Mast Step Question - SailNet Community

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Old 04-29-2010
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Mast Step Question

Hi All,

I recently had the mast removed on my 1989 34' Pacific Seacraft, to fix a leak. To keep water from entering the hole where the mast wires run through the cabin top, a piece of radiator hose had been glued to the aluminum base the mast sits on. The radiator hose had deteriorated to the point that water was seeping under it. Easy fix. However, inspecting the hole that runs through the cabin top, I see something that looks all wrong. At the base of the mast, the cabin top has been built up about an inch higher than the rest of the cabin top. This provides a level surface, and I assumed it added extra strength to the cabin top to take the load of the mast. Peering down the hole past the aluminum mast step and stainless steel plate, I expected to see solid fiberglass and plywood all the way to the compression post. Instead, I see a layer of fiberglass (the built up area) , followed by an air gap about 3/8'' deep, and then the fiberglass-plywood-fiberglass layer that the rest of the cabin top consist of. My first thought was that there use to be plywood where this air gap is, and that it rotted away. However, it is too clean. It does not appear that anything was ever in this space. I can take a coat hanger wire and probe this space, and it appears to go about 2 or 3 inches horizontally around the hole. I assume that where the bolts for the mast step and stainless steel plate go through the deck, that it is solid (no gap), but without removing them, I cannot tell. Has anyone else seen anything similar to this. I can't decide if this gap is per design, or if I should be figuring out a way to inject fiberglass resin or marine tex in this space.

Thanks,
Richard Elliott
Nepenthe
Lake Texoma, TX
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Old 04-30-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elliottrt View Post
Hi All,

I recently had the mast removed on my 1989 34' Pacific Seacraft, to fix a leak. To keep water from entering the hole where the mast wires run through the cabin top, a piece of radiator hose had been glued to the aluminum base the mast sits on. The radiator hose had deteriorated to the point that water was seeping under it. Easy fix. However, inspecting the hole that runs through the cabin top, I see something that looks all wrong. At the base of the mast, the cabin top has been built up about an inch higher than the rest of the cabin top. This provides a level surface, and I assumed it added extra strength to the cabin top to take the load of the mast. Peering down the hole past the aluminum mast step and stainless steel plate, I expected to see solid fiberglass and plywood all the way to the compression post. Instead, I see a layer of fiberglass (the built up area) , followed by an air gap about 3/8'' deep, and then the fiberglass-plywood-fiberglass layer that the rest of the cabin top consist of. My first thought was that there use to be plywood where this air gap is, and that it rotted away. However, it is too clean. It does not appear that anything was ever in this space. I can take a coat hanger wire and probe this space, and it appears to go about 2 or 3 inches horizontally around the hole. I assume that where the bolts for the mast step and stainless steel plate go through the deck, that it is solid (no gap), but without removing them, I cannot tell. Has anyone else seen anything similar to this. I can't decide if this gap is per design, or if I should be figuring out a way to inject fiberglass resin or marine tex in this space.

Thanks,
Richard Elliott
Nepenthe
Lake Texoma, TX
Richard
Why don't you call the PSC Factory and ask them? And if they recommend that you fill that void, being on Lake Texoma - you are not too far from the shipwrights at Valiant yachts - I'm sure they could fix her up.
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Ted
V42#186
s/v Little Wing
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Old 04-30-2010
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Richard,
I do not have an answer about the gap that you observed but I do think that calling the factory is a good idea.I do have info on the mast foot plate that you described however.That design with just a piece of hose in the hole to prevent water ingress is a prime reason for compression post rot on the 37.LaFiell the manufacturer of the mast plate has since redesigned the plate to have a SS nipple welded to it to replace the hose.It is quite inexpensive (approx $45.) and a permanent fix.The hard part is getting to the nuts on the bolts that hold the plate.

Good luck,
Dianne and Chuck Burke S/V NiftyNickers C37 #139
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Old 05-02-2010
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Thanks for the responses. I did contact Pacific Seacraft, and Thumper Brooks replied same day. He says there should not be any void there, and that it should be filled with glass before re-stepping the mast. Ted: I keep my boat at Cedar Mills Marina, home of Valiant Yachts. They do great work there, but labor is not cheap; so I always try to work these things out myself before getting the pros involved. Getting glass injected into the void area is not going to be easy, so I will at least get their opinion on how to proceed. Mr. Brooks also offered to talk me through it, if I give him a call next week. I'm really pleased with Pacific Seacraft's quick response and willingness to help despite the fact the boat was built over 20 years ago on the west coast.

Thanks again,
Richard Elliott
Nepenthe
[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']PSC 34 #146 [/FONT]
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