This is a common problem with Trappers, nearly all the articles I have read about buying one states that they are great boats apart from the stanchions and the engine could do with replacing. Two of the stanchions had been done already but only one had been fitted with an additional plate the add strength to the deck and stop it cracking. Here’s one of the stanchion bases removed where you can see the cracks in the deck.
I had first wanted to make the plates in stainless steel and had bought a sheet of 3mm marine grade stainless, of course I couldn’t then cut it to size as it was too tough to get anything through it. I had a look around but I couldn’t really find anywhere that would cut the plates for me for anything resembling a reasonable price, in the end I opted for 4mm aluminium which seems to have done the trick. I was able to cut a small sheet down to the shapes I needed with a normal jigsaw and tidied them up with a normal file.
With a bit of judgement I drilled the matching holes to the stanchion bases by lining the base up on top of the plate. The hardest bit was to get to the back of the bolts once I had got the new bolts through the existing holes. The plate that had been put in before I bought the boat had been secured quite well but whoever had done it had cut part of the headlining away to get access to bottom of the bolts, I didn’t want to do that as it had made a real mess and I still needed to repair that damage. With a lot of swearing I managed to get a socket and a spanner to the back of the nut and wedge it in place then go up on deck and turn the bolt, I had intended to put a plate at the back as well but there just wasn’t space so used large washers instead. It meant a lot of trips in and out of the cabin and the whole job took me a long time, it would have been much easier if I’d had some else around to turn a bolt or hold a spanner. I whacked a large amount of sealant under the plates and also through the bolt holes. The whole thing was difficult and painful as I had to reach inside the gap between the lining and hull for a lot of the bases but I am still glad I didn’t go down the route of cutting access holes as it would have been even more work.
I was happy with the result and looking at the stanchions (which I also rubbed down and painted) once they were back in place it looks like the plates were part of the original build. The first heavy rain was a good test and only one leaked, it was fairly easy to redo that one by pulling the bolts out and reapplying more sealant.