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Old 11-02-2012, 09:58   #1
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Ranger 29 Mast Compression

I'd like to write about this here because I can find absolutely nothing about fixing it or how stupid simple it is on the net. I have talked to two people that sold theirs though because of it. Our 74 ranger 29 sailboat has the problem. The mast sits on top of a tapered wood beam in the cabin which is screwed to the bulkhead between the main cabin and the head. That beam extends down to the cabin floor and under that, there is supposed to be a 2x6 beam sitting on the keel. It's about 2 to 2.5 feet long and is not glassed or screwed in place in any way. The front lower edge of it is tapered up to fit snugly under the compression post and distributing it's weight along the keel. The problem on mine and I assume all the other ranger 29's is that since this keel beam is not secured it has shifted aft and is no longer supporting the compression post. Now I have cracks in the floor and a head door that is tilted in it's tracks slightly. The fiberglass floor in the cabin is all that is holding up all that weight.
I discovered this by grinding out one of the cracks so I could see what was going on. I was able to get my finger on the beam under the floor and discovered it moves. That's not good. I was also able to get a finger under the compression post. That's really not good. I went on to find the end of the beam on the keel and drilled a hole so I can get a pry bar against the back of it. It moves easily. Now I just have to relieve the pressure off the cabin top and floor somehow and pry it all the way back under the compression post. I plan to loosen the stays and jack up the cabin top somehow. I'm not in a place where I can get a crane easily. Once it's back in place I think a few screws through the floor into that beam will keep it from ever moving out from under the compression post again.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:19   #2
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Re: Ranger 29 mast compression.

Photos or sketches please.

I would think that screws are a short to medium term solution that will give you time to think of something permanent.

Once the beam is back in place I would think about getting access under the liner. I have a friend with a Cal40 where the PO installed screw-in access ports in the pan so the metal beam under the mast and bulkhead could be regularly inspected. Corrosion of this beam is a recurring problem with Cal's.

With the beam in place you can consider several different ways to make it stay put permanently.
-Glassing the beam in place is an option but may create water drainage issues depending on how it is done.
-Glassing cleats to the hull that prevent the beam from moving is another option. The beam will still float around slightly but it won't be able to move so far that it is no longer under the compression post.

There may have been a reason to leave the beam loose or it may have been a QC oversight with the boats for a while.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:53   #3
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Re: Ranger 29 mast compression.

I agree with Adelie that securing the beam on the keel may be the preferable first step.

I'd look into ways to do that, get it secured in place and then secure the compression post to it.

Seems like you have grasped the problem though and that's sometimes the hard part. Hopefully you can get your ranger back in good shape soon.

Good luck!
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:23   #4
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Re: Ranger 29 mast compression.

Agree with Adelie. Best way to fix the problem is to get the mast down, to relieve the pressure on everything, let your deck and anything else that has been compressed, work its way to back to proper shape, etc. That gives you time to address the compression post and beam. I like the idea of an inspection port in your cabin floor.

Your mast is probably heavy, and difficult to get down without a crane, so you may have to resort to renting some kind of big jack to relieve the pressure from below. But getting the mast down would be preferable IMO.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:11   #5
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Re: Ranger 29 mast compression.

The inspection ports I have seen didn't go in the cabin sole, they went in the side of the liner that covered the beam across the bottom of the cabin. Looks like a transverse driveline hump from a car.
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Old 11-02-2012, 12:28   #6
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Re: Ranger 29 mast compression.

Does the beam under the mast compression post run fore and aft?

If you use jacks and a couple of 4x4s lengthwise can you jack up the cabin top where the mast step is? If so you might be able to take enough pressure off that beam in order to get it back into place.

That must be a design and QC problem with the Ranger 29.

kind regards,
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Old 14-02-2012, 11:30   #7
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Re: Ranger 29 Mast Compression

Sorry it took me a while to respond. I had to run back home to our farm and it's just been busy.
The beam under the compression post does run fore and aft. It's only about 2 feet long. I drilled another big hole at the aft end of it so I could see what was going on and cleaned out that section of bilge real good. It does appear that there used to be a steel stud at the back of it. Almost completely gone now. It's hard to tell what it is exactly but it looks like it was there to keep it from sliding aft.

What my plan is is to loosen all the rigging as much as possible and using a big oak board across the settees, jacking up the roof. I have a bunch of big screw jacks here at home and I'm sure they will get it. It appears I only need to go half an inch but once we get into it I may discover it is a bit more but not much. I can't think of any other way to secure it from sliding back again other than screws through the floor. There isn't anywhere to make a very large access in the floor pan that wouldn't weaken things in that area. It's weird how this was done.
Hopefully, once it's back in place we can get my mast to set right. I look at it now walking down the pier in relation to the neighbors boats and the mast is leaning way forward. It explains a lot with the handling problems I've had. I'm sure this plan is going to fix it. I do wish we could get a crane. There just isn't any way to do it.

