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Old 17-05-2016, 13:34   #16
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

Problem with ALL plywood - including "marine grade" - is that the edges are ALWAYS half end grain that acts as a sponge. Before installation all edges need to be sealed against moisture ingress. Capstrips work fine, but I wouldn't expect a 1975 Catalina 27 to have cap strips on edges that don't show.

Furthermore, plywood with "fancy" veneer faces such as teak, are not necessarily made with water PROOF glue. Water RESISTANT, maybe, but not Water PROOF. That's why the stuff delaminates.

And a further "furthermore", if the end grain water absorbtion is severe, then a freeze/thaw cycle can delaminate the sheet by rupturing the walls of the cells of the wood. That is not a glue problem.

But apart from all that, it is clear that the OP needs to pay more attention to keeping his boat dry below and well ventilated.

And one more "furthermore": Dry rot, if it is indeed dry rot the OP has, i.e. an infestation by the Serpula lacrymans fungus, he should know that it will only set spores and spread in a very limited range of relative moisture. IIRC the minimum moisture level for spore generation is 30% and it is most rapid at 40%

Here is a good site to "get your feet wet" :-)

Dry Rot - The Facts from the Dry Rot Experts | Timberwise

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Old 17-05-2016, 13:43   #17
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

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The fact that you have to clean all the mould up in the spring should be telling you that you have a really damp environment. It is not normal to have to do this!

You need to take measures to prevent all this damp. Heater, dehumidifier, ventilation, whatever.
I think Mark has this nailed and the solution is find that leak then ensure that boat is always ventilated and some more ventilation and finally ventilation.

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Old 17-05-2016, 15:47   #18
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

charrob,

First, for the boat, find out where the water's coming in. As suggested above, the boat's environment is abnormally damp. Then, deal with the bulkhead.

Fix all the entry points. Investicate the forum for your kind of boat. Those guys will be up on the kinds of problems to look for, and also the fixes that work.

I don't know for sure what has crashed your wood, but varnish doesn't stop timber from rotting, just keeps it looking nice. People use wax, or oil, according to personal preference. We have varnish.

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Old 18-05-2016, 12:54   #19
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

I'm a member of Barnet Sailing Coop and we have a fleet of 6 Catalina 27's. We have had a similar experience on a couple of our boats. It is most likely the chain plate as mentioned by others in this thread. It makes sense as you say that you have a mold issue on the starboard side of your boat. Remove the chain plate from the bulkhead, remove the bulkhead and use it as a template for cutting a new one from marine grade plywood and reinstall. Not that difficult. While your at it, time to re-bed all your chain plates and deck fittings, makes a big difference! Check the window frames, we have found many of our leaks came from those areas as well. We have replaced all of the windows over the past 10 years, it has helped enormously.

As well as adding a heat source as mentioned, you may want to consider a fan/vent for the v-berth area. This will allow flow through ventilation to control your mold issues.

Good luck!
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Old 18-05-2016, 13:01   #20
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

I owned a 1977 Catalina 27 and what you are describing is a common problem in those era boats.

The bulkhead are made from plywood and the chain plates are attacked to them. Water leaks down the chain plates and rots the wood.

The best fix is replacing the Bulkheads with Marine Grade Plywood.

There are a number of blogs and web sites that show you how to do this... Here is one of them:
Catalina 27 bulkhead replacement

Here is a Youtube video showing hte delaminated bulkheads too:
https://youtu.be/_NPeDzNtLrY

I would also suggest you join the International Catalina 27 Association... There were 6400 of the C-27s made and the owners have done it all on these boats. They have a list of upgrades/common failures on the 27s:
International Catalina 27/270 Association

I had a lot of fun with my C-27 and I wish you luck with yours!
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Old 18-06-2016, 18:48   #21
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

Thank you to everyone for your advice and help. I just received in my email the estimate our marina gives for this work: $1855.70. This includes: unstepping and stepping the mast, removing and replacing bulkhead, teak faced marine grade plywood, re-bedding starboard chainplates, re-bedding starboard middle port light, shop supplies and sales tax.

I paid $3700 for the boat about 5 or 6 years ago. We don't have a clue how to begin doing this work ourselves, and unstepping then stepping the mast looks like a huge job that only a marina can do.

