Whisker Tangs

From the old forum

The starboard whisker tang has been torn away from On Rappel, leaving the four throughbolts sheared off just below the hull’s surface. I am having a new whisker tang manufactured as I cannot find a replacement. I am unsure of how to re-fasten the new whisker tang to the hull, though, and am hoping that someone knows how they were put on the boat in the first place. I suspect the through bolts go through the hull and then into or through a backplate behind the hull, but I have no clue what they screw into, be it loose locknuts, nuts welded to the backplate, or threads in the holes of the backplate. In order to find out for myself, I will have to remove the v-berth’s teak paneling and then possibly cut a window hole in the v-berth’s interior liner, but even if I do that I may find that the backplate has been fiberglassed over. All this would be a lot of work for nothing if it turns out that the bolts are screwed directly into the backplate. Thanks in advance. (Whisker tangs are what fasten the whisker stays that connect the bowsprit to the hull laterally).

Greetings. I have refit most of Loreley – access to the tangs is somewhat complex – but once you are there-oh well might as well do some other issues as well.
There is access to same alone the bulkhead once you remove the headliner and uppermost teak strips- this is also how one has access to stantions. The original ones did not have backing plate – simply bronze screws – ouch. Access is difficult and job somewhat messy – but worth it for a solid repair. I would be concerned as to why a tang gave way- Movement of sprit ? or excessive loading with rig ? What were the circumstances ?
Hello Capt Hook,

Thanks for your reply; my apologies for a tardy return. I have a follow-up Q or 2.

On my boat, the whisker tangs are above the level of the deck and just under the caprail. There is a space between the uppermost part of the hull’s topside and the vertical extension of the deck (I am unsure of
terminology here). It is inside of that space that a WT backplate would be located, if it exists at all, and not behind what I call the “headliner.” To me, the “headliner” is the vinyl and foam padding
attached to the ceiling throughout the interior of the boat; perhaps you mean instead what I call the v-berth’s fiberglass liner (again, I am unsure of terminology)? If so, I think you are suggesting that I remove the teak paneling and then the fiberglass liner can then also be removed? If so, how do I remove it? Are there screws holding it in place? Or do I use the brute force method (power saw)?

Of more pertinence, though, are your suggestions that there may not be backplates for the whisker tangs, and that the whisker tangs were simply screwed into the fiberglass hull. If true, then possibly all I have to
do is tap into the sheared off screws that are still in the hull, unscrew them back out and replace them with new screws. I will be overjoyed if that turns out to be the case, and I would owe you a bottle
of your Favorite for the savings in time and effort you would gift me! It would mean I would not have to remove the teak paneling and fiberglass liner, or drill any holes in the deck.

As to why the original WT gave way: It was lost in a storm as a result of the bowsprit being banged into splinters against another boat. Don’t worry, it won’t happen again!


Having done this one myself, I can address a few of your questions as well.

The terminology you and CaptHook are using is one and the same. The headliner is the vinyl above your head, the fiberglass liner is the ‘shell’ inside the hull, the teak strips are the…well, the teak strips!

The whisker tangs DO have backing plates, CaptHook was referring to the stanchions in regards to no backing plates (as a possible additional thing to do when you get access sorted).

To access the backing plates you need to remove the top couple of teak strips. The vinyl headliner attaches to the uppermost one, which is why the headliner has to be removed. The fiberglass liner actually sits pretty flush against the hull and ends right above the topmost teak strip. In this case it’s of little concern it’s sandwiched between the backing plate and hull.

The BASIC step by step goes like this:

Remove headliner from topmost teak strip.
Remove plugs from top 3 teak strips
Remove top 3 teak strips

Now you have access to the backing plate for the whisker tang (by reaching in the little space between the hull and deck). Repair as necessary!

The headliner causes the biggest headaches of the whole project. Other than that, it’s easy-ish!


s/v Defyn Gravity

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