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Mast Step Leaking!!

Hi, all. I've got a leaky mast step on my 1981 O'day 22. I plan to cut it out from the top, but have the following questions. I may need to cut quite a bit out so that's why I'm not going in from the bottom since there is a bulkhead near the damaged area. I appreciate the help!

1. Do I coat the plywood with epoxy before inserting it?
2. do I secure the plywood to the deck? If so, how?
3. What type of epoxy do I use to pour into the surrounding area around the plywood? Or do I use fiberglass? If so, which type?
4. Any thoughts on how to ensure the holes remain where they need to be? I was thinking of trying to reuse the skin which would have the holes already placed.
5. If I don't use the existing skin, could I finished off the epoxy with a layer of gelcoat?

On a side note, the crack visible from beneath the plate seems to not have been created by accident. There's also a wire that looks electrical as you can make out but it's stiff. I would assume that crack needs to be filled in.

-Seth
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-07-2017
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Re: Mast Step Leaking!!

Why do you want to cut it out? It makes no sense, as it will seriously weaken the structure. You strip it to bare fiberglass on both sides, make strong fiberglass patches on both sides, and reinstall the mast step.

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Re: Mast Step Leaking!!

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Originally Posted by CapriC View Post
Hi, all. I've got a leaky mast step on my 1981 O'day 22. I plan to cut it out from the top, but have the following questions. I may need to cut quite a bit out so that's why I'm not going in from the bottom since there is a bulkhead near the damaged area. I appreciate the help!

1. Do I coat the plywood with epoxy before inserting it?
2. do I secure the plywood to the deck? If so, how?
3. What type of epoxy do I use to pour into the surrounding area around the plywood? Or do I use fiberglass? If so, which type?
4. Any thoughts on how to ensure the holes remain where they need to be? I was thinking of trying to reuse the skin which would have the holes already placed.
5. If I don't use the existing skin, could I finished off the epoxy with a layer of gelcoat?

On a side note, the crack visible from beneath the plate seems to not have been created by accident. There's also a wire that looks electrical as you can make out but it's stiff. I would assume that crack needs to be filled in.

-Seth
You can coat the plywood but probably don't need to. When I did my 25 I used small screws to hold the plywood in place and then removed them once the epoxy cured. Use West System epoxy, I used a little 404 filler to thicken it up a bit. Cut the skin out and re-use it, you can fill in the seams with thickened epoxy, more 404. Use Butyl Tape to make sure this doesn't happen again. Now you will have enough experience to do your toe rails, they are going to leak if not already, and any other deck penetrations, check those bulkheads.

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Re: Mast Step Leaking!!

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Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
Why do you want to cut it out? It makes no sense, as it will seriously weaken the structure. You strip it to bare fiberglass on both sides, make strong fiberglass patches on both sides, and reinstall the mast step.
There is a plywood core that for certain is a rotting mess, that's why.

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Re: Mast Step Leaking!!

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There is a plywood core that for certain is a rotting mess, that's why.
If the cabin top core is indeed rotten, inserting a small section of new plywood might not be such a great fix, because some flexing is going to happen even with the compression post being properly installed. But, yes, it would still be better than just patching up the fiberglass on both sides.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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Re: Mast Step Leaking!!

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Originally Posted by cb32863 View Post
You can coat the plywood but probably don't need to. When I did my 25 I used small screws to hold the plywood in place and then removed them once the epoxy cured. Use West System epoxy, I used a little 404 filler to thicken it up a bit. Cut the skin out and re-use it, you can fill in the seams with thickened epoxy, more 404. Use Butyl Tape to make sure this doesn't happen again. Now you will have enough experience to do your toe rails, they are going to leak if not already, and any other deck penetrations, check those bulkheads.
thanks! So once I replace the plywood, I would pour West System, and not have to use fiberglass? I really didn't want to get into the glass and all, so that would be good news. Would I wait for that pour to harden and then glue down skin with additional epoxy?
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Re: Mast Step Leaking!!

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thanks! So once I replace the plywood, I would pour West System, and not have to use fiberglass? I really didn't want to get into the glass and all, so that would be good news. Would I wait for that pour to harden and then glue down skin with additional epoxy?
You shouldn't have to glass if you use the old skin. I ran some screws through the skin in to the new plywood to hold the skin down. I put a layer of west over the set in plywood and then set the skin on and screwed it down. After all that sets, you can pull the screws and use thickened epoxy to fill the holes and and the seams. Sand it smooth and paint it. Or as I did, just left it and sold my boat to a kid who almost took it all the way down the Mississippi to NOLA from here in MN.

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Re: Mast Step Leaking!!

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Originally Posted by cb32863 View Post
You shouldn't have to glass if you use the old skin. I ran some screws through the skin in to the new plywood to hold the skin down. I put a layer of west over the set in plywood and then set the skin on and screwed it down. After all that sets, you can pull the screws and use thickened epoxy to fill the holes and and the seams. Sand it smooth and paint it. Or as I did, just left it and sold my boat to a kid who almost took it all the way down the Mississippi to NOLA from here in MN.
I really appreciate the info. I feel more confident about cutting into my boat. Wow, not sure I'd want to sail down that river considering what I've seen floating in it!
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Re: Mast Step Leaking!!

Not sure how long that repair will last. the strength of the deck is in the fiberglass not the plywood. if you cut through the skin and don't do a overlapping layup of fiberglass you will not have a structure that is as strong as the original. Most likely it will crack at the cut seams and it may fail in a big way and someone could get hurt.
west system has a repair booklet you should read first.
http://www.westsystem.com/wp-content...anual-2015.pdf
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Re: Mast Step Leaking!!

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Originally Posted by overbored View Post
Not sure how long that repair will last. the strength of the deck is in the fiberglass not the plywood. if you cut through the skin and don't do a overlapping layup of fiberglass you will not have a structure that is as strong as the original. Most likely it will crack at the cut seams and it may fail in a big way and someone could get hurt.
west system has a repair booklet you should read first.
http://www.westsystem.com/wp-content...anual-2015.pdf
Thank you for the input! I'll give it a read.
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