Now I'm researching how to properly set the rake on the mast. I just read about using a heavy plumb bob on one of the halyards. Anyone have any good ideas that would help me. How much rake to put on it etc... Thanks a lot.
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Old 14-02-2012, 11:41   #8
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Re: Ranger 29 Mast Compression

Your mast doesn't weigh enough to worry about getting a crane. Just slack off your shrouds and stays a couple inches (make a note of where they were originally) and you should be able to jack up your cabin top enough to slide that beam back in place.

If you have enough room in the hole you cut in your cabin sole to glass in a hardwood cleat to keep the beam from sliding back again that would be good. If you don't then the screws through the sole will be ok. I can't imagine much pressure fore and aft on the beam.

If you can do photos then you might get more input from the folks here.

kind regards,
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Old 14-02-2012, 11:45   #9
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Re: Ranger 29 Mast Compression

Thanks for the reply. I tried taking pictures but I'm just looking at that beam through a couple 1 1/2 inch holes. It's impossible to see anything. I'll bring a good camera next time. My cell phone pics sucked.
I'm not sure about glassing anything down there. It's the lowest part of the bilge and always wet. I'd be worried about messing up drainage to the pump a few feet farther aft. I did poke around on the beam under there and couldnt find any rot so I'm happy about that. It must be a really good piece of wood they used.
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Old 14-02-2012, 11:49   #10
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Re: Ranger 29 Mast Compression

If you really wanted to stabilize that beam under the sole then you could use large hardwood dowels fit tight in holes drilled through your sole into the beam. Epoxy the dowels in place cut them off flush with the sole. Just a thought.
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Old 14-02-2012, 14:01   #11
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Re: Ranger 29 Mast Compression

OK a couple of thoughts. One, be careful about putting pressure on your settees when jacking up the cabin top. What kind of structure are the settees and can that structure withstand a lot of pressure? You don't want to create a new problem by trying to fix the compression post problem. Two, I bet there is a yacht club or maybe a marina in your area that has some kind of hoist that could help with getting your mast down if you think that is the best way to do this. I know there is at least one club in the Corpus Christie area that has a lot of one design sailing and clubs like that almost always have a hoist.
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Old 14-02-2012, 14:18   #12
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Re: Ranger 29 Mast Compression

There is house of boats. After what I saw last time in there it's a last resort only thing. I'm going up to Galveston this spring to repaint the bottom its so bad.
The settees are part of the entire interior liner that is dropped into the boat before the deck goes on. They have about the most bracing and strongest reinforcement of anything down below. The only other way I can think is a beam between the Vberth framework and a post coming up from the keel for a jack platform. I'll be sure to spread the load as much as possible when I do it. I've got 10 4x4s in the back of the truck for it now.
Corpus Christi marina has a lift that has been used for taking masts down. Problem there is they require one of their approved licensed contractors to do it. That's not going to happen.
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Old 14-02-2012, 14:32   #13
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Re: Ranger 29 Mast Compression

Re. mast rake. You might find that your mast rake looks better after you get the compression problem fixed. But if not, you should be able to get the mast closer to vertical by loosening the rig and tightening the backstay with the forestay nice and loose until the mast looks vertical. Then tighten the rig back up and you should be ok. Just make sure when you are tightening the rig that there is no bend in the mast and keep the top of the mast centered by measuring with your main halyard to the beam on either side of the mast. Usually it is best to tighten the lower shrouds first, then the uppers, then the backstay and forestay.

After you get all the stays snug, tighten each stay a few turns at a time, port then starboard or vice versa, and use a Loos gauge if you can borrow one to measure the tightness of each stay as you go.
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Old 14-02-2012, 14:37   #14
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Re: Ranger 29 Mast Compression

I don't have a loose gauge but do have another brand. It's an older one but it works great. Best of all you can calibrate it for any size cable. Thanks for the reply.
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Old 17-02-2012, 12:06   #15
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Re: Ranger 29 Mast Compression

Again, your mast doesn't weigh that much. I'll bet you physically could pick it up if it were horizontal even all dressed out. I carried my stripped wood mainmast from my Mariner 35 in and out of a building to end for end it when I was younger.
What you'll be doing with the jacks and bracing is lifting your mast, mast step and rigging plus taking out any deformation in your cabin top. You should have all your shrouds and stays really slack so you aren't working against your chainplates. The settee seats should be able to handle the pressure but if you are unsure then brace them from below if possible.
Hope you can get at it soon and let us know your progress.
kind regards,
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