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Anyone interested, I fixed mine on the water, in a month, for around $500 total! I've got a photo-log of the whole thing. I didn't remove bulkheads, I did maintain beam to bulkhead connection (it should be duly noted and accommodated that the steel beam was intended for more than just holding the mast up--just filling in the vacant cavity with foam/fiberglass isn't enough) and, once it was back together, there wasn't a trace that I'd ripped her apart. Then I sailed it a thousand miles to Mexico. If you need some help/hope, hit me up for details. -Shipwreck
 

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Shipwreck-

I think that many could benefit from hearing more about how you did it. Please post more details with pictures id you have them. Or maybe a link to your blog? Thanks.
 

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BEAM ME UP SHIPWRECK!!!

Sorry, I was out doing a charter... So, anyway, I'm a lot more boat-savvy than computer-savvy. I can email pictures--but I'm not sure how I put them on here... I'll try to be descriptive.

How I did it...

1. Beam removal:

A. To take the load off the compression post, I lowered the mast using the boom as cantilever--I'm sure you know the drill.

B. Then, I removed the sliding door, it's wooden slider from the floor, and the wooden starboard stow-space panel to allow full access to the fiberglass sole (My new boat didn't have a toilet installed, so no removal necessary there).

C. Using one of those handy-dandy Harbor Freight Oscillating Tools and a shop-vac I cut out the sole along lines that would be completely hidden when I re-installed the door slider-thingy (hmm is that the proper term?)--in other words, within an inch of the bulkhead.

D. Using a block and tackle rigged to the downed mast through the hatch I was able to break the sole free of it's polyester bond to the hull (it was only bonded in a few blobs). And there she was--that blasted beam--rusted through and through.

E. I opened up the port settee and cut-&-vac'ed enough of the sole away from the tabs to allow my handy-dandy Harbor Freights 3" grinder space to cut the steel without throwing any fiberglass dust about (I was living aboard as I was working and, obviously, could not stand fiberglass dust)

F. For the starboard tab, I used the oscillator to cut away just enough of the bulkhead to allow it to escape intact.

G. Then, out came the handy-dandy Harbor Freights 3" grinder. I cut off the central and port tabs and then cut the beam in half. At that point, removal wasn't much more of a challenge.

2. Beam replacement.

A. Instead of paying out the wazzooo for a custom made marine grade stainless steel beam, I decided to rely on time-tested, tried-and-true, old-(and new)-fashioned boat building methods... I only paid out the wazzooo for a bit of 1/4" marine grade stainless steel L-Bar and a few extended-lengthed tabs to be thru-bolted to it all, totalling under $200. (NOTE: One of the tabs was super-extended to account for the starboard bulkhead attachment being only lag-screwed, and, thus, requiring additional fastener points for added strength)

B. I traced the beam (minus all three tabs) onto two planks of Douglass Fir and cut them out. I cut them a little smaller in overall size to account/allow for the impending encasement in glass. In addition, I cut them 1/4" short (meaning from top to bottom--not side to side) to allow for the eventual addition of the L-Bar across the top. And, if for naught but a tribute to how things should have been, I cut a 1.5" arch out of the centers of their bottoms to allow for the inevitable icebox drainage to flow freely to the bilge.

C. I drilled them for bolting.

D. Then, I bolted the two together with counter-sunk heavy duty marine grade stainless steel bolts, sandwiching between them a laminate of mat, roving, and polyester resin (I'm still a big fan of polyester--yes, yes, I know Epoxy is better in every way [except price], but polyester has worked well in boat-building for decades and, well, as cool as titanium hammers are, I still use steel.)

E. I encased the entire beam--stainless bolts and all--in a heavy layer of glass matt & roving.

F. I then fitted the L-Bar to the top of the beam and drilled two holes in the central and port tabs, through the L-Bar and through the beam for eventual heavy-duty-marine-grade-stainless-steel bolt assembly.

G. I sealed all 4 holes in the beam with polyester resin and now had a completely water-proof beam complete L-Bar reinforcement and all but the starboard tab.

3. Fitting. (before preparing the starboard tab, which would now be on the forward side of the bulkhead, some fit-work was in order)

A. To account for some 40 years of compression and material memory and to reset to allow for another 40, I used a car-jack directly under the compression post to lift the sole, and thus the post, and thus the deck by around 1/3" or so. With the sole raised, I hammered a few sacrificial 2"-square chunks of cheap particle board underneath on both starboard and port sides to maintain the new height for fitting and installation (eventually, under compression and with exposure to excessive moisture they would crush and erode away)

B. I faired the hull from where the former beam had been semi-glassed in

C. Under the settee, I lag-screwed on fiberglassed 9"x9" plywood backing plates over where the previous tabs had been and sealed them with polyurethane (5200). Then I drilled for the new tabs

D. On the forward side of the starboard bulkhead, I also lag-screwed and 52'd a backing plate.

E. I masked the hull under where the beam would lay then bolted the new tabs in place and temporarily assembled the entire beam (tabs-to-L-Bar-to-beam) to check fit.

