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jcislanders
Last seen: 21 hours 39 sec ago
Joined: 9/12/19
Posts: 7
Side deck under bow cleats

Hi, new to this forum and haven't figured out the search feature yet.  I'm not sure if this is a problem unique to me or if others have similar issues. 

We recently purchased our 1983 MkI.  The section of deck on either side of the bow, under the cleats have bowed up and the chain locker doors don't close.  I'm not sure if the previous owner tried to fix it by adding some sort of plates under (which have since self destructed) or if the plates self destructing are what has cause the problem.  Either way, the plates are completely corroded and falling apart under the cleats and the lifting has cracked the fibreglass along the side.  Someone has filled the cracks with silicone in an attempt to keep the water out but it really doesn't fix anything.  For some reason I can't figure out, the cleats still appear to be quite secure.

So far I haven't been able to find a repair shop that is interested in helping me with my problem.  Maybe it is my location, the nature of the problem or they are just too busy.  I really want to fix the problem, install a windlass and have doors that close so may have to tackle it myself.  

My question is, is there anyone out there who has experienced this before and if so, do you have any suggestions as to what might be the best way to tackle this? 



Thanks in advance for any help.

Cherel

ps..  Also open to suggestions for how to search for similar posts.

sv Sidetracked
1983 Catalina36 MkI #0157
Nanaimo, BC

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sv Sidetracked
1983 Catalina36 MkI #0157
Nanaimo, BC
pkeyser's picture
pkeyser
Last seen: 1 day 34 min ago
Joined: 5/18/13
Posts: 397

Cherel-
Some pitcures might help understand what's going on with your boat. Are the cleat backing plates steel or aluminum? It's hard to envision that if they rusted or corroded, how that would create bowing in the deck. Maybe the bow cleats were subjected to some extreme loading by the PO and this created the distortion? 

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Paul & Wendy Keyser
"First Light"
Newburyport MA/Rye NH
2005 C36 MKII #2257
Wing, M35B

jcislanders
Last seen: 21 hours 39 sec ago
Joined: 9/12/19
Posts: 7

Thanks for the reply. I did try to attach photos but they didn't show up. Then I tried again and they were upside down. Here's hoping 3rd time lucky.  

It certainl seems that there was some serious stress on the cleats but I can't imagine how they could have both bowed the same unless they picked the boat up by the bow cleats and left it swinging for awhile.....  The backing plates must have been some sort of thin widths of aluminum sandwiched together because they have corroded in a way that reminds me of flaky pastry.   Etiher the plates were installed to help with the bowing or they were the cause, OR there were some unknown mystery forces at work. 

The boat was neglected for a few years and then bought as a fixer upper and then they gave up and we took it on.  We really don't have any information about it so are mostly trying to figure things out with uneducated guessing.

I have a few ideas of how I can fabricate something to install a windlass and bring the decks back to a reasonable level but thought I would check around to see if this is something that others have seen before.

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sv Sidetracked
1983 Catalina36 MkI #0157
Nanaimo, BC
pkeyser's picture
pkeyser
Last seen: 1 day 34 min ago
Joined: 5/18/13
Posts: 397

Cherel-
Wow, those are some photo's. 
I would agree that somebody in the past tried lifting the boat by the bow cleats.
A suggestion; remove/clean up the existing backing plate. Go to a metal shop or an industrial hardware store and buy some galvanized angle iron; 1/8" to 1/4" thick. Maybe 1 1/2" tall by 1 1/2" wide. (The cross section would be an "L"). You might be able to find this in stainless steel, which would be prefered. Cut as long of a length as you can fit beneath the deck along the side of the hull. I don't think there's a lot of hull curvature in that area, so the piece could be fairly lengthy.  Remove the cleats and drill holes in the angle iron that line up with the cleat holes. Use oversized holes and washers in the angle iron to allow for some geometry flexability. Your cleat bases look like they may also be cracked inthe counter sink screwhead area, so you might need new cleats. Reattach the cleats and slowly torque the bolts against the angle angle iron backing plate to see if that straightens out the deck. You may also have to remove part of the bow pulpit to accomodate the angle iron and mounting holes to reattach. If everything looks good, you might want to pull things apart and add some new fiberglass layers...reinstalling the cleat and angle iron backing plate before the resin cures. Use a dremmel tool to route out and widen the exterior gelcoat cracks and fill with new gelcoat paste.  Carefully hand sand the cured paste flush starting with 80 grit paper and moving to finer grits with a final wet sanding with 1500 grit paper. 

