Bobstay fitting replacement

I’m considering purchasing a BCC and got a first viewing today. Among the issues related to the condition of the 1980 vessel is a blown out bobstay fitting at the hull. Judging from the corrosion, the lower half of the fitting was immersed in water while the top half was not-- see attached images.

If I go ahead with a purchase I will need to replace the fitting. Any ideas where one can be found? Upon installation I would need to raise it a couple of inches to get it out of the water. Would this greatly impact the stability of the bowsprit.

I cannot say for sure whether the immersion was caused by cruising loads or poor positioning. I am purchasing the vessel to eventually cruise long term, so I am looking to solve the problem.

Additionally, I’d like to locate and purchase if necessary layout plans for a BCC. She’s a Canadian-built BCC, owner finished. As such, is customization extended to the boats vitals, or are there design elements such as tankage and engine placement that is standard on all BCCs across the board?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Warren Fraser



Looking at the images, I would suspect that this damage is electrolysis.

Determining if this is the case should be easy, take a long hard look at other metal parts below the water line on the vessel, for example the prop and shaft. If these are also in bad shape or have recently been replaced, then it surely is electrolysis.

Determining the source is not so easy, however, that amount of damage is unlikely to have been caused by the vessel itself. It’s more likely that she has been living in a marina with a a power boat with a bad electical hookup to shore power. However, if the vessel came with it’s own shore power cord, have a close look at that.

Replacing the fitting should not be a problem, Sam L. Morse should have one. However, moving it from it’s original position will reduce the strength, as the angle was carefully calculated to provide the greatest stay.


Thanks for your reply.

Electrolysis, eh? The marina is full of large power boats. Typically, how long does it take electrolysis to have this kind of impact on the fittings?

Oh, another topic in a very long list of topics I need to read up on…

I’ve attached two more images that may support your theory. Also, the grounding plate (I think that’s what it’s called) is very similar in appearance to the fittings in these photos.



I would say that is almost definately electrolisis. All metal parts below the waterline will require VERY CAREFUL inspection, and any part with signs of corrosion should be replaced. Don’t forget to look at the foot of the mast, if there is a grey powder or bubbling there, you should unstep the mast and clean off any corrosion.

Normally electrolysis will attack the softest metals first, that’s why there is a zinc on the propshaft. However, a zinc only has a short lifespan, normally one season.

Your boat will have several zincs, one on the prop shaft, one on the rudder support, probably one one the side of the vessel, and a couple in the engine.
All these will require replacement, but if the material they attach to has also been corroded, then those components will also neeed replacement, or the zincs will be useless.


Thanks again for the information. I’ll revisit the boat this weekend and spend a lot of time inspecting the fittings. Fortunately the mast is wooden.

On another topic, do you know if custom BCCs follow the same plans with regard to engine, fuel and water tank, and etc. placement? I have no point of reference when looking at the mechanical aspects of the boat. Having some idea of what is where would work wonders.


Hi Warren, I don’t know if you purchased that Canadian BCC , you were looking at, but from what I have seen, the Canadian BCC’s are built quite different, from the Sam L Morse boats.

First, I agree with John Cole, as that Bobstay - stemhead fitting illustrated in your photos, does indeed look like electrolysis damage.

The Sam Morse BCC’s have a different arrangement for that fitting. They used stainless steel plate, welding 3 pieces together, and poking it through the stem, then glassing it over from the inside of the boat, and technically in my opinion not a surveyor recommended practice, because the imbeded portion can not be visually inspected, and you aren’t supposed to encase or pot, a ss structural fitting.

I believe, if you are going to use a ss lower bobstay fitting, it should be bolted to the outside as are the midship, and boomkin chainplates, and some boatbuilders do this.

On my Morse built BCC, I did replace the factory installed lower ss bobstay chainplate with a cast bronze one. It was cast by Pete Langly, of Port Townsend Foundry, who had the casting pattern, and it is designed and mounted differently than the Morse ss fitting. I think Pete cast the fitting out of Manganese Bronze, which is a zink type bronze, so I have to add a sacraficial zink where it is underwater. An after thought, I could have specified it be cast with Aluminum Nickle Bronze, then I wouldn’t have to protect it with a zink.

I like the fact that the tail of the bronze lower bobstay fitting that I installed is underwater, because in my mind, it acts like a ground strap for lightning protection to the top of my mast through the head stay.

I am not quite sure what mechanical loading changes if you move the new replaced chainplate higher on the stem, to keep it out of the water, in the future. If I was faced with this question , I would ask the Brion Toss rigging forum,for help.

