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Re: Bulkhead Replacement-Advice Needed
Caution here with total replacement of a P26 bulkhead!!!!!
As may you already know the 'bulkhead' and integral 'compression post' is the main structural support ... and its captured within a flanged configuration on the 'overhead' etc. It was OEM inserted BEFORE the hull and top deck was assembled. You're NOT going to get a new one-piece bulkhead into a P26 or other similar Pearson bulkhead into the flange configuration.
The simple solution will be to cut out (with careful precision) only the affected area and into adjacent 'good wood' and slip in new ... like doing wood inlay work for a jigsaw puzzle and then structurally joining the 'insert' to the rest of the main bulkhead via epoxy and 'structural battens', (white oak) etc. at the perfectly straight 'seams' between old and new. (this is a job for a 'multi-master' and a steel straight edge.)
First thing on the flanged Pearson bulkhead design is to check for the condition of rot at the bottom of the 'so-called' compression post (in the bilge !!!!) - easiest way is to see if the head companionway door 'hardware - hinges/lock,etc.' correctly/perfectly 'lines' up with the mating hardware of the bulkhead end AND that the door can open/close without binding in its 'jambs'.
Its the bulkhead that provides the upward force to support the mast, the compression post only supplies the upward force to the bottom section of bulkhead and stiffens the bulkhead ... very clever! When constructed, Pearson dropped in the bulkhead/post, put the two boat halves together .... and then .... drove a wooden wedge under the post in the bilge and simply tabbed over with cloth and polyester to hold the wedge in place. Most old pearsons will have that wedge missing or rotted (and the rot usually spreads into the post base), the bulkhead now loose, etc. The remedy is to cut/grind away all that 'tabbing' in the bilge and then make teeny test holes into the post base (any discolored 'drillings' is ROT), cut away any zone of rotted 'post' and replace with a solid FRG base ... and a solid FRG wedge, etc. The new FRG wedge driven in 'hard' under the new 'pedestal' base will provide and return the proper 'load' into the bulkhead.
Once you have verified the proper vertical compressive strain in the bulkhead, then you can 'fix' the errant problem under your chainplates, once the bulkhead has been correctly 're-set'.
The remedy for rot in outer edge of the bulkhead is simply 'cut and paste' ... and structurally joining the old the to new and 're-tabbing' to the hull. If the post end in the bilge isnt rotted, should be a quite simple job. Use 'quality' plywood for the replacement, and 'epoxy' cover all the exposed ends to prevent future rot. Tabbing in the new 'insert' to the hull will be the most important with respect to the 'shroud loads' ... you want the tabbing to 'rounded' and well 'filleted' ... overbuild the 'tabbing and fillets' !!!! ... to prevent 'hard spots' on the hull outer surfaces on that 'thin' hull.
Just unload most all the rigging strain, no need to unship the mast, just use a halyard(s), etc. to keep the mast 'upright' when you release/disconnect the cap shroud.
Most of the 'internet' solutions for your problem should be similar to this offered solution. There used to be a very extensive Pearson 26 website ... but is now abandoned/defunct. Perhaps someone on this 'list' may have some portions of the website saved and can share.
How's your 'rudder bearings'?
hope this helps, PM me if you need further.