Every year we've put in $thousands for problems with the boat. Now we're unsure if it makes any sense to spend so much more when the boat only cost $3700 to begin with.

Would like your advice: what would you do? Would you pay this much at this point or trash the boat and forget it? There are other issues with the boat: we need our genoa sewed or replaced, and the 3 boards that you take off to get into the cabin need to be replaced (we haven't priced that yet). We were going to do these in time, but now with this issue we're not sure what to do.
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Old 18-06-2016, 19:50   #22
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

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Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
I owned a 1977 Catalina 27 and what you are describing is a common problem in those era boats.

The bulkhead are made from plywood and the chain plates are attacked to them. Water leaks down the chain plates and rots the wood.

The best fix is replacing the Bulkheads with Marine Grade Plywood.

There are a number of blogs and web sites that show you how to do this... Here is one of them:
Catalina 27 bulkhead replacement

Here is a Youtube video showing hte delaminated bulkheads too:
https://youtu.be/_NPeDzNtLrY

I would also suggest you join the International Catalina 27 Association... There were 6400 of the C-27s made and the owners have done it all on these boats. They have a list of upgrades/common failures on the 27s:
International Catalina 27/270 Association

I had a lot of fun with my C-27 and I wish you luck with yours!
Thanks jeremiason. While it's not good that others experience this, it is a bit reassuring that we haven't just purchased a lemon and that it is a common problem. I watched the youtube you have linked and that's exactly what is happening to our wood -- only it's on the starboard side not the port side. Upon taking a hose and squirting it at all the deck fixtures, we figured out it was the starboard chainplate as well as the middle starboard window that was leaking. Then we let our Marina know and I just received a response back from them that it will be $1855.70 to fix. We love the boat but are just wondering how much more we should put into it; we just got 2 back cleats put in for $1300.00 and we only paid $3700 for the boat. It seems the problems are endless...
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Old 18-06-2016, 19:51   #23
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

The sails and companionway boards are minor issues. Basically, consider them to be normal maintenance.
But do you like your boat? Getting a different boat will just be another boat to put money on, not necessarily better, just different problems. Thats the nature of boat ownership.
If you like your boat, just keep it, repait it and keep on using it.
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Old 18-06-2016, 20:10   #24
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

Charrob:

You ask explicitly "what would YOU do"[emphasis is mine]

So here is what I would do, and my reasons for doing it. At least here is how I would get started, how I would get my head around the options :-)

The Catalina 27 was an 'el cheapo" boat built to be marketed to the innocent. The builders succeeded admirably in what they set out to do. But even so, the Cat27 CAN me made into a reasonably competent coastal cruiser, but to have that done by "professional" high paid help would be totally daft - a complete waste of money.

You could (possibly) find an innocent who'd pay you money for your Cat27 "as is", though with obvious rot in her, that would no doubt be a long shot. Maybe someone would take her on as a "project". The world is full of innocents :-)

You could pay to have her assassinated, butchered and buried in a landfill. That would no doubt cost more than you originally paid for her, and it would certainly cost more than to do the "fix" yourself.

Courage, my friends, the fix is EASY! It IS labour intensive, but it is far from difficult, even if you know squat about this kinda work at this point.

Courage, my friends, there are people here who will guide you through the work, bit by bit, and at the end of it you will have a perfectly good little cruiser - not a cruiser to my taste, but it ain't I who'll be sailing her ;-)!

So sit back for a week or two, and spend that time thinking and talking to us. Doing that is TOTALLY FREE and, we flatter ourselves :-), very educational. The rot won't get any worse in two weeks, and you'll learn a lot. At the end of the work, if you undertake it, you'll have a little cruiser that will serve you well, and if you are willing to put in the labour and the "larnin'" you'll come away with pride in your accomplishment and as fully accredited members of the cruising clan - real sailors!

And if you do the work right, that gawdawful hemorrhaging of money that many yacht owners experience will stop. Ordinary maintenance will never stop, but the cost of your hobby can be kept within reason.

So what do you say? I speak for many members of CF, I'm sure, when I say that if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get to work, we are willing give you guidance as you go, and see you through this for minimum bux.

