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Deck step repair

Nov 21, 2020
15
Cal Cal 27 MKIII Fort Pierce, Florida
Purchased a 1984 Cal 27 MKIII that needs some TLC I'm willing to take on but would appreciate some insight and possibly some tips on repairing a dished, cracked area below where mast is attached to deck. Boat had leaked at chainplates enough to rot bulkhead so, will have to replace it. My main concern in the settling, dishing on deck. Compression post looks okay but am not sure if it goes all the way down to keel or how it is attached. Would appreciate any info on that. Another concern is, if the post attaches to cabin ceiling, could the area, fiberglass, core, decking, between post and where mast steps be compromised and/or compressed? Want to do a proper and safe repair so, any info, advice, tips, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
Jan 1, 2006
5,290
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
I think the answer is yes to most of those questions - sorry to say. As for the deck being dished in around the mast - that's bad. You pretty much have to assume the core of the deck is soft around the mast (If I understood your statement). I don't know, on the Catalina 27, what supports the mast on the boat bottom. But many boats have the mast sitting either on a piece of wood or a fiberglassed step with wood inside. Either can soften and allow the mast to collapse a bit. The compression post may be fine. But the deck is losing support anyway.
So I would work from the bottom up. The deck step, compression post, then deck. Chainplates and bulkheads after.
You'll get lots of tips here. But basically you'll have to decide whether to attack the deck from above or below. First order of business on the deck is to map out the soft areas by sounding or moisture meter. That includes the chain plate area which leaked and is at risk for deck core softening too.
 
Nov 21, 2020
15
Cal Cal 27 MKIII Fort Pierce, Florida
I think the answer is yes to most of those questions - sorry to say. As for the deck being dished in around the mast - that's bad. You pretty much have to assume the core of the deck is soft around the mast (If I understood your statement). I don't know, on the Catalina 27, what supports the mast on the boat bottom. But many boats have the mast sitting either on a piece of wood or a fiberglassed step with wood inside. Either can soften and allow the mast to collapse a bit. The compression post may be fine. But the deck is losing support anyway.
So I would work from the bottom up. The deck step, compression post, then deck. Chainplates and bulkheads after.
You'll get lots of tips here. But basically you'll have to decide whether to attack the deck from above or below. First order of business on the deck is to map out the soft areas by sounding or moisture meter. That includes the chain plate area which leaked and is at risk for deck core softening too.
 
Nov 21, 2020
15
Cal Cal 27 MKIII Fort Pierce, Florida
Thanks for response. Have looked at other posts and have an idea of what I'm getting into but, I guess, am looking for best approach. Haven't looked super close yet but will look at step at base of post. I'm guessing post sits down inside the raised portion of cabin sole. I'm going to have to remove bulkhead so, guess I'll see how to access everything. I will have to look again but, believe the deck is raised where the mast steps to deck. Could be settling there.
 
Oct 22, 2014
13,454
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Welcome to the forum. I enjoy the strong construction of my CAL 35C boat. Depending on the year, CAL was know to use ,
marine plywood on their deck stepped masts. Your description leads me to believe the boat has had water intrusion and the area of the mast step has collapsed. The project list includes:
  1. Remove mast
  2. Remove mast step - metal plate the mast sits on
  3. Repair the deck. Perhaps replacing the deck core.
  4. Inspect and repair the compression post if needed. Compression sits between deck and keel supporting the deck and the mast above. Either the top of the post or the bottom of the post may have damage if the boat has had water fill the inside.
  5. Inspect the deck area of they chainplates. If the bulkhead is water damaged a likely suspect is water leak through the chainplates.
  6. Repair your bulkhead.
Those sound like the immediate issues. you have some serious work ahead.
Good luck.
 
Nov 21, 2020
15
Cal Cal 27 MKIII Fort Pierce, Florida
Thanks for response. Will have to look closely at the cabin top but, don't believe top has dropped. Gotta tear into it. Figuring on a complete refit. Am trying to narrow down what and where to look, have a good idea now, before I pull mast. With mast down, will paint and re-rig. Some say cored deck and others say it could be solid at deck step. If it's cored, could explain it.
 
Oct 22, 2014
13,454
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Picture will give you more responses. Also asking the questions in the "Ask all Sailors" forum will yield more info. Our CAL group is small.. The questions you are asking are not specific to our boat history. They are common among all brands and ages of boats. Get the biggest bang for your query.

If the stars align, I should be cruising in your area about the 10-14 of December. Keep an eye on the forums for our blog of the adventure.
 

RitSim

.
Jan 29, 2018
166
Beneteau 411 Branford
On our Catalina 30 the compression post supports the deck. the member replies above deal with this condition. The compression post was supported on the cabin sole and under that was a post support that had rotted. On the C30, this support was in front of the glass layer at the front of the bilge. Good luck.
 
Nov 21, 2020
15
Cal Cal 27 MKIII Fort Pierce, Florida
Thanks for the response. Went out and looked at it some more a couple of hours ago. Not knowing what it looked like before, looks like it may have sagged at the base. The cabin may have dropped a little also. The sliding door doesn't close so, that may be the cause. The compression post doesn't appear to go to the keel rather, it's in it's own glassed box, above keel, like your referring to if I understand your post. Top and bottom of post are both covered by a cosmetic gelcoated cover. Guess I'll have to cut them, hopefully in a way I can gain access then, glass them back in. Think I'll have to start on the bottom.
 
Oct 22, 2014
13,454
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Dave,
I would start at the top. Relive the pressure at the top. Inspect the top to see where the rot is. Is it from leaks under the mast step? Or is it from water that was in the bilge and got to the bottom of the post.
Not sure how but you might find that you can screw a board onto the compression post (like a sister post) then push up on the board to push up on the compression post. Then fit a shim under the post. This might also work on the top. It would depend on what the top 6 inches or the bottom 6 inches looked like on the post. If the door is not closing then somewhere there has sagged.
 
Nov 21, 2020
15
Cal Cal 27 MKIII Fort Pierce, Florida
Am probably going back tomorrow and will take some pics. Need to clean at base of post because there is dirt in where it appears to be dished also. What I can't figure out so far is whether the post sits on top of fiberglass raised section, with all support underneath or, Does it pass through. Definately does not go all the way to keel.
 
Oct 22, 2014
13,454
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
There may be some info to help you here.
 
Nov 21, 2020
15
Cal Cal 27 MKIII Fort Pierce, Florida
Think I've found my problem. I'm guessing but, not sure, that the base of the post sits on top of the extrusion. How it's attached, I have no idea. Don't know if you can see in third pic but, the whole post looks twisted and possibly not centered. My guess would be to remove post and cut and repair extrusion base. Could use some insight. I'm sure it's leaking thru deck and chain plates. Pardon the mess but haven't put any time into cleaning yet. Gots repairs to do. Bulkhead not doing much.
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Nov 21, 2020
15
Cal Cal 27 MKIII Fort Pierce, Florida
Deck cracked and dished. Guess I better get the mast down soon. Was thinking to at least back of stays and jack it up some.