Samson post broken

  • March 24, 2014 11:14 PM
    Message # 1524146
    Deleted user
    We keep our boat on a swing mooring (in New Zealand). During a recent tail end of a cyclone the samson post snapped off. Fortunately we have backup lines attached to the bronze side cleats that are bolted through with backing plates, that saved a lot of trouble.
     The first impulse was to replace the broken post with an identical one but of some hardwood instead of Douglas Fir. But the inspection of the bulkhead to which the samson posts are bolted revealed mayor delamination there. We had known of this problem but had always pushed it into the "future projects folder". There seems to be a problem with this bulkhead I also noticed on other Westsails: often it is pushed out of its original seat so a gap opens between the forward bunk and the bulkhead. The bulkhead bulges forward into the chain locker. First I thought this a result of maybe ramming the bowsprit into a jetty or such, later I decided it might be the force of the rigging pushing the bowsprit aft and levering the bulkhead forward via the samson posts.
     There also is the issue of water leaking through the deck where the samsons are installed. 
    The bulkhead is not structural but anchors the samson posts which should be very strong.

        After consulting with a boatbuilder a new design seemed a good idea. I removed both samson posts, plugged the holes (with plywood and epoxy), made a new bulkhead below with its single purpose to divide the chain locker from the forward bunk, with nice big doors now and much better access without those posts right in the middle.
     But the main issue was the samson posts of course. I had new ones made out of stainless steel, mounted on a strong plate a foot square instead of going through the deck. A backing plate of the same shape was installed inside and bolted through the deck. That gives a large enough footprint to spread the load as well as covering all the plugs. The samson posts are still bolted through the bowsprit since I used the original measurements. 
     The bowsprit is bolted to the deck with three 1/2 inch bolts. I checked them for straightness. The third one, the most aft one, is incorporated in the new construction and goes through the two plates as well. 
    Not well explained but it will do. Photos will clarify if I can get them in here somehow.

    Last modified: March 27, 2014 4:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • March 26, 2014 7:02 PM
    Reply # 1525860 on 1524146
    Deleted user
    I'm facing similar problems with my Sampson posts. I like the sound of your solution, I'd love to see pictures if you can manage to get them in. 

  • March 27, 2014 4:58 PM
    Reply # 1526583 on 1524146
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jesse:  You should see the slide show or use this link

  • March 28, 2014 10:43 AM
    Reply # 1527054 on 1524146
    I have made the stainless Sampson posts with plates that bolt through the deck.  Contact me at for info and costs.

  • March 28, 2014 6:26 PM
    Reply # 1527270 on 1524146
    Deleted user
    Beautiful, looks like really nice work. Thank you for the pictures. 

    Bud- if winter ever ends here I'll let you know. 

  • April 01, 2014 10:50 AM
    Reply # 1529370 on 1524146

    Interestingly, Cruising World magazine did an article regarding Sampson posts and their role/purpose on boats these days.  I like your idea, but even with that plate it seems like (if used as it is supposed to for belaying the anchor rode) it could work the laminate of the deck.  At least it is still bolted through the sprit; which shortens the moment to the plate. 

    I don't know though... CW was adamant about the Sampson post being connected and reinforced to the keel (or as close as possible).

    I like Bud's, but the shiny luster would detract from it for me... maybe an artist could paint it like Douglas Fir :)


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