The backer plates that are behind the foredeck cleats are sad in every aspect and need to be replaced. What possesses some people to use the materials they do is beyond me.
The backer plate that was behind the windlass was even worse. It was literally a piece of milk jug that someone had cut out. It was replaced straight away with epoxy and a piece of hardwood. Because the backside of the deck was uneven, I had to level it out with some epoxy, press in the backer plate, let it cure, then drill the holes for the windlass mounting screws. I used hardwood here because it’s epoxied to the boat now and it won’t corrode. If I ever have to replace this, it’s going to be hell removing it. But, it will be much easier than trying to remove a piece of metal. I suppose I could have attempted to level out the epoxy and let it cure without the backer plate attached, but . . . well, I suppose I just didn’t feel like going that route. I’m sure I’ll regret it later.
I purchased some 4″ x 6″ x 0.25″ 304 stainless steel bar that I will polish and use as the backer plates. Stainless in this situation doesn’t really concern me too much. It will be on the interior of the boat and not really subjected to much water, if any. I should be able to bed the cleats with butyl tape so they don’t leak at all. And if, like the windlass, one does, disassembling and redoing it is no problem.
One other feature that was installed recently in the chain locker, where all of these backer plates actually reside, was a security device for our anchor rode.
This is there so that just in case I’m asleep while paying out anchor rode, I have at least some protection that prevents the rode from simply flying off the bow of the boat into the deep blue sea. Believe it or not, I have heard of this happening. The other, almost worse, situation that I saw happen first hand was a boat that had run aground, was on a lee shore with all his rode payed out, couldn’t pull it in because his electric windlass burned up due to a stuck anchor, and couldn’t release his rode to attempt to maneuver or be pulled off because it was all chain and bolted inside his chain locker.
At least here, if I need to release the anchor rode, I have some thin line that I can easily cut through.