While it is definitely worth checking out the mast step and the bolts for it...and if they're not potted properly, potting them with epoxy is a cheap form of insurance against future problems. However, it is very likely that the leak is not at the mast step at all. Given that you've tried to spray down the mast step area and gotten no results... it is far more likely that the leak is elsewhere on the deck and travelling along the interior of the cabin to appear at the top of the compression post.
Also, is the compression post aluminum, wood or steel? And what is the compression post seated on? If the leak is coming to the top of the compression post, it is likely travelling downhill to it...meaning that the compression post is lower than it might ought to be. The center of the cabintop is generally the highest part...and for the water to be leaking at the top of the compression post... it has probably been depressed a bit past what the factory specs are...
Most deck-stepped mast seats are wholly external to the boat, and the only thing that connects them with the interior of the boat is usually the bolts that hold them in place. In some cases they are through-bolted to the top of the compression post, in others, they're not.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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