur's job.
This was followed by two layers of primer and two layers of topsides paint.
Primed and painted.
New, stronger chain plates were installed (8 mm rather than 6 mm) with generous amounts of polysulfide sealant.
The new, beefier chain-plates.
Inside, the plates for the mast-top shrouds were backed-up by braces made of epoxied wood. These also transfer part of the load to the hull.
Braces and belt: epoxied wood braces transfer the load to the hull.
Now, bring-on those gales!