Douglas , BCC Calliste


You wrote:

“Hi Warren, I don’t know if you purchased that Canadian BCC , you were looking at, but from what I have seen, the Canadian BCC’s are built quite different, from the Sam L Morse boats.”

Would you please explain this difference?

How many Canadian BCC’s did you see to draw this conclusion?




Based on the photo’s you posted, I concur with John Cole, the cause of the corrosion is electrolysis, i.e. galvanic corrosion.

Our boat, by choice, is not fitted with shorepower and we have never had a galvanic corrosion problem. Our bobstay tang is partially submerged in the water most of the time.

The cause of the problem is not from how the boat was built or designed but by simple neglect on the part of the current owner and/or previous owners

In my opinion, if one is to connect a boat to shorepower, the AC circuit leading into the boat should have a galvanic isolator or isolation transformer installed between the AC inlet and the main AC breaker. These devices stop DC current from flowing in the green ground wire, which is common to the AC circuit connecting all boats at a marine that are plugged into shore power.



P.S. Most “bronze” fittings are manufactured from either semi-leaded red brass, leaded red brass, naval brass (gunmetal), or leaded manganese bronze. Alloy numbers and compositions may be found at These alloys have been used in marine service for ages. Next time you purchase a “bronze” fitting, telephone the manufacturer and ask for the alloy number…

Just an idealistic aside here: Lyle’s design waterline keeps that SS fitting at least an inch out of the water most of the time! We all have so much more stuff on board now; ours bobstay fitting is starting to dip too. Gotta make some choices about what stays and what goes ;).

I can see Rod’s point on shore power. I only connect to bring the batteries up, or when I must use an AC tool and stay disconnected as much as possible. I think this has extended the life of our zincs and our underwater fittings.

Hi to Rod , T Y , for your query about my familarity with the Canadian built BCC’s.

During my search for my used BCC, I found that the BCC Newsletter Editor and Roger, were both not impressed with the BCC’s built in Canada.

I did phone and talk to the Canadian BCC builder, and didn’t come away with a good feeling, because we had a difference of opinion on some topics.

I went and looked at a used Canadian built BCC that was for sale, in Long Beach , happened that it was a rainy day, and there was a lot of that rain inside, because of topside leaks.

I looked at the construction methods on that boat and found, in my opinion, descrepencies, maybe not all the Canadian built boats are the same, but I didn’t check further.

Later, I saw another Canadian built BCC in New Zealand, and found some of the same discrepencies.

I don’t think that the two different built boats would sail any differently, if like rigged , because they have the same hull mold, or so I was told.

Don’t get me wrong about my insistance for quality, as I believe like Brion Toss, that it is important to “build in , a reserve of neglect”,( his words) , but even the Morse built boats, give me pause, sometimes , as I have found descrepencies in them too !

After all is said and done, I believe like Aloha Kate, that we do have the best all around boats, and I am a very pleased owner of one. I love my boat, like we all do !


Warren and Colleagues,

I have a Canadian built BCC and have noted a few differences, most I like, one I don’t. On the like side:

  1. The rig on my Canadian built boat is a little larger at 37 feet 11 inches instead of 35’10" as in the Morse boats. This is done by a longer bowsprit and boomkin, I think. This theoretically would be more speed in light air.
  2. The wooden bulwark is a little higher, I have read. Mine is 7" high and the top is then 7 1/4" off the deck. It is made of three separate strakes clinched together. This keeps more gear aboard and more salt water in the sea.
  3. There are wooden planks along the whalestrake for nearly the entire length of the hull, which really gives her a shippy appearance. (Of course that means more varnishing.)
  4. The decks are sandwhiched with FG-end grained balsa core-FG, which argueably beats plywood.
  5. The fittings are nearly all of bronze-gorgeous!
  6. The cost is considerably less to purchase one-yeah! (I have no idea why, but I’ll take the savings to the bank.)

What I don’t like: The layup job on the fiberglass visible in the bilges of the Canadian boats is not as smooth as I would like. From what I have seen with the Morse built boats, the workmanship on the FG is impeccable. My hull was 5/8" thick where I replaced two through hull fittings. Anyone know how think the Morse hulls are?

Of course, I have not seen them all. Looked thoroughly at about 10 during my boat shopping period.

Both companies have allowed some owner finished boats, and so the interiors can vary widely. I like the interior of my Canadian BCC better than any I have yet seen by either company. (One of the reasons I bought her.) You can get an idea of the nice layout by looking at the Mintaka II (her old name) pictures in the picture gallery. I don’t know whether my interior was done at Channel Cutter Yachts or by the first owner. That said, I have seen trashed interiors in hulls built by both companies. I understand from reading on this website that Morse restricted owner finished jobs for some years to prevent inferior quality jobs. But the really good jobs ARE really good, and better than a production boat could afford to be. For example, Terrier up in Washington (Port Hadlock or Ludlow I think) has a user finished deck made the traditional way with teak, tie rods to hold the teak tight, skylights: just amazingly beautiful work (Morse hull, user finished). You will pay for the better interior, however.

