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Jrod63 09-20-2006 03:13 PM

Cal 34 deck/mast support
I've been sailing for years but I'm new to boat ownership. I'm looking at a Cal 34 1969. I've sailed the boat several times in different conditions and she seems solid.

However, I've been told by a surveyor that the decking, forward of the mast, has moisture as measured by a moisture meter. He also observed cracks beneath the mast area in the ceiling inside the cabin. He suspects that the weakening of the deck is causing the mast to depress the surrounding decking causing the cracking. He suggests that repairs will have to be completed before insurance will be issued on the boat.

Does anyone have any experience with this issue or have advice? Is it reasonable to expect to repair this myself?


Cal 34

Sialia 09-22-2006 11:20 AM


Did the surveyor discuss the fix for the deck problem? If he's certain that you will not be able to get insurance because of the moisture, did he provide you with the moisture level? And is the plywood core delaminated from the deck? I would start with the surveyor and get a full description of the problem, which you probably have, and a full description of how he would go about fixing it. This will give you an idea of what to do and possibly a list of specific questions for this forum and a nearby boatyard.

Good luck! I hope that some of our knowledgeable members post additional responses.

knothead 09-22-2006 11:36 AM

We've had a couple of boats with the problems you are describing.
We cut a fairly large section of the deck out around the step exposing the soaked core. Usually it's not reasonable to expect to get all the wet core exposed. We removed the core where the section was cut out and then tried to dry as best we could the rest. We used acetone and fans. Then we layed up glass to replace the core, replaced the section we originally removed and had a glass guy make it look pretty.
Make sure the compression post or bulkhead is doing it's job. Replace it or add one if necessary.
Last resort, add a section to the mast and make her keel stepped. Lots more work but no more worries about a soft cabin house.

hellosailor 09-22-2006 11:56 AM

Jrod, that's a typical problem from either a deck failure or overtightening the shrounds and pulling the mast down into the deck. The folks at West System Epoxies have PDFs online that can show you the process and what is needed, it is not difficult although it will take some of your time.

sailingdog 09-22-2006 01:45 PM

Does this boat have a compression post, inside the cabin, to transfer the load from the mast step on deck to the keel? On some boats, the forward bulkhead does the work of the compression post. If it does, what shape is the post in?? If not, add one.

Overtightening the shrouds can also lead to the deck lifting if the chainplates aren't secured and reinforced properly. After repairing the mast and compression post, it would probably be wise to get the rig properly tuned.

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