- Jun 5, 2010
I don’t know who at Hunter advised this; but as I wrote to Lance I’ve never seen anything like it. I tend to get very frustrated with anecdotal ‘suggestions’ involving the use of structural metal on fiberglass boats - as Grizzard points out this is horrendously flawed logic even in fresh water. The industry standard (which in turn I take every effort to improve upon) is the little knee bulkheads under the side deck. These correctly transmit the chainplates loads to the hull (all modern fiberglass boats are stressed-skin structures) and not to discrete points such as the keel bolts. Use of Coosa or pre-fabbed fiberglass board simplifies construction and minimises liability for rot and fatigue.Interesting that due to leaky chainplates damaging knees and bulkheads, Hunter switched to the rod and metal strapping system. ... They no longer advise encapsulation.
The biggest drawback is the necessity of holes through the side decks; but, well; welcome to boatbuilding. Everything is a hole that has to be sealed. The biggest part of this big liability involves the ill-advised use of silicone (or butyl) in the chainplate sockets, accounting for why so many of these little bulkheads rot. There are plenty of much better compounds to use here that provide watertight integrity, protect the materials, permit easy maintenance and replacement, and don’t fail.
I strongly suspect that whoever at Hunter advised this ridiculous metal scheme was a self-described metals specialist and only tangentially, if at all, any kind of boat owner or marine repair tech.
I advised Lance to do away with this metal madness and to retrofit the little bulkheads, extending as deeply down the hull as possible, using Coosa installed with vinylester, mat and biax, fitting G-10 bushings in the bolt holes, and using Sikaflex or 4200 to seal the deck - therefore reverting to a modernized version of a tried-and-true industry standard (easily understood by anyone in the field, not like what’s there now). Take all that metal to the scrapyard where it belongs and have a proper fiberglass boat as you should.
I’m sparing you all the tedium of my other H30 peeve, which is the aluminium I-beam in the bilge pretending to be a mast step support. For now just promise me you won’t rebuild your deck using either Starboard or metal plates under the mast step and I’ll keep quiet!