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jcislanders
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Mast Step replacement options or suggestions

Well, now that the holidays are over it's time to start planning for the big haulout next month.  Main priority is to install a windlass, with a proper bow roller and cleats as well as pull the mast and replace the rotting step.  At the same time I will be doing my best to fabricate a dodger with limited knowledge and zero experience..... wish me luck!!

After much discussion we are wondering why the original material appears to be red cedar (wouldn't be our first choice) and what we can replace it with.  Not being experienced sailors we wanted to put this question out to others and see if we can get some pros and cons of different materials before we commit to one or the other. 

We have been discussing sandwiched star board panels and plywood encased in epoxy as well as one friend who suggested pouring a concrete block.  I am sure there are many other options out there and hope this wonderful community can help us find the best option available.  

The hope is to get the major projects done in time for the rendezvous at Roche Harbor in May.

Any suggestions or ideas are welcome. 

Cherel
 

sv Sidetracked
1983 C36 MkI #0157
Nanaimo, BC

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GaryB
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https://www.catalina36.org/sites/default/files/legacy/Jason%20V%20Mast%2...
Actually same year and about as thoruogh as one could expect. Use search and "Mast step", good luck

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jcislanders
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Thanks Gary, we have seen Jason's write up and practically memorized it over the last few months while we ponder this project.  I tried to contact him directly to see how it's been holding up but it appears that he is long gone. 

We are hoping for some alternative suggestions for the actual material to replace the step.  I'm thinking this will not be one of my favorite jobs and hope to only have to do it once.  Replacing old rotten wood with new wood seems to me like it will just become an issue again down the line. 

While the mast is out we will redo most of the lines and wires as well as make sure there is good drainage at the base.   I know we can't eliminate all water coming into the mast.  It would be great to have a replacement mast step that is not susceptible to rot.

Cherel

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pkeyser
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Very interesting link to replacing the mast step.
When I replaced the top 3/4" layer of our water logged keel stub in or 1986 C30, I had similar questions about what materials to use. My preference would have been a material like G10 epoxy/glass laminates from Defender Marine, because of supperior resistance to water intrusion....but it is expensive (for a piece ~ 6 feet in length). In the end,  I selected marine grade plywood and epoxy sealed all surfaces, including the keel bolt holes prior to installation. My decision was based on the fact that the boat was 22 years old and if my repair lasted just another 22 years, that seemed pretty reasonable to me.
 

Daddio Rick
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Just curious. As new owner of a 1995 C36 do I have a wood under my mast? Anyone have a diagram of the keel step including the drain holes. I have lifted the cabin sole part in the v-berth and everything was dry as a bone. My rigging is also solidly tight with plenty of thread left on turnbuckles so I have no reason to suspect a problem. Just want to be better aware of what is under the mast and how I might better keep an eye on things. Thanks. 

Rick

Daddio Rick
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Upon further research let me cancel a diagram request. I have found a couple of websites with excellent pictures of at least the mast shoe . I think I now understand how water coming down the mast should get intot he bilge. 

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jcislanders
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Thanks for the reply.   22 years out of a replacement would be fine if it was just the mast step.   The main issue I have is the other related "fixes" once the mast step height is back to where it should be.  Not sure how long this has been an issue but it has certainly affected the rigging and the floor is completely cracked and sunken at least 1/2 " around the base of the mast.   Once we get everything where it should be I want it to stay forever!!  (I know, it's a boat LOL)

Because the cabin sole is sandwiched under the mast, as the step compressed it pushed the floor down.  Both bulkheads in the head are raised off the floor as it has dropped and they are "hanging" from the deckhead.  Once the step is replaced, the sole will be back up to their level and we should be able to re-seal the shower seat and bulkheads so we can use the shower without water running out onto the floor in the vberth. 

The floor boards will need to be replaced since much of the holly has come out and hopefully that will eliminate some of the very loud squeaks.

Since we will have it all apart anyhow, this will be a good time to put in a proper holding tank........and so on, and so on.

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LeslieTroyer
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Don't use Starboard, it doesn't do compression well.  If I was doing this I'd probably use aluminum, G10, or Ipe (Coated in polyester resin).   You can get Ipe at places that sell decks. It's also called iron wood, very hard and very rot resistant. Comes in 1.5" and 5/8" thickness. 

G10 is very good but expensive.  
Aluminum is hard to work with without proper tools   

les

 

 

Daddio Rick
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Would agree on the Ipe idea. That stuff is unbelievably hard. Just have multiple saw blades on hand :-)

Rick

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jcislanders
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Thanks for the suggestion Les and Rick.  I think we will go that route.  I was thinking that we will put some grooves in the top layer to facilitate drainage.  If we are going to put such effort into replacing it, might as well do it right.  

On another slightly scary note, I got a quote from the rigging folks at the marina where we will haul the boat.  They quoted $2000 to pull the mast.  Suggested another 2k to put it back on again.  I nearly had heart failure.....  I was able to contact a neighboring company that has a crane onsite and they quoted $100/hr to use the crane and said it takes just under an hour (as long as we are prepared to disconnect everything etc).  Phew!!!

Plans are made to haul the boat Feb 3rd, be prepared for many more questions for the following month.

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jcislanders
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It has begun....

The mast is out, the base was completely full of crap and most of the water must have been seeping through the screws into the wood.  Once we removed the base we cut out the floor to access the step.  Then followed hours of fun with a screwdriver and hammer. 

Once the top block was out I was able to access the bilge section which is 3 vertical blocks, cut to fit the turn of the bilge with a V notched into the bottom for water to pass through.  They were originally bedded with some fibreglass resin goop much of which was blocking the flow of water from the forward bilge to the center.   Since the bottom blocks were unprotected and almost always sitting in water it makes perfect sense that they would be soaking wet.   I am sure the drain being half blocked did not help......

I removed the first block in pieces, the second one came out mostly intact and the aft one actually looked pretty solid so we will leave it in place.  Today I am going to hunt for some IPE to replace the lower blocks and then we will rebuild the top with marine plywood, resin coated. 

It feels good to know what we are dealing with and to have a plan. 

 

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jcislanders
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Bottom blocks, left the aft one in place as it was in good shape and would have been the hardest to remove and replace.  It allows us to leave the original fibreglass in place and just replace the rotten blocks.

The middle one isn't too bad and I was able to remove it mostly intact so we can use it as a template. 

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