Engine access on the J/109 is way easier if we remove the top companionway step, so over the years that’s clearly been done a bunch of times.
And of course with each removal and reinstallation the screw holes in the retaining battens underneath have got bigger and more ragged. So people have replaced the screws with ever bigger and longer ones.
But we can only go so far with that, plus there’s a better way that solves this problem forever wherever a screw will be repeatedly removed and reinstalled into wood (or fibreglass):
Change to machine screws and threaded inserts as shown above.
Here’s the hole (bottom) with the threaded insert screwed in.
And for extra points, change to a round-head screw with a washer, instead of the usual countersunk head that will slowly wear through the step or whatever is being attached.
All that said, don’t try and install threaded inserts without the right tool—only way to get them in straight and true.
Here’s the finished step that can now be removed any time I want to without worrying about stripped screws. The electrical panel is next.