New chainplates inserted
Non-stick plugs had been inserted into the chain plate slots when the decks were constructed. They were removed to reveal perfect entry points for the brand new 316L stainless steel chain plates duplicated from the originals by General Sheetmetal in Victoria. I had flirted briefly with the idea of having the original chain plates tested for integrity because they looked shiny and in reasonably good condition. The cost of testing was higher than new 316L, so off to the scrap market they went instead. Karl at Hidden Harbour worked his magic on the new chain plates and after a day’s work polished the mill-scale to a glossy new shine. I loaded them into a huge strong dive-bag and staggered off to Saltspring Island with what seemed like close to 50kgs of shiny new steel and bolts.
Oh crap! Murphy paid us another visit! 28 holes had been drilled just 1/32” too small! There we were on a Saturday, no engineering outfits open, and us resolved to get those chain plates fitted this very day. The small electric drill was rigged, but the ½” bit just kept jamming in the slightly undersized hole. In desperation I fitted a bit the same size as the existing holes and wiggled and jiggled the drill to sort of ream the holes out. Finally, the ½” bit was reinserted to finalize the cut. Six hours and 28 holes later the chain plates were finally ready for fitting. While I had been reaming the holes, Don had built 6 beautiful new fiberglass deck plates to screw down over the chain plates to seal the edges. They fitted perfectly and were far more rugged and sturdier than the flimsy stainless ones originally fitted.
Murphy came over, waved at us again, and came to visit yet again! Once the bolts were coated with Sikaflex and inserted from the outside of the hull, the number of turns of thread emerging through the chain plates should have been just enough to usefully capture the capped and domed nuts. Not so, dear readers! Because two of the chain plate teak backing blocks had been injected with epoxy to fill some soft spots that we drilled out, they were 1/8” more proud than the originals. Ah well then, some more new bolts it would have to be! And so it goes ….. never a dull and uneventful day ……
Finally after a month in Ganges on Saltspring, Eric Keating was kind enough to act as “First Mate” to bring Arabella back down to Victoria. Not much wind, mostly none at all.