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Thread: Mast Step Reinforcement

  1. #1
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    Mast Step Reinforcement

    I am in the process (almost done!) of replacing three bulkheads in my 1971 E32. Before I re-install a mahogany arch/support under the mast step, I am wondering if I should do any extra reinforcement in this area. There is some telltale cracking in this area, but I don't know if the thick mahogany support/arch was placed here before the cracking began.

    I have a sectional drawing of this area, showing a laminated "beam" sandwiched in between the deck and head liner. This drawing is dated 1973. Does anyone know if the 1971 version is the same?

    Thanks for any and all responses!

    Happy New Year!

    John B.

  2. #2
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    Look it up

    You should be able to research this project right here. I have made this fix myself and have written about it as well as others. This seems to be a common problem with the E32. Over-tension on the standing rigging can compress and deform the cabin top and crack the interior liner. (Because the post is off-set and not directly under the mast.) Good luck and let us know how you make out.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response! I have researched the compression/crack problem on this site! I knew about the problem before purchasing the boat, as it is written up in a Practical Sailor review!

    I have seen the drawing and method of jacking up the deck and inserting a 1/4 inch thick plate above the offset post on the right side of the port bulkhead.

    I think the previous owner of my E32 took a different route - there is a 2 1/2 inch thick by 3 inch wide arched mahogany support screwed into the headliner. This support spans the distance between the port post and the smaller post on the starboard bulkhead. The support is screwed into the headliner and whatever is above it with twelve 2 1/2 in. ss screws.

    Having said all that, is there a possibility that this arrangement is "original"? I was thinking that this was an attempt by previous owner to beef up the mast step support. The diagrams/drawings I found on this site don't show the arched support that is in my boat!

    The arched support may be doing the job (I haven't had the mast stepped/rigged since purchase in August), but since I have removed all the wood, including the arched support, I have been wondering whether I should modify this arrangment before I replace all the trim.

    This is why I am trying to find out what is supporting the mast step area.... is it the laminated beam shown in the drawing dated 1974, or some other arrangement? My friend, a boat builder, who is helping me with the chainplate/bulkead repair, asked me to try and find out exactly what is in the space in question, so he can advise if anything additional should be done!

    Sorry this is so long, but I guess I needed to explain where my question came from! It was the articles in this site on the chainplate/bulkhead repair that convinced me that I could do this work, and not pay a contractor's estimate of over $7500!

    Again, thanks for the response, and any other advice/assistance anyone may offer!

    Happy New Year! John B.

  4. #4
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    E32 fix cont...

    The curved piece of wood above the door was installed at the factory. I had to replace it because I had buggered it up getting it out. I also realized that it was going to need more than just a little 1/4" shim.

    Above the wood, between the liner and deck is a solid fiberglass laminated beam. This (I believe), is designed to cary most of the mast load. The wood may have supposed to have helped but not much since it is unsupported at the starboard end. (I changed that.) Anyway, not only is the deck and liner deformed but more serious is the fact that the interior laminated deck beam was also bent and deformed.

    I started by jacking it up until the interior deformation was gone. This was about 3/4" or more. I was also concerned that the cabin sole around the door post had also been compressed and deformed. That's when I decided to try to re-do the whole dang thing.

    This was a big job and understandably would have been very expensive at the boat yard.

    Have I answered your question? You can email me if you want or whatever...

    Good luck
    Last edited by Jim Baldwin; 01-06-2004 at 02:58 PM.

  5. #5
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    Jim,

    Thanks for the reply/information. I'm not quite sure if I need to do anything with the mast step support. There is a 3 or 4 inch, thin, crack in the headliner, but everything else seems to be in place. I think I will contact the previous/sole owner of the boat and see if he ever did anything... I kind of doubt it.

    My bulkhead replacement project (both starboard and the main port blkhds) is moving along. All glassed in, and I just finished staining them. Next up will be sealing/varnish. I will attach a more recent picture with the stain on shortly, but for now I have attached a picture of before, and one after the new ones were in place. I've not attached a file before, and if the two pics are over the limit, I will send with separate posts/replies.

    Thanks again! John B.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6
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    In addition, here is a picture of "before"...
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    looking good...

    John

    Hey, it looks great from here. Looks like your doing a very nice job.

    I see you have completely done away with the cross piece above the door. This looks great but is it OK? I had a serious compression problem that required all the ceiling support I could think of. I needed that cross piece to help hold up the mast and prevent further collapse of the deck and interior liner. You are now depending entirely on the laminated fiberglass beam.

    Do you know that the weight of a mast under load (sailing), is calculated in tons! That weight needs to be transfered directly to the keel by the mast itself or (in this case), the interior compression post. I think, the off-set post in an E32 was a big compromise... but what do I know? I had an old Cal 25 that had the same problem.

    Anyway, were you able get your door to open and close both ways? Fun Job, hey?

    I know you already researched this problem on the plans but maybe you might ask Martin King to ask his father, (Bruce King) what he thinks?

  8. #8
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    I don't have to ask my father. If I recall correctly, those
    early 32's are supposed to have a big piece of mahogany
    under that step to help spread the load. Without any
    compression post directly under the mast, you need
    all the help you can get 'cause it's that poor 'glass house that's
    taking the load.

    Martin

    PS. My dad will tell you the same thing.

  9. #9
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    Mast step

    Martin is right-the support is offset, so that only half of the mast step has a post underneath it, and the damage there is pretty comon on boats that have been sailed hard. Many people have installed a "sister" support to extend the supported area to include the entire area under the step.

  10. #10
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    Mast Step Support

    Wow, thanks for all the replies.

    I certainly intend to put the mahogany support back in place as the bulkhead replacement is completed! I'm really just trying to determine if I should do any more reinforcing before finishing off this project.

    I stained the bulkheads the other night, and have put an initial coat of sealer on them. But I'm going to have to hold off for a while. The weather here near Boston has turned quite chilly, single numbers at night, and the little electric heater I have in the boat is unable to keep up!

    Attached picture of the bulkeads stained. I had to keep it light as the pre-existing cabinetry and trim has lightened up over the years, as you can see in the previous picture, which shows the original color on the lower portion of the port bulkhead.

    I have removed a Lectrastan sanitation unit from the boat, and my next project will be to install a holding tank. I will start a new thread regarding that project soon!

    Thanks again!

  11. #11
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    Oops, it looks like the attachment (photo of stained bulkheads) didn't get attached... I will send tonite, as pics are at home.

    It's about 1 deg. F. outside today... That's pretty cold even for us "hardy" Newenglanders...

    John B.

  12. #12
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    Picture attached of new bulkheads stained....
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  13. #13
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    Mahogany Support?

    I Know this is an older thread but I'd love to see some more pics of this project. I too am waiting for warmer weather to start in again. A coupla weeks should do it. I have to replace the support between the two posts in the salon and am looking for ideas. Might make do with a piece of 2x4 for a while.

    cheers

    jason
    ***********************
    - Jason
    1972, E35-2, #268

  14. #14
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    More pictures

    Jason -

    Rather than clutter up the site with pics, send me an email and I'll send some directly to your email address. You can reach me at john.bski@verizon.net.

    By project, I'm assuming you are referring to the bulkhead replacement?

    My boat is a 32, and I don't have the "posts" that you refer to. To reinforce the mast step on the E32, there is a diagram of the necessary additional "plate" that should be installed in the specs/information on this site.

    John B.

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