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1964 Columbia 26 metal stringers has cracks under the mast
I have an original 1964 Columbia 26. Recently cracks started to appear (on both sides, forward and aft) under the metal stringer beneath the mast. It happened after I replaced the standing rigging and the mast was re-stepped (the yard said the mast wasn't dropped and I believe them). There are no cracks on the exterior deck and no water comes into the cabin. Also, the mast step is solid (no cracks) and there are no soft spots on the deck but there are a number of cracks in the fiberglass liner on the port stringer. Originally I thought they were just compression cracks but now I'm beginning to wonder if it's rust.
My suspicion is that either rust or metal fatigue in the 46 year old stringers is the culprit. As a solution, I'm considering shoring up the bulkheads with 2x6 cedar posts or simply putting in a compression post.
I'd love to hear from any owners, former or current, who have dealt with this problem.