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Paul & Wendy Keyser
"First Light"
Newburyport MA/Rye NH
2005 C36 MKII #2257
Wing, M35B

jcislanders
Last seen: 21 hours 39 sec ago
Joined: 9/12/19
Posts: 7

Thank you so much for your reply.  I really appreciate it. 

I've been thinking over your suggestions and love the idea of trying to torque the deck back down.  I intend to re-work the bow area with a new and much more useful bow roller, and was hoping to add a windlass inside the anchor locker.   I have new deck cleats to replace the old ones and expect that we will have to drill out the existing bolts to get the old cleats off.  I think someone cracked them trying to get the old bolts out and just gave up and left them in.

If I attached an L shaped bracket from the side of the anchor hanger up to the base of the deck then I could use that as a backing plate for the cleat and also something good and strong to help pull the deck back down and attach it to so it stays there.  I prefer to anchor when out cruising and really want to be confident that the bow area is good and strong.   Maybe this could be incorporated into some sort of framework to mount a windlass on since we were already planning to fabricate something for that. 

I've tried to draw a diagram to help explain what I was thinking but am not the greatest artist.  Hope it doesn't just confuse things further.

We purchased the boat for a very good price and expected that this was going to be a very costly fix.  The idea of torquing the deck down seems very cost effective and I really appreciate your input.  Now I have a direction to go in and feel confident that I can fix it.

Once I get it done I will post some follow up photos. 

Thanks again.

Cherel

 

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sv Sidetracked
1983 Catalina36 MkI #0157
Nanaimo, BC
pkeyser's picture
pkeyser
Last seen: 1 day 34 min ago
Joined: 5/18/13
Posts: 397

Yes-
That approach may work also.
Another thought with either approach- if you put a plate beneath the cleat and the deck topside deck when pulling the deck back down, you will distribute the load over a larger area compared to the load being transmitted through a much smaller area created by just the two "cleat feet". This plate could be decorative and made out of stainless and permenantly mounted with 3M 5200 adhesive holding it to the deck, or just temporary. Try torquing down the cleat/bowed deck without it. If you hear a lot of fiberglass crunching, I would use a plate on top.

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Paul & Wendy Keyser
"First Light"
Newburyport MA/Rye NH
2005 C36 MKII #2257
Wing, M35B

Chachere's picture
Chachere
Last seen: 1 hour 20 min ago
Joined: 10/27/10
Posts: 597

jcislanderswrote "I can't imagine how they could have both bowed the same unless they picked the boat up by the bow cleats and left it swinging for awhile...."

One possible theory was that the boat was tied to a fixed dock, bow in, without sufficient scope, and a falling tide left it hanging from the cleats.
(We, um, managed to do something similar a number of years ago ... the anchor got hooked onto the dock and the falling tide left the boat hanging.  No damage at all, but embarrassing.  We told passers-by, as we waited for hours for the tide to rise, that we did it to check the condition of the bottom paint!).
I would be concerned about structural damage that the fiberglass has no doubt sustained; and would concur with  pkeyser's recommendation that once the deck is "relevelled" it would be prudent to at least add a few more layers of glass underneath to strengthen the deck.

Also, since you also indicated you like to anchor, you might want to consider adding a third cleat, with a good backing plate inside, in the middle of the foredeck.  Our boat came with one installed by a prior owner (I originally thought it was stock) located about a foot back from the anchor locker.   This provides a straight lead back from the anchor roller for the anchor rode.
 

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Matthew Chachère
s/v ¡Que Chévere! #466
1985 C36 MKI tall rig fin keel M25
Homeported in eastern Long Island, NY

jcislanders
Last seen: 21 hours 39 sec ago
Joined: 9/12/19
Posts: 7

The topside backing plate under the cleat sounds like a very good idea and if I get one made from stainless it will be both attractive and protect the surface.  Since I have new cleats to install it also solves the problem if the holes don't line up.  Thanks for that great idea.

I believe there was a third cleat just in front of the anchor locker at some point as I can see where the holes were filled when it was removed.   Once we figure out what to do for a windlass I certainly will want an extra cleat for securing the rode.   There is already a stand up swivel block mounted in the middle of the foredeck.  I may just look at replacing that with a proper cleat, or I could replace the cleat that was removed up forward.  So many options. 

Thanks so much for telling your story about hanging the boat by it's bow cleats, that sounds entirely possible and must have been horrifying to watch.  From what I was told the boat spent most of it's life in Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River.  Other than that bit of information I haven't got much to go on.  Currently trying to make a connection with someone who would have known the original owner.  I have at least a million questions....

