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Old 04-07-2016, 18:42   #1
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Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

I am considering the purchase of an 85 Catalina 30. I have read extensively about "Catalina Smile" and compression post block failure. The broker sent me the following photos:

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Failures I have seen to date have typically involved cracks at the cabin sole, not in the deck... and the compression post block doesn't look nearly as horrible as I have seen, but does appear to need replacement. Plywood probably needs to be chiseled out of sump too. I have no keel photos yet as boat is in water.

Would love to hear opinions on what you see in these photos.

Should I run away from this boat, or just accept that it needs some elbow grease and a few grand to fix?
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Old 04-07-2016, 20:50   #2
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

How old is it?
How much is it ?
Firstly after having a c30 last year I've a fair bit of experience with this problem . Or lack of .
It looks to me that the one pictured may already have had a full rekeel that's why I ask the age . Those bolts / plates and washers were nothing like mine . I can see they are stainless, mine were not . But mine was one of the first 50 to be made .
The reason I ask how much is if it's anywhere near 5k $
Snap there hand off and just sail it . The repair ( if it's had one ) looks good .
The cracking around the compression post is old age I reckon . My compression post looked rotten but with a good poke with a screwdriver it was actually solid .
One thing I did notice is there's no earthing wire on the front keel bolt like there should be . Due to electrolysis my front keel bolt had fully rotted in the keel . I think I'd try third int the keel bolts just to make sure they are solid .
You do know Catalina do a compression post base replacement kit for less then 100$ ? And a data sheet on how to .
If it's cheap buy it and sail it. By the looks of things the keel ( providing no smile ) and compression post are nowt to worry about .
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Old 05-07-2016, 05:20   #3
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

Thanks for the reply woodyapex. The boat is an 85. The asking price is around $20k, which I believe to be around average. The boat is otherwise in good condition.

So you are saying I should not worry about the cracks in the deck above the compression post?

Is it possible this era Catalina handles grounding differently than via the front keel bolt?
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Old 05-07-2016, 06:25   #4
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

It's very difficult from the pictures to tell whats going on with the resultant cracking of the head liner. It could be the balsa core between the deck glass or the compression block beneath the compression post, or could be a combination of both!
Did you try to get a finger into the block where the wires exit? I was able to do that on mine before I purchased it and found the wood to be mush, therefore knew I had to replace it. I did not go with the wood block replacement from Catalina, I made a stainless & aluminum screw jack and was able to jack the sole back up to the original height. You should be able to do a search at CatalinaOwners.com to read more about this issue and possible repairs. It's also a great site for info regarding repairs to the other frequent repairs necessary for the Cat30.
$20,000 for an '85 would be a little steep if it has not had the bilge/keel repaired regardless of it's current condition. My opinion anyway.
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Old 05-07-2016, 06:29   #5
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

First off, does it have a gas Atomic 4 or a Diesel? That makes a big difference in value.

I would consider that damage "severe". The cracked liner/shell is due to compression of the mast into the interior, due to the compression post not supporting it. This makes me believe the compression block is totally compromised.

$20k (selling, not asking) price will get you a 1989 or 1990. Most 1985s I've seen have sold between $5k and $8k, and all were in better condition that that shown.
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Old 05-07-2016, 06:54   #6
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

The boat is freshwater only - on the great lakes. They tend to fetch higher prices than those in saltwater from what I have seen. The motor is a universal diesel, but I am not sure which one just yet. The boat is a several hour drive away from me so I a doing as much homework as possible prior to committing to the drive to see it in person.

I have no idea how bad the compression post block is or if it is bad at all. In the photo, it doesn't look like goo, but I do see what looks to be a crack. The sole at the compression post doesn't appear to be deflected at all... I've attached another photo:

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So the curiosity is this: is this damage from compression which has since been repaired, or is this a current problem that will need correction? The broker has said he does not believe there is any water leakage at the mast.
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:13   #7
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

Uggh, I would keep looking unless you are handy and want a project. I personally do not like how that hatch is so close to the mast step, those things tend to leak over time and look what you get.

Any issue can be fixed, wet deck under the mast and bad block in the bilge have been done a lot and my guess is that is what this boat needs fixed. If you ask over at SailboatOwners C30 forum or "The Catalina 30 Sailboat Owners Group" on Facebook you will find a lot of folks who have done the repairs and plenty of help.
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:09   #8
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

For the brief period I had my Catalina 1976 ish I loved it .
I did work to keel bolts , didn't think the mast step crack ( that I had somthing similar to yours was of any problem .
But and its a big but I only paid $5500 about 3500 I live in the uk and just wanted to sail with friends in Florida . 3500 is a snip to me when people in Europe pay 5000 for 2 week charter in Greece . I genuinely think $20 is a hell of a lot of money for a boat you've not seen properly . I flew over to buy a Bristol that the deck was like a sponge on with the owner trying to cover it up as I arrived . 2 hours early
The same marina I found my Catalina half the price of the Bristol . My c30 had a perfect running yanmar .
You mentioned broker and maybe some people on here will not agree but I don't trust them and they'll tell you owt for a sale . That bilge on your picture definitely is holding water I can see the tide line . So either the Windows , hull or that crack is probably leaking .
I'd have another c30 any day as long as it run and was cheap and I only sold mine cos the Mrs got the fastest 2 ft istis ever and we now have a 46 ft world cruiser ( within 4 days of her first stepping on the c30 ) .
Good luck
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:20   #9
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

I wouldn't sail that boat out of the harbor IF I knew the compression block looked like that, it's black, the cracks indicate it's already failed.
I've lived on the ocean all my life, never seen a "freshwater" boat, but I'm not impressed by that one and sure don't think it deserves a premium price.
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:18   #10
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

Simple job to replace. Get some quotes. Not uncommon on deck stepped masts. Boat likely was raced a lot and the standing rigging screwed down way too tight. Check chainplates and rigging real good if that is the case. Most folks way overtighten their standing rigs.
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:04   #11
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

I had my say, but seems like some here think "no big deal" so I'm going to try to save you heartache and money.