E. Using single strips of finishing cloth, I glassed the bottom of the beam to the masked hull so that, upon removal, I would have an accurate depiction of where my beam needed filled in with more glass for a snug fit.

F. I marked the starboard backing plate on the beam

G. Removing the beam and L-Bar, and using the thin finishing cloth markers, I filled in more glass for a snug fit

H. I cut a slice into the starboard side of the beam and L-Bar allowing for the third and final extra-large tab to slide in. Then I drilled through the beam, the tab, more beam, and the L-Bar for bolting.

I. I sealed the beam with polyester.

J. Then, I bolted the starboard tab in place--sandwiched within the beam and thru-bolted to the L-Bar.

4. Assembly/Reinstallation

A. From there, well, you can surely figure out the rest... Hammer the beam & L-Bar back in with a rubber mallet. Bolt them in place to the central and port-side tabs (thoroughly sealing all bolt-holes in the process, of course) and lag-screwing the starboard tab in place (mind you, here I did use epoxy to seal the screw-to-wood-bonds from corrosion).

B. Put the mast back up

C. Glass the floor back down (I waited 2 months for this, just so I could thoroughly check my work through some rough sailing before semi-permanently hiding it away from sight) again with Polyester (come on, nothing on a boat is final until you sell it or it sinks! Epoxy is wonderful and all, but it is not the answer to every question [and, while we're on the topic, neither is 5200!!!]--besides, that's how they glassed it down originally). Fair.

C. Reinstall all wood

D. Put in a head

Ta Da!

(It's 4:42AM... I gotta go to bed)

-Shipwreck
 

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Hello, I know I’m late to the party here but I thought I’d post re the transverse beam. I have a 1972 Cal 29 and replaced the transverse beam last winter. Much of my beam could be removed with a shop vac. We made a mold and have created two beams now out of fiberglass. I would be happy to provide photos or converse with anyone who might be interested in more details.
 

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Hello, I know I’m late to the party here but I thought I’d post re the transverse beam. I have a 1972 Cal 29 and replaced the transverse beam last winter. Much of my beam could be removed with a shop vac. We made a mold and have created two beams now out of fiberglass. I would be happy to provide photos or converse with anyone who might be interested in more details.
Photos would sure be welcome, sir. Thx
 

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Here is a video review of a USB Endoscope (bore-scope) you can buy off E-Bay for less than $20 shipped:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee7Pr4XsDGw

Here is a link to the Ebay auction:
2M Waterproof 6 LED USB Endoscope Insprection Tube Camera 7mm Lens Mirror EK | eBay
This is the cheapest auction I could find for this product, and it even includes a 90-degree mirror attachment, which is a nice touch.

I'll buy one after I've moved my boat closer to home. Heck, once I've moved it, it will be my home! For now, I'm not spending money on anything that doesn't contribute to that goal!
 

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WOW "The Beam of Death"!
I have hull # 3 and have been very satisfied with the construction of the hull and deck. The glassed hull to deck joint and encapsulated keel were two big selling points for me. The "beam of death" was of no interest to me as I have some experience in materials science and in my opinion the beam could have been left out during construction and the fiberglass beam would have supported the mast compression load just fine. One strong point with the Cal design is keeping the compression post up high where it stays dry.
(Take a look at most other boats in this size range and the Cal 29 mast is very well supported. Most just come to the cabin sole liner or direct to the boat bottom.)
 

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Norahsark1

Very interesting what you say about the "beam" not being necessary. I am looking at a Cal 2-29 and would like to know how you determined this! What fiberglass beam are you referring to and do you have any pictures of it? This would be a bonus if I don't have to do anything about this cursed beam.

Geoff
 

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WOW "The Beam of Death"!
I have hull # 3 and have been very satisfied with the construction of the hull and deck. The glassed hull to deck joint and encapsulated keel were two big selling points for me. The "beam of death" was of no interest to me as I have some experience in materials science and in my opinion the beam could have been left out during construction and the fiberglass beam would have supported the mast compression load just fine. One strong point with the Cal design is keeping the compression post up high where it stays dry.
(Take a look at most other boats in this size range and the Cal 29 mast is very well supported. Most just come to the cabin sole liner or direct to the boat bottom.)
NORAHSARK1,
I have recently purchased a Cal 29 which looks in good shape. There is no indication of structural damage around the cabin top or the base of the compression post on the fiberglass cross beam/sill, indeed, as you say, the size and shape of the fiberglass sill looks sufficient to react any mast loads.
I have read several posts about the keel beam and am curious about the loads it is there to react, given it is not sitting on the keel, is not attached to the outer hull, and is connected to the bulkhead on each side by the two tabs and the mast compression post by the centre tab.
If the keelbeam is supporting significant mast loads then some reinforcement of the fiberglass beam externally may solve the problem rather than major demolition of the floor pans etc to replace the corroded beam.
Cheers
Alan
 

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Looking at a 79 cal 29, would the beam be stainless??? The boat needs main bulkhead, can I do both repairs at the same time? Is it best to do repairs like this when the boat is in the water to help keep her natural shape?? Thank you!
 
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