Crushed fibers in main Bulkhead - a problem? - SailNet Community

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Old 05-02-2007
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Crushed fibers in main Bulkhead - a problem?

I have a 1977 Catalina 27 which I purchased last year without a survey.

One of the points which worried me at the time and still does! is the following:

The chainplate for the upper shrouds is fastened through the deck to the main bukhead inside the cabin. This is normal for a Catalina.

On my boat, where the chain plates are bolted to the Bulkhead, it looks as though the bolts have been over tightened and the backing washers have been pushed into the wood, crushing the fibers.

The bulkhead is otherwise in very good condition (and actually looks to have been replaced).

Is that crushing around the backing washers likely to have compromised the bulkhead's strength significantly?

Would I be well advised to replace the washers with a larger plate? Are there other repairs I should consider?

Many thanks.
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Old 05-02-2007
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I doubt it. Without looking at the pics, I would guess that it is not an issue. However, if it keeps you up at night, you could loosen the shroud (take pressure off of the first), and put on larger washers or even better, a backing plate.

I do not know that particulair boat, so am just going off of your description. Mainsheet might help - someone with firsthand knowledge of your 27.

- CD
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Old 05-02-2007
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It is not unusual for washers to be compressed into a piece of wood, all it takes is smaller washers and stronger bolts, compared to the wood itself. If the wood is dry and nothing is shifting, it probably is OK. It certainly wouldn't hurt to slack off the rigging, remove the bolts and inspect the wood under the chainplate since moisture running down those fittings can be a problem on any boat and you want to make sure the fitting is sealed well at the deck.

Usually, if the wood has been compromised, you will see the bolts working "up" sideways in the bulkhead. If they aren't doing that--you're probably OK.
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Old 05-03-2007
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If it really is a worry... you could take the bolts out... fair and fill the area with thickened epoxy, and then use a backing plate and slightly longer bolts after the epoxy has cured. If you use marine plywood for a backing plate, please coat it with epoxy to protect it from any possible leaks, and use fender washers under the nuts, to prevent them from sinking into the plywood backing board.
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Old 05-03-2007
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Sorry SD you covered the FW's

Last edited by poopdeckpappy; 05-03-2007 at 01:02 AM. Reason: SD covered the fender washers
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No worries PDP... can always use repeating... some people forget that even an epoxy coated marine plywood backer board still requires fender washers to protect it from the nuts digging in.
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Old 05-03-2007
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Quote:
Is that crushing around the backing washers likely to have compromised the bulkhead's strength significantly?
NO
Quote:
Would I be well advised to replace the washers with a larger plate?
Yes - two plates through-bolted would be even better.
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take a gander at the bottom of the bulkheads, especially the one in front of the head, and the one inside the aft section of the locker. The screws there are quite small and prone to rot.
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