A common problem with many chain plate designs is that the chain plate will leak over time and cause structural damage. Many of these designs have the chain plates penetrating through foam or balsa cored decks. Eventually, the outer layer of glass starts to leak, allowing water into the core material which starts a rotting process that is not noticeable until the rot is extensive enough to allow water past the inner layer and into the boat.
Many boats use a simple bolted on chain plate for forestays or backstays. This design also works very well for shrouds and we feel this is the best choice for reliable, easy to maintain chain plates without leaks.
This design will move the shrouds all the way to the outside of the boat, which has the following advantages:
- Wider decks to walk on,
- Less stress on the rigging, therefore reduced mast section size and thus lighter weight in the rigging. This results in less required keel weight, reducing the weight of the boat by almost 300 kg (660 lbs),
- Lower Cost to build,
- No obstructions in the interior,
- Easier to inspect,
- Easier to maintain,
- Easier and lower cost to replace if ever required,
- Remains water tight for much longer.
Every great plan has disadvantages as well, but in this case, we can overcome them.
- No overlapping jibs upwind,
- There is a potential that a stay gets snagged behind something when mooring does not go as planned.
These were two concerns that we had in mind when designing “Bagheera”. She has been in use for 8 years and has never snagged anything with the mainstays. The only real disadvantage is that overlapping jibs become much less effective when sailing upwind. On the other hand, when sailing shorthanded one generally prefers to have smaller jibs that are easier to handle. Additionally, as soon as the apparent wind comes in at 50 degrees, a code0 can be set and that will make up for the lack of a large jib. With the rig size we have chosen for the Offshore 42, upwind performance is not going to be an issue.
The chain plate design for the Offshore 42