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Old 11-08-2014, 07:00   #1
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Mast Pressure Against Portside Bulkhead

I have a 1987 Catalina 36. I've been watching a separation at the base of the portside bulkhead near the center of the boat. An approx 1/2 in opening can be seen from inside the head where the fiberglass meets wood at the base. Large screws designed to secure the fiberglass shower enclosure have been tilted upward with the bulkhead as if moved under a great deal of pressure. Exploring deeper I removed the naugahyde cover from the mast and found that there was a tilt to port applying pressure to the top of the bulkhead and apparently forcing it upward. Anyone experience this or a similar concern? What's the general prognosis and recommended repair?

Thanks for your feedback in advance.

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Old 11-08-2014, 07:33   #2
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Re: Mast pressure against portside bulkhead

Rigging pressure forces the mast step, down, and the hull sides, in, so that the deck is forced, up, at its center. Also any running rigging led aft forces the deck, up.

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Old 11-08-2014, 07:38   #3
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Re: Mast pressure against portside bulkhead


I wouldn't hoist a cocktail napkin let alone any sail until you get this figured out... Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen...

It's hard to picture from your description, but it sounds like your mast is pressing against the portside of the partners/cabin top with enough force to rip up a bulkhead?!?!

Get an experienced rigger down there ASAP...
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Old 11-08-2014, 07:42   #4
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Re: Mast pressure against portside bulkhead

No experience here. I'll be watching this thread as it sounds like it will be an incredible bit of diagnoses to identify the issue and I'd like to watch the repair. As best as I can watch it from the internet anyhow. Please keep us updated.

I think my first step would be to get a rigger to investigate why it has a tilt and if it was improper rig tuning that has caused it and loosen the rig to arrest any damage being done, possibly even go ahead and remove the rig for the repair.

If it is indeed the rig causing the damage let's hope the bulkhead settles back into place for the repair once the tension is off of it.

Good luck.

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Old 11-08-2014, 09:57   #5
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Re: Mast pressure against portside bulkhead

Like to see pics.

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Old 11-08-2014, 11:24   #6
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Re: Mast pressure against portside bulkhead

Sounds like a mast step starting to fail. Is there a post under the mast? Or is it just stepped on the deck with a bulkhead?

A common problem amount deck stepped masts are that the deck core under the mast becomes wet and rots away, allowing the mast to sink into the deck.

How are the shrouds? Do they still have the proper tension?

If this be the problem, it's an easy fix. One just hast to remove the mast and recore the deck and supports. And it should be done ASAP. Losing the rig will be very costly.
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:43   #7
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Re: Mast pressure against portside bulkhead

Is there a tie rod keeping the deck from lifting under the pressure of the stick. Simple to rig up with a pad on the underside of the deck and on the mast with a turnbuckle and short wire connecting the two pad eyes. That will keep the deck in place and maybe solve your problem.
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Old 19-08-2014, 04:28   #8
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Re: Mast pressure against portside bulkhead

I am no professional, but would be very concerned with what you are describing.

Sounds like your rigging could be out of whack. Are all of the side stays evenly tightened? It sounds like something is causing twist to the deck. Possible someone tightened the leeward stays while sailing...they tend to go lazy when the sails are full. Once the sails are lowered, it will put undue pull on that side of the mast.

It would be good for you to get a pro rigger down there to check things out ASAP.

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head, mast, ports

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