Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Chainplates are stubs (steel on most boats) anchored in the sides of a boat.  They are used to attach the stays that hold the mast upright.  Folks on many different boats have started to worry about their chainplates after a certain age - kind of like you wonder about your water heater or furnace at home.  “When is it going to break down?  Should I replace it?  Or, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”

We have wondered about the deep pockets of folks who have rushed out to replace the chainplates on their boats - even though they weren’t broken.  And we have wondered about what would finally galvanize us into undertaking this onerous and costly chore.

So, good news!  We just found out!  Two of our chainplates broke on a particularly nasty transit between Les Saintes and Portsmouth, Dominica. 

We were in 15 to 20 knot breezes with big reefs in main and jib.  The seas were 4 to 6 feet but spaced impossibly close so we were slamming into wave after wave.  We watched Quest beside us as she buried her nose in the water and then leaped up exposing all of her bottom paint.

So all of a sudden we heard a loud bang, and then another less than a second later.  Pam asked me if the kids had copies of the will.  We quickly dropped the main and used the main halyard to stabilize the mast.  Without the sail up, the remaining 14 miles was bumpy until we arrived in Portsmouth Harbour.

Hmmmmm, something missing?

And here...?

How'd you like to get whacked by that flailing in the wind?

So here we are in lovely Dominica.  We will enjoy a great vacation while we figure out how to proceed.  We can jury-rig something to hold the mast upright.  But do we carry on south for a bit or do we skedaddle back to Antigua?  Pam had made some arrangements to fly home from St. Lucia for a visit.  Maybe she flies home from Antigua?

Great to have that cleat just there!

Not sure how much stress that steel loop will like?
Anyway, lots to think about.  Time for another beer.



  1. Glad you still have your sense of humour. You could be understandably out of sorts with those shards flailing in the wind. When is Pam planning to be home?

  2. Hi George,
    Pam's coming home February 25. Not sure if she'll come back down. We'll play it by ear. It might depend on how much she gets hooked into her garden!

  3. Loosing your chain plates.....scarrrrry!


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