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sv Sidetracked
1983 Catalina36 MkI #0157
Nanaimo, BC
pkeyser's picture
pkeyser
Last seen: 1 day 34 min ago
Joined: 5/18/13
Posts: 397

In the search area, type in the boat's original name, and you might see who the owner was if they were a member of this site.

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Paul & Wendy Keyser
"First Light"
Newburyport MA/Rye NH
2005 C36 MKII #2257
Wing, M35B

jcislanders
Last seen: 21 hours 39 sec ago
Joined: 9/12/19
Posts: 7

UPDATE!!

Thanks 'pkeyser' so much for the great suggestion.  We were at the boat this week and spent some time working on our bow.   It was a success.

As near as we can guess, it is the aluminum backing plates that caused the problem.  When the cleats were installed they put the backing plates right up to the side, in the gap between the deck and the top of the hull inside of the rub rail.  As the backing plates self-destructed and expanded they had nowhere to go except to push up on the decks.  Where it was trapped the fibreglass split, and the rest just got forced up.

Once the cleats were removed we can really see how squished everything got between the backing plates and the cleats.

I picked up a couple of 24" long 2x2" angle stainless to mount under the bowed area.   We just drilled one hole into the stainless and used a block of wood on top just to try it out.  Using a heat gun and some patience we were able to bring the deck back down to level and have decided to leave them like that for a couple weeks. 

Next time we are at the boat we will have the stainless plates made for under the new cleats and will be able to install the new ones properly.   I think the weather will be too cold for doing some reinforcing fibreglass work over the winter but we will definitely take care of it as soon as possible. 

Thanks again for the helpful suggestions.  You saved us a bunch of $$ and it was much quicker than waiting for the repair shops to get back to me (over 2 weeks and no one has even returned my call or email) with a timeline and esitmate.  Now we can move on to installing a windlass.

Cherel
 

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sv Sidetracked
1983 Catalina36 MkI #0157
Nanaimo, BC
pkeyser's picture
pkeyser
Last seen: 1 day 34 min ago
Joined: 5/18/13
Posts: 397

Glad to be of help.
I would definately add fiberglass layers/resin to rebuild deck strength-when the temp warms up.
I don't believe catalina would use an aluminum backing plate for the bow cleats- looks like a previous owner did that. It must have been made from a sufficiently thick plate that it filled the gap between the deck and the hull liner, and as it expanded/deteriorated, pushed down on the liner and up on the deck. 
 

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Paul & Wendy Keyser
"First Light"
Newburyport MA/Rye NH
2005 C36 MKII #2257
Wing, M35B

jcislanders
Last seen: 21 hours 39 sec ago
Joined: 9/12/19
Posts: 7

Yes, exactly that.... 

I'm guessing that when they put the awful bow/anchor roller on they had to remove the original cleat that was in front of the anchor locker.  The holes were filled but are still clearly visible very close to the roller.  They must have added the cleats to replace the one they removed. 

Definitely not something that any reputable boat builder would have done. 

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sv Sidetracked
1983 Catalina36 MkI #0157
Nanaimo, BC
Siler Starum's picture
Siler Starum
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: 4/20/18
Posts: 46

In my collection of information I found a drawing with info about deck-laminate and re-inforcements.
As you can see in this drawings: D7 - alu reinforcement.

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PDF icon Deck Laminate & Reinforcements.pdf38.32 KB
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Durk Nijdam
S/V "SILER"
Catalina 36MKII - 2001 / hullnr. 2013
Stavoren - Holland
jcislanders
Last seen: 21 hours 39 sec ago
Joined: 9/12/19
Posts: 7

Thanks very much for that.  I haven't seen it before. 

Very much appreciated. 

 

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sv Sidetracked
1983 Catalina36 MkI #0157
Nanaimo, BC
LeslieTroyer's picture
LeslieTroyer
Last seen: 1 day 4 hours ago
Joined: 3/13/16
Posts: 456

JC
be sure and come to the first weekend iN May rendezvous  at Roch Harbor.  Given how that looked I would suspect lots of water intrusion in the foredeck area.  I have a moisture meter and can check it for you.  Plus you'll meet lots of Washington & BC Catalina owners - see what their boats are like.  C36 attendance is on the upswing there -- 
 

There is also a Canadian rendezvous up in Thetis in July   Lots of fun   

 

 

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Les & Trish Troyer
Mahalo 
Everett, WA
1983 C-36 Hull #0094
C-36 MK 1 Technical Editor. 
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