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Old 01-03-2012, 14:12   #1
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Cal 34 Deck Stepped Mast. Plywood Underneath?

The Cal 34 I'm looking at has some corrosion holes at the base of the mast, and the surveyor says it needs to be pulled, cut down, corrected for height and reinstalled. My concern is what's underneath the mast. The broker says it's solid fiberglass, but if it's plywood or balsa, I'm concerned I might take the mast out only to find that there is a lot more problems that could arise. Can anyone confirm what's under the mast in this boat? It's a 1976.
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Old 01-03-2012, 14:30   #2
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Re: Cal 34 Deck Stepped Mast. Plywood Underneath?

I'm familiar with the Cal 34 Mark I. Don't know when they started making the Mark II, but I think the Mark II just changed the mast height and boom length. The Mark III has more differences. The Mark I has a plywood core. Do you see cracks in the deck around the mast or are you worried about the hole where the wires pass through?

Another good thing to check is the steel beam under the cabin sole. Some of them have rusted quite badly, others look like new. This I-beam has the mast compression post sitting on it and runs across the boat where tabs bolt it to the bulkhead, so all rigging forces are resolved through the I-beam and bulkheads.

My friend's 69 Cal 34 and my 65 Cal 40 look great, there are pictures on the Yahoo Cal group where they are rusted half away.
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Old 01-03-2012, 14:36   #3
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Re: Cal 34 Deck Stepped Mast. Plywood Underneath?

Is your boat keel stepped? This one is deck stepped. I think it's a MK II but not quite sure. It's 1976 though so I think that's correct. The broker is telling me its an aluminum block laminated into the fiberglass. There are no cracks I can see in the deck, but the holes are large enough and long enough to be structural and also to allow rain, salt water and insects to get in.
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Old 01-03-2012, 15:19   #4
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Re: Cal 34 Deck Stepped Mast. Plywood Underneath?

Do you have pics. ?
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Old 01-03-2012, 15:29   #5
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Re: Cal 34 Deck Stepped Mast. Plywood Underneath?

Not yet. My surveyor has them.
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Old 01-03-2012, 15:58   #6
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Re: Cal 34 Deck Stepped Mast. Plywood Underneath?

Well looking at some ads online it is likely it is a Mark II. I don't know what all was changed on that from the Mark I.

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Old 01-03-2012, 17:44   #7
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Re: Cal 34 Deck Stepped Mast. Plywood Underneath?

Balsa Core will not take compression loads so doubt very much that the deck under the mast is that. Typical construction on a deck stepped mast is to put plywood under the mast if it is not solid FRP and solid FRP is not common. Would bet it's plywood. Only thing you can do is pull any fasteners around the mast step and check to see if the core is wet.

The Cal 40 had a steel load bearing weldment under the sole to spread the load of mast compression. Many, if not all of these have corroded away and either have been replaced or need to be replaced. If the 34 had the same type of keel mast base, your surveyor should have noted the condition of the step on the survey. If he hadn't specifically noted it and the material it's made of, I'd question the surveyor and find out what he'd found. If there was enough corrosion on the mast base to warrant correcting the problem, there's been a long history of saltwater around the base. Would really want to be sure whatever the mast is sitting on is still solid.

Common fix for this problem is to have a new mast seat made up that is the height of the material that has to be cut off the mast to get rid of the corroded area. That way the mast is the same height as orginal

One good idea on buying a boat is to be there when it's surveyed. Going over things directly with the surveyor as he's doing his inspection just after he completes the survey are a real benefit to you. You may have been there, but it didn't seem like it from your post.
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Old 03-03-2012, 13:13   #8
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Re: Cal 34 Deck Stepped Mast. Plywood Underneath?

I was there when it was surveyed, but still do not have the report and it was done on Wednesday.
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Old 03-03-2012, 13:25   #9
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Re: Cal 34 Deck Stepped Mast. Plywood Underneath?

Question - is the Cal 34 the boat you plan to "head out on" and make your sailing film? Just wondered...
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Old 24-03-2012, 06:53   #10
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Re: Cal 34 Deck Stepped Mast. Plywood Underneath?

I'm looking at a Cal 35, 1983. There is some corrosion around the plate inside the cabin, but it doesn't look serious. On deck, the rubber boot around the base of the mast is torn, but I didn't see any signs of rust or corrosion there. Haven't really got into making an offer or having a survey. I just looked at it yesterday. I'm interested in whatever you find out and how big a headache it could be.
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