I have a 1990 Catalina 30TR that I bought in 1994- do the math that's 22 years of ownership.

I've logged tens of thousands of miles with it. I've raced it and cared for it. This past Saturday was just the weather I enjoy- 20+ knots of air, 3-5 foot waves so we went out and beat the boat until the headsail tore along the leach. Yet, all my chainplates are secure and the compression post is fine. There are zero leaks.

The fact that there is a hatch close to the compression post means nothing except if it was the source of water intrusion, and that's the fault of poor maintenance, not a hatch.

Overly tight standing rig would compress the deck step and crack the deck. It would not cause that internal damage you show. THAT is a cause for concern- how did that happen? I note that there is a projecting plug in the post- that is not from the factory. I think somebody did a core sample. So how did the interior near the post get busted? I think somebody was screwing around- trying to install a new post or a new base and applied too much pressure from the interior.

How does the floor look around the post? Cracked? Dark w/ stains?

Can you push a knife or nail into the bottom of the post at the sole?

I think this is a boat somebody tried to "fix" and failed- and now wants to pawn it off.

There are two pages of mid-80s C30s on YachtBroker, with many ASKING under $20,000.

I suggest you RUN AWAY.
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:11   #12
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

We paid $19K for our freshwater only 1985 Catalina 30 Std Rig. The price is at the top end of the range, but not outrageous.

What does the deck outside look like around the mast step? Can you talk to the previous owner and ask the history and when the crack appeared? Does the seller/broker have their survey that you could look at?

To me, the crack in the headliner looks more like the deck was pushed down on a stable compression post rather than sagging down on a rotted one. Could the mast or some other heavy object/person have been dropped on the deck at some point?

Is the line in the photo of the block a crack or a wire hanging down?

Our compression post looks the same (Assuming that is a wire), our keel has stainless bolts and washers but no heavy plates under the washers as this one does.

Can you get the broker to poke the block and sole with an icepick or knife and report if it is soft or not?

What is the condition of the rest of the boat? Is this the only major concern?
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:34   #13
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen Stubbs View Post
The boat is freshwater only - on the great lakes. They tend to fetch higher prices than those in saltwater from what I have seen. The motor is a universal diesel, but I am not sure which one just yet.
Freshwater vs saltwater is an urban myth. My boat sits in saltwater 24/7/365. It's in better shape than friends' freshwater Michigan boats that get hauled half of the year and sit in snow. Forget that line of "reasoning."

A 1985 C30 would most likely (but not for sure) have an M25. Earlier boats had smaller diesels, like the 5411, some earlier ones were raw water cooled. The M25 is freshwater cooled with a heat exchanger. If you do buy the boat, here's some engine info:

Engines 101 - The BIGGEST & BEST collection of M25 Series Universal Engine Information on the Internet, plus some M35, too

Diesel Engine - c34.org

The keel bolt backing plates indicate, to me, that the Catalina Smile had been experienced, and repaired. The cracks in the 'glass above the compression post could come from a variety of sources, some previously mentioned. However, they could have come also from a hard, hard grounding, which would be consistent with the new ss backing plates for the keel bolts. Unless you can positively find out from the PO, we're all guessing, so that's my contribution to the detective work that can have no
"certain" answer, just a myriad of probable causes.

$20K for a 1985 C30 is rather high unless it is immaculate, and the compression post block and the cracks above don't indicate that, AND unless the rest of the boat is 1,000,000% pristine, including the engine.

If it has an M25 and the old alternator bracket...??? Read the link I provided.

Good luck.
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:48   #14
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

Quote:
Can you get the broker to poke the block and sole with an icepick or knife and report if it is soft or not?
Doubtful, I'd be afraid to poke it with a blunt object like my finger.
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Old 05-07-2016, 12:17   #15
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Re: Catalina 30 Compression Post issues?

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
The cracks in the 'glass above the compression post ...could have come also from a hard, hard grounding, which would be consistent with the new ss backing plates for the keel bolts. .
Interesting. I studied the photo in detail and observe the following:
* compression radiations appear to radiate aft
* port aft corner of post appears chipped
* starboard aft corner of post appears to have shifted forward- note line a few mm from the post. This could be a result of teak oil or dirt accumulation, or the whole post could have shifted/ not be in original position.

Since the deck is not damaged, the damage did not come from above.

If I'm correct that the radiating cracks imply a rearward movement of the post, that may rule out a grounding since the post- if it moved, would continue momentum and move forward (not backward) at the top.

This, if correct, may infer a drop on the keel.

Of course, I'm not a mechanical engineer, and am making inferences based on a single photo. However, I think it's pretty clear the internal damage was from extensive (not just excessive, but extensive) force applied from below. Best event would be somebody trying to jimmy in a new compression device; worst would be a hard hit/ drop on the keel. The latter, combined with the previously noted non-factory keel bolt plates, suggests to me that the boat suffered catastrophic damage and was "repaired".
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