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Old 11-02-2018, 03:28   #1
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Roberts 44 compression post

Morning all,

Bit of a shot in the dark but I was just wondering if there is anyone out there who owns or has owned a Roberts 44 (fiberglass)?

I'm almost at the point of purchasing one but the survey has come back detailing a potential issue with the compression post on the main, and I was wondering if there was any info out there about the difficulties (and potential cost) if it needs to be pulled it and replaced.

The issue is there is a liquid in the bilge compartment of the compression post and the base of the post is saturated. At this point is unknown whether the post has rotted or not.

Any advice or experiences would be gratefully received!

Many thanks
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Old 11-02-2018, 06:12   #2
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Re: Roberts 44 compression post

First thing to clarify, if this is a Bruce Roberts boat, they are not boat builders but design and sell plans. So a lot of details will depend on who built the boat. A lot have been professionally built, some from South Africa if I recall but also lots and lots were home built. So the answer will totally depend on who built the boat, how they built it and how well.

All I can say is if you only need to replace the post that is usually not a difficult or expensive project. Unless the post is built into the bulkheads or is otherwise inaccessible it's just a matter of removing the old then fabricating and installing a new. You should also inspect the top and bottom where the post fits into the boat structure. At the deck between the mast and the post make sure the deck is solid glass or has a strong, heavy core. Some builders have left the balsa or foam core under the mast and over time that compresses leaving a weak, flat place under the mast. Same thing at the base of the post in the bilge. Look to make sure that area is strong and not compromised.
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Old 11-02-2018, 06:31   #3
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Re: Roberts 44 compression post

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
First thing to clarify, if this is a Bruce Roberts boat, they are not boat builders but design and sell plans. So a lot of details will depend on who built the boat. A lot have been professionally built, some from South Africa if I recall but also lots and lots were home built. So the answer will totally depend on who built the boat, how they built it and how well.

All I can say is if you only need to replace the post that is usually not a difficult or expensive project. Unless the post is built into the bulkheads or is otherwise inaccessible it's just a matter of removing the old then fabricating and installing a new. You should also inspect the top and bottom where the post fits into the boat structure. At the deck between the mast and the post make sure the deck is solid glass or has a strong, heavy core. Some builders have left the balsa or foam core under the mast and over time that compresses leaving a weak, flat place under the mast. Same thing at the base of the post in the bilge. Look to make sure that area is strong and not compromised.
Thank you Skipmac

She was built by the Vannoy shipyard in Washington and structurally (at least the visible bits) appears incredibly well built and strong. The post itself covered by trim but built into the forward bulk head, so I'm hoping that it can just be levered or cut out without damaging the bulk head. The issue, as I see it, is that at the base it is wedged between a stringer and a fibreglass holding tank.

Assuming that it can be taken out without damaging the bulkhead, and the head and base seats are secure, could I replace with a steel or alu post that is in two pieces which can then be welded together in situ, so that it can be put in place without having to rip out the holding tank? Or would this be a no no structurally?
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Old 11-02-2018, 09:36   #4
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Re: Roberts 44 compression post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olly75 View Post
Thank you Skipmac

She was built by the Vannoy shipyard in Washington and structurally (at least the visible bits) appears incredibly well built and strong. The post itself covered by trim but built into the forward bulk head, so I'm hoping that it can just be levered or cut out without damaging the bulk head. The issue, as I see it, is that at the base it is wedged between a stringer and a fibreglass holding tank.

Assuming that it can be taken out without damaging the bulkhead, and the head and base seats are secure, could I replace with a steel or alu post that is in two pieces which can then be welded together in situ, so that it can be put in place without having to rip out the holding tank? Or would this be a no no structurally?
Sounds like 99.99% of the boat jobs I do. The job itself is easy, it's getting access to the place where I need to fix something that's the hard part.

Regarding welding a metal post, I think it would be fine structurally but I'm not a welding expert. I have some vague recall of welded bits being more brittle or weaker than the rest of the structure but that can also depend a lot on what metal, which alloy, and the welder.

If the existing post is built into a bulkhead I would be a bit concerned about setting the bulkhead on fire trying to weld a metal post that fit into the same spot.

You could use a smaller diameter metal post to replace the wood one which I'm guessing is a box shaped structure. The smaller diameter might let you angle the post into the space in the bilge then push the top bit in place? What about removing some of the headliner?

