Ask SAIL: Bashed-up Bow Pulpit

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BASHED-UP BOW PULPIT

Q: The bow pulpit on my old 34-footer has seen more than its share of abuse over the years, and now it’s bent and dented to the point where I’m afraid to simply bend it back into shape. A couple of the sockets where it attaches to the deck/bow also appear to be loose. I’m thinking of scrapping the entire thing and starting from scratch, but I’m concerned it will be very expensive. What are the costs for a new pulpit? How can I re-secure those sockets?

Neil Prynne, via

There are a number of options available if your bow pulpit is bent out of shape

There are a number of options available if your bow pulpit is bent out of shape

DON CASEY REPLIES

The cost for a new pulpit depends on its size and complexity, and to some extent on where in the country you are. You have several choices. You can take your existing pulpit to a local machine shop and price out having it reconditioned. Or you can take it to a local fabricator and price out getting one made brand-new. Because sailboat bows are mostly similar, if you are in an area with a lot of boatyards, some inquiries might find you a decent used pulpit. It sounds like you need to remount the sockets anyway, so moving them to any new locations required by the geometry of a different pulpit will not be much of an inconvenience. I have also occasionally seen bow pulpits on eBay and Craig’s List, typically priced for around $200. However, unless the seller is nearby, shipping can be an obstacle.

If you are the do-it-yourself type, making a rudimentary tubing bender is not difficult, and it would allow you to take a length of 1in stainless tubing and put in the needed three bends. Add some intermediate supports with T-fittings, and you will have a new pulpit for under $150. (Note: you need to slide on the T-fittings before making the bends.)

As for those sockets on deck, they must be through-bolted. That means the securing nuts are inside the boat somewhere, perhaps inside a cabinet or behind an interior liner. You will need to gain access, remove the sockets entirely, clean away all sealant from both the socket and the deck, and then reinstall them with backing plates, new fasteners and fresh bedding.

Got a question for our experts? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com

June 2016

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