Backing plate for stemhead

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Matthieu G

Hi there.

I notice few days ago that my stemhead was slightly lifted from the deck.

I looked underneath and to my surprise there is no backing plate underneath. Just two bolts and nuts that seem to sink slowly but surely into the fiber... Ugh.

My plan is to have a backing plate made and install this underneath. Or some kind of big custom made washers... (wide and thick) that could be easier to install back there..

Have any of you done a repair like this before?
Any suggestions ?
Matthieu Girard
1990 Mk1.5  #1102
Sailing in the Chaleur Bay, Eastern Canada

Ed Shankle

Just pulled my stem head off to have some welding done on the cracks that have been highlighted by others. I found a backing plate for the aft bolt but not for the fore bolt. No room! All it had was a trimmed fender washer, the trimmed end facing forward so that it would fit. There was wood "backing" that was actually part of the fore peak support. The strap part of the stem head had a backing plate.
Ed Shankle
Tail Wind #866 1989 m25xp
Salem, MA

Matthieu G

Hi Ed,

Thanks for your feedback !
Ah, that's what I thought, that there shouldn't be much room in the forepeak of the boat.
It was while inspecting for the crack in the weld that I noticed this.
I'm surprised that it doesn't seem to be a more documented issue. I wonder why this is happening on my boat, too much tension in the forestay?? It seems to me that I am nevertheless in the standards.

I will try to correct this over the next few weeks. I'll probably use your trimmed fender washer technique for the front bolt.

Thank you again for your help !
Matthieu Girard
1990 Mk1.5  #1102
Sailing in the Chaleur Bay, Eastern Canada

Ron Hill

Matt : Hera's what I would do. I'd drill a new hole (from the top outside) thru the aft portion of that entire stem fitting and then make a backing plate for that new hole/bolt and the 2nd hole bolt shown underneath.  You just have to forget that bolt closest to the bow, because your assembly is lifting on its aft end anyway. That should pull down and secure that entire fitting.

A few thoughts

Ron, Apache #788


You might consider making a cardboard pattern/template and then cut a custom triangle shaped backing plate out of G10 material.
1990 hull #1014, San Diego, CA,  Fin Keel,
Standard Rig