bits and bowsprit

I’m curious about what appears to be an insert (?) in the notch of the bits that holds the fid on BCC Pixie. I took this photo while Pixie was in the Boat Haven marina at Port Townsend, WA, during the Woodenboat Festival. Does anyone know what the material is, and is it used on other BCCs? Bill and Kathy, were the inserts there when you bought Pixie, or have they been added since?

I wonder if they are bedded so as to seal the end grain of the notch? That seems like an excellent idea and I’m wondering what material was used. Shaula’s bowsprit is out and I’ve now refinished the bits. A sealant like 3M 4000 between the insert and the bits would protect the end grain, especially at the lower aft corner of the notch.

Shaula’s bowsprit has been sealed with West epoxy, primed with Interprotect epoxy primer and painted with marine enamel for almost all of its 35 yrs. I’ve removed the sprit several times over the years, most recently in 2008. It’s always been a tight fit getting it out and back in through the gammon iron. Sometimes I’ve had to do a bit of sanding. Due to what’s mounted on the sprit forward of the gammon iron, I’ve always pulled it forward. Usually a bit of paint gets scraped off on the way back in and needs retouching. This time the douglas fir had absorbed enough moisture that I needed to remove most of the paint, epoxy primer and West epoxy sealer! Heavy duty paint stripper did the job. I’m now in the process of planing down the sprit aft of the gammon iron and then it’s on to the brush work.