Full chainplates solution refit.
Tayana 37 is a fiberglass classic yacht with wood-imitating perforations along the hull. Is seems to be one of the most popular classic cruisers out there, in it’s class. Very characteristic and good looking hull shape, nice short bowsprit and a lot of beautifully finished wooden features on the deck and inside the cabin. Hanz Christians are great and seaworthy boats, very warm and with pleasant interior to live in. The biggest advantage of this classic wooden-look cruiser is the hull made of fiberglass. A very practical and lower maintanace solution for the classic boat lovers that do not want to spend too much time or money in hull repairs.
These boats, despite being a great craft and high quality product, have a very critical flaw that may come up after 30 years of the boats life. Chainplates holding all 6 shrouds and the backstay go through the deck and are bolted to plywood bricks inside. The ply is encapsulated in fiberglass, inside the boat, fiberglased to the topsides on the inside.
The idea is good and works great for long, with the time however, the water eventually starts to leak into the encapsulated plywood blocks through the deck and does not dry out, slowly and gradually causing rot of the plywood and delamination of surrounding fiberglass capsules or even parts of interior of the topside. To prevent this make sure the chainplates are well sealed on the deck and every few years consider resealing them with fresh sikaflex if necessary.
There are many ideas online how to solve this particuar problem for this particular yachy, and you should be able to do some research on internet forums. In this case, thinking together with the owner, we decided to remake all 6 shrouds and the backstay. Working on one chainplate at the time to keep the massive mast safe in the gusty marina he was stuck, I cleared out all the rotten material, fitted in new bricks of very hard local wood, glued them in with epoxy mixed with special additive making a strong gluing and water resistant paste. Afterwards encapsulated the wood with epoxy reisin based fiberglass, leaving the capsule open on the bottom to allow inspections and drying out in case the leaks occured again. The whole thing could have been done as the original, we decided however to reinforce it properly this time and bolted everything through the topsides, for extra confidence. Why not make it even stronger just in case if we can? Stripes of polished stainless steel plates with holes in and nice nuts made it all look suprisingly good and still light, not affecting the estetics, just right. Refitted the chainplates, resealed the deck seals… great job. The owner was wery happy with the high quality and detailed job. He could leave the harbour again and move to another island with full confidence and trust in his rig. This should be fine for more than another 30 years, providing it’s maintained as it should always have been.
After meeting the captain and his boat about 2 years later, I was happy to see that he is still very satisfied and no even slight problems occured during this period. Chainplates are firm and there are no traces of any issues. The rig is tense and strong as I have left it.