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Rebuilding the Mast Step

 

 

While I've never noticed an issue with the mast steps - the two supports under the uprights to the head door that underpin the deck-stepped mast, I know I'll sleep better if I open up the sole pan in front of the head and see what shape they are in. I'm glad I did.

maststep1.jpg (933688 bytes) I have cut away the forward area of the sole revealing the forward mast step.
maststep2.jpg (791608 bytes) A closer shot of the forward mast step. You can see black water damage to the step.
maststep3.jpg (756685 bytes) It is very loose and pulls out easily. Play in this structure is not good. It should be a jam fit and, of course, glassed in place.
maststep4.jpg (771819 bytes) So here is the step. It's a couple of scrap 2x4s and a couple of scrap pieces of plywood stacked in place. 
maststep5.jpg (710422 bytes) It appears that at one point the step was screwed to the fiberglass vertical shown in the next shot. But those screws have long sense corroded away.
maststep6.jpg (623561 bytes) The area where the forward step was positioned. It doesn't have any sign of being glued in place - held in place only by tightening the rigging to squeeze the structure downward, compressing the sole pan. Not a very shipshape arrangement.
maststep7.jpg (815021 bytes) This shot shows the sole cut away to reveal the aft step. It seems in much better shape, glassed in place.
maststep8.jpg (848866 bytes) There does seem to be a slight gap between the sole pan and the step. I will force epoxy into any gaps to any water intrusion and beef it up.
maststep9.jpg (458013 bytes) Here's a close-up of the aft step.
maststep10.jpg (459123 bytes) Another shot of the bilge space under the head shower pan.
maststep11.jpg (736296 bytes) I had some 1-inch thick fiberglass stock from McMaster handy, so I cut enough to replace the forward step.
maststep12.jpg (483216 bytes) And glued it together.
maststep13.jpg (680440 bytes) I continued dissecting the head threshold. First cutting out the wood threshold. Then cutting around the front frame support. Not surprising, there is no structure below the forward vertical 2x4 door frame. In the case of my boat, the forward frame downward force from the rigging was supported only by about a quarter inch of the wooden blocks under the edge of the molded sole pan.
maststep14.jpg (599712 bytes) Here's another shot of the forward mast step area.
maststep15.jpg (673072 bytes) Then I cut away the vertical fiberglass face of the threshold and what should have been the rear vertical frame support. Again, nothing under the molded threshold. 
maststep16.jpg (967831 bytes) Here's a close-up of the aft mast step area..
maststep17.jpg (818981 bytes) As you can plainly see here, the rear vertical frame is supported by the edge of the shower pan, and the edge of the molded sole pan, but no continuing support from the cabintop down to the keel; just bendy molded fiberglass.
maststep18.jpg (581981 bytes) Here's a close-up of the aft mast step area.
maststep19.jpg (658910 bytes) I cut a piece of 2x4 teak to brace up under the forward frame. The forward step installed.
maststep20.jpg (545993 bytes) All that would fit here was a piece of -1/2 x 1-1/2 white oak. The aft step installed.
 

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