TECHNICAL CHECK YOUR DECK FITTINGS

Yachting Monthly|July 2020

TECHNICAL CHECK YOUR DECK FITTINGS
What’s really going on under your deck fittings? Ben Sutcliffe-Davies investigates the hidden weaknesses
Ben Sutcliffe-Davies

Look on any sailing forum and often there are owners posting issues they have discovered with their cherished yacht. The majority of the issues are quite common and get spotted at a pre-purchase survey. When it comes to a yacht’s decks and deck fittings, though, any assessment of the deck core is almost always an inspection from the working deck side. This is because the underside of most working decks cannot be seen thanks to fitted cabin linings or nice cabinets. That’s before we even start to consider fully fitted lockers and side deck voids behind the bunks.

The majority of boat builders for the last 40 years, the likes of Westerly, Moody and Sadler, normally fitted ply blocks in the areas where deck fittings are required and continued with normal balsa core in the non-load carrying areas of decks. This has worked, to a point, but as fittings age and get overloaded, these deck fastenings can start to allow moisture into the sub-deck structures.

With some types of craft, moisture ingress through deck fittings is more of an inconvenience, but for a yacht that has a balsa core to provide the required reinforcement to support you and me lumping around on deck, (trust me on this one – there are a lot out there) it’s much more serious.

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July 2020