Video of Mast Coming Down--Chainplate Failure

Mike Brockman

Ericson 41
I had just dropped off my 51 year old chainplates off at the metal fabricating shop earlier this week for a estimate. This video made me feel better.

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Perhaps worth mentioning again -- read the excellent book by Brion Toss. The Riggers Apprentice. It really is excellent!

He discusses the full 'circle' of the rigging stress, from the masthead to spreaders, down to the chainplate, thru the deck/hull, and to the base of the spar, and thus completing the loop to the top again. Every part is equally important. I gained a much better understanding of pieces not normally considered when I was a new owner. One way to view it is to remember that the XXX pound stress you measure on a shroud, will be the same on all of the other parts of the 'loop'.

While it's a grim fact that many owners ignore even obvious stuff like age or visible deterioration of the shrouds, a lot higher % ignore the less visible parts like the chainplates or other mechanical passage thru the deck, the inside structure (load carrying bulkhead) and the base of the spar or other structure that supports the cabin top for a deck-stepped spar.

The 'main engine' of our sailboats likely has fewer and more visible pieces than the totality of little parts inside our inboard diesel engines, but they are equally important. In my humble opinion, of course . :)

I hope to see Mike's classic Ericson when it's done, too!

paul culver

Member III
Most of my chain plate is buried in the hull fiberglass. Out of sight, but sadly not out of mind. Videos of dismasting feed my nightmares.


Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
That video forcibly reminded me that the switch-to-external chainplate project went "on hold" a couple of years ago and hasn't re-started.
I think the problem was that I acquired the pieces specified by Schaefer for my rigging size, but they are quite a lot thinner than the originals - and thinner than specified by Toss. The whole thing came to a halt in a cloud of uncertainty...


Member III
Gastone, an experienced and respected rigger here in Hampton, VA. installed my new external chainplates. I said they're thinner than the originals, he said these chainplates will outlast the rest of the rig. It has been a few years with a lot of miles on them and no issueschain plate.jpg. chain plate.jpg