Chain-plates are usually made of stainless steel and are solid and heavy as they must absorb all the stresses on the mast while the boat is sailing, especially when sailing in high winds and stormy weather. The photo shows one of Bit-by-Bit‘s Chain-Plates.
Chain Plate turnbuckle
They are bolted to the hull in a reinforced area and on top of each one is a turnbuckle to which the shroud itself is attached. The turnbuckle, also stainless steel, is so called because it consists of two threaded bolts screwed into the top and bottom of a buckle. One of these bolts is secured to the shroud, the other to the chain-plate, and one of the bolts has a left-handed thread which causes the two bolt heads to move towards, or away, from each other when the buckle is turned. When the mast is being stepped, i.e. when the mast is being raised into place, the shrouds are loose so that they can be attached to the chain-plate easily. With the mast held in position, the forestay is attached first and then the shrouds’ turnbuckles are tightened until the mast stands up precisely in the desired position. This position, by the way, is seldom vertical: in Bit-by-Bit’s case, the mast slopes about 4˚ aft. In this photograph, taken from Bit-by-Bit’s cockpit during an Atlantic crossing, shows the port shroud coming down to its chain-plate, the top of which is just visible below the turnbuckle. All of these components appear aft of the daggerboard, just above the deck

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