Re: repairing wooden spreaders with mast steps installed
Where is your boat located? Here in windy San Francisco Bay, I wouldn’t skimp on replacing critical rig components like the spreaders (I personally wouldn’t even go sailing until they are replaced.) The main load on the spreaders is compression and simply slathering epoxy up there won’t fix the problem. You would need to sleeve it to make an effective repair and that would be more expensive than a simple replacement. Upper shroud or broken spreaders are the classic cause of dismasting. Going cheap upfront will wind up costing you more in the end.
Why would Catalina Direct recommend pulling the mast? Are their new spreader sockets integral with the mast tang for the lower shrouds? IMHO, I would take this as a sign that the stick be pulled and do an overhaul of thirty year old rig. Replacing each spreader in turn is a delicate operation with the stick up, but not impossible.
Frankly, I’m not wild about your mast steps. I’ve seen plenty in my time and your's is the first that were stabilized by guy wires. As an experiment, I would remove the guy wires and see what happens (my guess is the step mountings are not that secure and the wires are there in an attempt to stabilize the whole assembly.) If it was my boat, I’d remove the steps entirely and “plug” in the holes with tapped and bedded machine screws. The steps provide no useful purpose (how often do you go aloft to service the radio antenna and wind fly?) and are not adding any resale value to the boat. Going aloft in a C30 is a pretty easy affair (I’ve even done it while the boat was under way and I’m no rock climber!)
2000 Catalina 34 MkII