Tankage is not standard because several of the early owners wanted engineless boats but added tanks later, or wanted bare hulls and then self finished them. Even rigs are not standard, as I have seen a gaff rigged BCC.

Bottom line is I would not hesitate to buy either Morse or Canadian built boats, but in any old boat one needs to look at the age and condition of the systems. The fiberglass will last “100” years, but virtually every other system will wear out just like in any other kind of boat. These systems are VERY expensive in cash and time to replace…take it from me. Once you are done replacing them all, you have reset the age of the boat, but not forever: just another 5 to 20 years depending on the system.

You get more boat for your money with the Canadian built boats. Of course, you would have a higher resale value with the Morse boats, year for year, so you could get much of the cost differential back some day, if you can part with her.

Best of luck!

BCC Destarte’

Thanks to everyone for their contributions to this thread.

As I am located in Japan, I am faced with astronomical mooring fees or hours-long and expensive commutes to cheaper marinas well outside of Tokyo. I’m sold on the BCC, but waiver at the idea of paying upwards of US$13,000 per year for dockside tie-up fees after handing over a similar amount for membership and deposit. Criminy.
So my marina search continues. Once found, she’ll be mine.

As for the vessel, the seller has agreed to change all thru-hulls and zincs, so the initial problem has been solved.

My sea trial was astounding, southerlies at 22 knots, three meter swells rolling in from the open ocean at the mouth of Tokyo Bay. The vendor, a man with years of tall ship and racing experience, was amazed at the ride. We had the rail under at times and weather helm was apparent with a full main and jib, but the BCC handled it all with aplomb.

So to all who replied, again, thanks.


We have a bronze bobstay on Cyrano too.
Because of my concerns with corrosion I have moved the anchor aft and removed the chain. That brought the fitting out of the water by an inch or to. We are currently docked in Marina Del Rey and it is HOT with stry current.
Because we built Cyrano with additional layers of Kevlar she is heavier than the usual BCC and getting the bobstay out was an effort. We were able to shift the CE aft by adding 150lbs in the aft lazerette

SS is suspect, Attached photo is of my ss lower bobstay chainplate, when I removed it in OZ, 2000.

Salt water had seeped in and surounded the lower part of the fiberglassed in welded ss chainplate.

This evidence of corrosion damage was after 14 years of tropical water sailing, in Honolulu and So Pac.

The photo of the port side of the ss chainplate shows a vertical crack on the weld starting at the top and trailing down to about the middle of the fitting, where the opposite stb side is shown, v deep rust pitting is seen .

I don’t think that the ss lower chainplate fitting was going to let go anytime soon, but there is some % (?) loss of integrety and strengh, after this 14 year period.

My pre-purchase survey recommended replacing all ss structural rigging fittings as a rule, after 10 years, since the boat was located in Hawaii/tropical waters.

On my midship chainplates I found spider web like cracks eminating from around the upper pin holes where the toggles go to the turnbuckles, so changed these chainplates to PT Foundry bronze ones too.

The second photo shows a PT Foundry bronze lower bobstay chainplate that has been installed on a BCC.


Bobstay Photo.jpg

Jerry on Destarte’ has mentioned that Canadian BCCs have Balsa-cored decks. A mechanic who has for six years been working on the one i have my eye on says the deck is plywood-cored. The BCC is circa 1981-82. Is plywood likely? Or were all Canadian BCCs balsa-cored?


The Canadian built boats used balsa coring but a few were cored with a foamed derivative made from banana peels. This latter coring material contains ethly butyrate. To determine if the boat has balsa cored decks or the latter coring material, olfaction chromatography must be employed. If the deck smells similar to strawberry, pineapple or banana, the deck was cored with the foamed derivative of banana peels. Athough BCC’s constructed with the latter coring material command very high market prices, very few of these boats are available on the market now. Most were purchased by Haagen Dazs.


Canadian BCC IDUNA


So there are now three possible cores in the Canadian BCC deck. Geez… This is SO confusing.

By the way, I’ve heard of an airborn psychotropic by-product derived from banana peel that has a deleterious, but some say gladdening, effect on the mind if inhaled. Unintended exposure in small spaces should be avoided. Perhaps Iduna is one of these rare Canadian BCCs you mention? If so, we should thank you for keeping Iduna free from the claw-like clutches of that evil ice cream empire, and kindly recommend that you increase ventilation below.