The ticking time bomb
It is baffling how sailboat owners are prepared to spend thousands on electronics upgrades, but often overlook the most important single item on a sailboat: The integrity of the standing rigging.
As the average age of the worldwide sailing fleet increases, dismastings due to chainplate failures also increase. In fact, the single biggest cause of sailboat dismasting is the failure of chainplates. Most boats on the water today were built during the golden era of sailboat production (mid-60’s to mid-80’s) and it is surprisingly common to see boats from this era that are still sailing with the original factory fitted chainplates, that have never been inspected nor replaced. Professional surveyors recommend that (stainless steel) chainplates be pulled and inspected every 5 to 7 years. Rotting chainplates are literally a ticking time bomb!
The majority of the boats built during this golden era, were fitted with 304 grade stainless steel chainplates and some with the more expensive 316 grade. To make things worse, manufacturers often sealed the chainplates by glassing them into the hull structure. When stainless steel is deprived of oxygen, it corrodes due to a process called “crevice corrosion” or “pitting corrosion”. This process continues to the point where it fails without warning, often bringing the whole rig down. Even external chainplates are not immune to this type of corrosion. The stainless steel is deprived of oxygen where the chainplate attaches to the hull and and will happily corrode on the inside surface for years, with the same catastrophic result.
Here's a link to an interesting article: "The worst possible material for chainplates".
Why replace your chainplates with Titanium?
Titanium is not only significantly stronger than commonly used stainless steel grades, but does not suffer from crevice (or other) corrosion like other materials. It is a permanent solution for permanent peace of mind. In the long run it will save you money, by eliminating the need for future chainplate inspections and replacement. The Titanium parts will, quite simply, outlast the rest of the vessel!
Ok, I’m convinced! How do I go about getting my Titanium chainplates?
We offer custom fabrication of your vessel’s new Titanium chainplates and we are usually able to offer a price close to what other fabricators charge for the same product in 316L stainless. This makes it a bit of a no-brainer! We only use ATSM certified Grade 5 Titanium alloy (Ti 6Al-4V) for longevity, strength and resistance to corrosion. All machining is done on the most modern CNC waterjet cutting machines in an ISO certified facility. The final product is then electro-polished to a high gleam.
The process starts by you taking pictures of your chainplates and measuring them (reasonably) accurately. The pictures and measurements are then sent to us to enable us to work out a quote. We do not manufacture the new product based on your measurements. This is simply for quotation purposes. If you are satisfied with the quote, your old chainplates are sent to us to enable us to make exact copies to facilitate fitment in future. We have seen chainplates on similar production boats differ significantly from boat to boat, so we would rather make exact copies of your old parts to avoid misalignment of holes etc.
Your old parts are scanned into a super accurate 3D scanner and these files are then converted to CAD files, from which the CNC machine will fabricate the new parts. The end result is perfectly fitting new Titanium parts that you will be proud to fit to your pride and joy! We always aim for a 10 working day turnaround time from receipt of your old parts. During this process you will be updated and informed continually as the process continues. The old parts will be shipped back to you with the new ones.
Customer satisfaction is the beginning and end of our business as we rely heavily on word of mouth marketing by satisfied customers. You are 100% satisfied, or your money back!
We can also custom fabricate virtually any titanium part for your boat. Contact us for more information.