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Old 15-10-2011, 16:17   #1
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Catalina 36 Bulkheads

Just read engineer-sailor's thread, "Yet another boat buying advice" thread.
I am in a similar state of being, probably much less money. I am seriously leaning toward the Catalina 36, mid to late 80's vintage. Lots of options here on the west coast. Once I buy the boat, I will be broke, but better to learn how to deal with that now than later.
Is there any Catalina 36 owners out there in CF land that have re-enforced the the way the bulkheads are fastened to the hull? I have read a couple snippets about it. Ranging from pulling them and through bolting them, probably best, to adding epoxy or sika along the seems in existing boats without having to remove the actual bulkheads. This seems like it would add to the stiffness of the hull and stop alot of flexing, stopping the groans and noises when under way rough conditions. Forcing 5200 into the seams along all the bulkheads looks also like a viable option also. Not a major project, will aleave alot of flexing and still remain somewhat flexible so the hull would be allowed to have a little flex which might keep it from developing cracks here and there.
I am reluctant to start removing and re-securing bulkheads because, as we all know, the simplest jobs often turn into the biggest nightmares, especially when sh*t starts breaking. And that doesn't really appear to be a simple job.
I know about the Catalina owners association, I will join when and if I actually become a Catalina owner. For now, I would think many of the same members there may also follow CF and are possibly lurking around.
Feel free to jump in on this one.
Larry
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Old 15-10-2011, 19:51   #2
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Re: Catalina 36 Bulkheads

Don't know what you read or who wrote it but I can tell you the only way to ensure the bulkheads are integral to the hull is NOT with 5200 or bolts but glassing them which is done with most higher end boats. Not all but most. There is no practical way to remove everything and properly clean and align the bulkheads within existing tabbing to ensure adhesive with flow fully. The existing glass tabbing on a Catalina isn't thick or strong enough to rely on bolts. When you're done with whatever option you try, you will still have hull flexing. Maybe it would help address your concern if we knew specifically what it is you read that troubles you.
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Old 16-10-2011, 13:43   #3
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Re: Catalina 36 Bulkheads

I seem to be attracted to the Catalina 36 for many reasons. I am interested in stiffening the hull. One that I called on the broker talked about deflection in the hull making the galley cabinetry not open and close right. He said it is caused by being on the hard and when the boat is refloated it should 'settle back into shape. What is 'hull deflection'? Seems that boats built with cored hulls are stiffer, but coring below the waterline is something I might like to avoid in favor of solid frp hulls.
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Old 16-10-2011, 14:26   #4
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Re: Catalina 36 Bulkheads

While I don't want to criticize Catalina, I will suggest you open your search to boats that don't do that. Unless a boat was improperly blocked, there should be no hull deflection, especially that far up on the hull where the galley cabinets are. If there is deflection that high, imagine how bad it is as you get closer to the hull.

Most boats have coring above the waterline. That is irrelevant. None should deflect unless, as I said, there are other problems.

I don't know you or your relationship with this broker but when he says "should settle back into shape", all kinds of warning bells start ringing.
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Old 29-01-2012, 10:38   #5
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Re: Catalina 36 Bulkheads

I am looking at the purchase of an 86 Catalina 36 that has been reportedly dropped on it's keel. The results is that there is a shift in the galley cabinets that is noticable and, as it is now on the hard, one can see a unfair rise in the hull just aft of the keel. There appears to be no leaks but that has not been tested.

My questions to those that are knowledge in this matters are:
  1. Is this situation such that one should pass on even considering the purchase at a dicounted price?
  2. What has moved, fractured or shifted to get to this state?
  3. can this situation be rectified?
  4. Is the Recification as good as new or better?
  5. And, do all partridges live in pear trees?
Spanky, a long time structural engineer and soon to be sailor...
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Old 29-01-2012, 11:17   #6
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Re: Catalina 36 Bulkheads

For NorteDreamer: If the hull is deformed with the boat resting on the keel, the hull laminate is probably compromised. Only fix is to cut the delaminated glass away and lay up a new hull. Otherwise build a new hull around the keel. This is not something to be tackled by the faint of heart. No boat should have the hull deform from being supported by the keel on the hard.

I'm writing this on a Catalina 36, not mine. Just looked at the bulkheads and they are not tabbed to the hull. Not my idea of good construction practice. It wouldn't be painless to do, but glassing the bulkheads and furniture to the hull would add a whole bunch of reinforcement to the hull. Other than working in confined spaces, hardest part would be to keep from messing up the boat with epoxy resin as you do the glassing.
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Old 30-01-2012, 07:48   #7
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Re: Catalina 36 Bulkheads

Roverhi. Many thanks for the comments and direction. I have desided to pass on this boat as I am in the Sea of Cortez now and want to buy a boat that is sailaway but one that will require two months on the hard.
Should I have some more questions in this regard I would like to think that there is more help.
stangly enough...I am off to La Paz to look at a mid 80's Pearson 36, an Endevour 36 and a Beneteau 390.
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Lance W
still on the hard!
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