Without being there and looking at the whole arrangement I'm just guessing.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:34   #5
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Re: Roberts 44 compression post

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Sounds like 99.99% of the boat jobs I do. The job itself is easy, it's getting access to the place where I need to fix something that's the hard part.

Regarding welding a metal post, I think it would be fine structurally but I'm not a welding expert. I have some vague recall of welded bits being more brittle or weaker than the rest of the structure but that can also depend a lot on what metal, which alloy, and the welder.

If the existing post is built into a bulkhead I would be a bit concerned about setting the bulkhead on fire trying to weld a metal post that fit into the same spot.

You could use a smaller diameter metal post to replace the wood one which I'm guessing is a box shaped structure. The smaller diameter might let you angle the post into the space in the bilge then push the top bit in place? What about removing some of the headliner?

Without being there and looking at the whole arrangement I'm just guessing.
Hmm, hadn't thought about setting the boat alight!

I'm back at the boat in a couple of weeks so will have a look at the head, liner situation.
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Old 12-02-2018, 06:08   #6
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Re: Roberts 44 compression post

A competent welder can do it without setting the boat on fire. An aluminum tube is probably your best approach. If it has to be two parts to get it in you could assemble them with a sleeve.

I think the bigger issue is potentially the "liquid in the bilge". If it's coming down the post itself then you have a leak to address, and that could mean pulling the mast and the mast step and rebuilding the deck and within it. Not hard but the cost can mount up depending on whether you're doing it yourself or not.

If the liquid is coming from somewhere else and you can't get to a dry bilge, then if you can build up an encapsulated base to get the bottom of the post out of standing water that would be a good thing.
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Old 12-02-2018, 06:34   #7
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Re: Roberts 44 compression post

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
A competent welder can do it without setting the boat on fire. An aluminum tube is probably your best approach. If it has to be two parts to get it in you could assemble them with a sleeve.

I think the bigger issue is potentially the "liquid in the bilge". If it's coming down the post itself then you have a leak to address, and that could mean pulling the mast and the mast step and rebuilding the deck and within it. Not hard but the cost can mount up depending on whether you're doing it yourself or not.

If the liquid is coming from somewhere else and you can't get to a dry bilge, then if you can build up an encapsulated base to get the bottom of the post out of standing water that would be a good thing.
I'm betting the wet bilge is just regular bilge water. The boats I've owned with deck stepped masts were very dry but it is certainly possible to have leaks around the mast step, wire fittings, etc.

I really like the idea of building a base in the bilge, if it can fit in the space. That might simplify the installation of the new post as well as getting the base out of the wet.
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Old 12-02-2018, 07:40   #8
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Re: Roberts 44 compression post

A sleeve on the post is a cracking idea!

Really not sure where the liquid has come from, its only that section of the bilge thats wet, but there is no sign of water damage/leakage through any of the trim round the post itself although cold be tracking down the inside.

I was going to taste it before I realised that it could be a leak from the holding tank
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:32   #9
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Re: Roberts 44 compression post

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Originally Posted by Olly75 View Post
A sleeve on the post is a cracking idea!
I thought about a sleeve but if you use a regular round sleeve that you insert the posts into you would still have a full length post to install. Maybe a split sleeve that you install after the two halves of the post are in place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olly75 View Post
Really not sure where the liquid has come from, its only that section of the bilge thats wet, but there is no sign of water damage/leakage through any of the trim round the post itself although cold be tracking down the inside.

I was going to taste it before I realised that it could be a leak from the holding tank
Maybe ask someone else to taste it for you?

Maybe just smell it. If it came from the holding tank it would likely have a characteristic odor.
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Old 12-02-2018, 19:20   #10
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Re: Roberts 44 compression post

I have a deck stepped mast with a compression post on my boat. Last year had water dripping down from the wiring run in the overhead penetration. Turned out to be rain water trapped inside the mast base due to the 1/4" drain at the base being plugged up with dirt/crud. Luckily I caught it before the compression post had any rot. Can you swing a hammer at the base of the post and listen for a solid sound or a mushy sound? Also maybe drill a small pilot hole in the base and look carefully at the drill chips for solid wood or punky mush. If solid wood then fill with some appropriate filler.
Good luck.
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Old 13-02-2018, 02:01   #11
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Re: Roberts 44 compression post

The whole area under the sole has a typical boat toilet smell so will need to get some of the liquid out and into the fresh air to test. Will also check to see if the mast is draining correctly.

Unfortunately there is no space to swing a hammer in there, unless the holding tank comes out, but drilling a small core sample might work.
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