Oh, don't worry about that mast business! I'd be VERY surprised if we can't go about this without pulling the stick!

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Old 19-06-2016, 09:58   #25
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

First. The people that charged you $1300 to put in two cleats are thieves. Never , ever ,ever, use them for anything again.
Second, take some good pictures of the rot and bulkhead in question so we may be able to help you more. There may be other ways to fix the problem well enough.
Was it the main bulkhead?
Is the bulkhead tabbed/glassed to the hull?
It seems I remember Catalina's bulkhead just sitting in a groove in the fiberglass floor pan?
Is it even a bulkhead that matters for strength or just a divider panel?


Boats always require maintenance and you really need to be able to start doing some of this your self. You may choose to not replace bulkheads yourself but should be ready and able to add a couple cleats etc.
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Old 22-06-2016, 10:24   #26
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

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Originally Posted by charrob View Post
We love the boat but are just wondering how much more we should put into it; we just got 2 back cleats put in for $1300.00 and we only paid $3700 for the boat. It seems the problems are endless...
You might want to shop around for a new boatyard if they charged $1300 to put in aft mooring cleats.

As far as the price for replacing the bulkhead, that sounds high too.

The Boatyard DOES NOT have to step the mast to replace the bulkheads, just ease the rigging to take the pressure off the cabin trunk.

I loved my C-27 and put way too much money into that boat, but I learned a lot along the way...

Good luck!
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Old 22-06-2016, 20:41   #27
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
First. The people that charged you $1300 to put in two cleats are thieves. Never , ever ,ever, use them for anything again.
Second, take some good pictures of the rot and bulkhead in question so we may be able to help you more. There may be other ways to fix the problem well enough.
Was it the main bulkhead?
Is the bulkhead tabbed/glassed to the hull?
It seems I remember Catalina's bulkhead just sitting in a groove in the fiberglass floor pan?
Is it even a bulkhead that matters for strength or just a divider panel?


Boats always require maintenance and you really need to be able to start doing some of this your self. You may choose to not replace bulkheads yourself but should be ready and able to add a couple cleats etc.
Absolutely. I hate to see people just throw money at these projects, no wonder projects get such a bad rap. Make some nautical friends, get some advice from someone who can do these things, its not magic. Books are a wonderful thing, so is Youtube which has a lot of boat repair and construction videos. Even if you don't do the work yourself you will know that $1300 is piracy for such a simple project.
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Old 22-06-2016, 22:42   #28
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

Mold: I've been using a product called MX-3 for several years. It's clear and mixes in almost any paint, stain or varnish. I use it inside and out it keeps mold and other green stuff from growing in a damp climate. I put it in the primer and finish or the stain and the polyurethane I use for varnish. It also works in epoxy primers and finishes. Available at Home Depot and online.
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Old 13-12-2016, 15:44   #29
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

Hi Folks.

I've got a (new to me) 78' Cat 27, as well....and the i think the exact same problem. About six inches of starboard side rotted bulkhead. The rot is at the bottom, right next to the hull. Most of the wood in the head is rotted as well.

I suspect leaky windows and maybe a leaky chain-plate.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't seem like a complicated fix. If I use the existing wood (as damaged as it is) as a template...a sheet of marine grade plywood is only ~$40 at Home Depot.

I'm doing a full refit of the gawdawful electrical system first. The bulkhead/galley fix may well wait until next off season.
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Old 13-12-2016, 19:31   #30
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Re: Wood rotting in cabin of 1978 Catalina 27'

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At the end of each season we take out all the seat cushions, etc., in the boat and put in our attic.
Very good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by charrob View Post
Over the winter the inside gets pretty disgusting -- a lot of black mold and dirt particularly on the starboard side. So at the beginning of each season we spend a couple days really scrubbing her down with comet to get rid of the mold.
As mentioned already this shows that the 'boat-climate' is MUCH to humide. You need a dehumidifier (electric) or several which work with granulate.

[Edit] and please make sure that not too much humid air enters the cabine. I put some coffee powder in a cup and this (don't know how to say in english) attracts the odor. -
What about a book like e.g. 'This old boat' from Casey to provide some 'boat-updating' background?
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