Mast Compression Post – Westsail 32 – Inspection and Replacement

Mast Compression Post – Westsail 32 – Inspection and Replacement

The mast compression post has been of concern for some time now. The overriding evidence that there may be a problem occurred the first time we tightened down the rig for open water sailing. The door to the head compartment became misaligned to the point that the barrel lock would not work properly. The doors were also jamming tight against one another. I surmised that something had to be moving and it seemed logical that the something was the compression post. Mary Rose has had the recommended update to the aft mid-ship bulkhead for added strength so I was not terribly concerned about any major failures. We lossened the rig and we were ready to proceed.

I was hoping to be able to inspect and fix the problem by gaining access from the shower pan side of the bulkhead. This would require cutting the bottom of the shower pan out. I was planning on doing this anyway to be able to store additional anchor chain low and mid ship. However I soon realized that it would be much quicker to drain the forward water tank, pull it out of the bilge and fix the compression post.

Draining the tank and removing it took less than 30 minutes and we were ready to tackle the problem. It was easy to see that the wood supporting the mast support post was showing signs of rot and was soft at the base. Under the mast support post there was a bulkhead that went across the bilge from each side of the hull. Below this bulk head was very soft and black piece of wood that extended from the keel to the bottom of this bulkhead. There was a large block of wood approximately 3 inches thick and 5 inches wide that was screwed into this bulkhead and extended from the keel to the mast beam at the under side of the cabin sole.

All of the old support pieces were removed and discarded and we were ready to begin the repair. I made up a couple of believable reasons why I had to go get supplies to finish the project and went ashore. The Admiral stayed aboard and took advantage of the water tank being out of the bilge and proceeded to clean and sanitize the bilge in the area of the forward water tank. She did a great job and her efforts had a huge impact on the overall project.

I cut two ¾ inch starboard pieces to the exact thickness of the area under the bulkhead and drove them into place for a very tight fit. I used a thick knife blade to shave them to the exact size. The knife blade was used as a draw blade. After they were firmly set in place, they were screwed them together so that they could not separate in the future.

The next step required placing a two pieces of blood wood to fit the exact distance from the keel to the base of the cabin sole on the forward side of the keel supported bulkhead directly under the mast support post. I placed a ¼ inch thick piece of brass plate on the bottom next to the keel to prevent future rot problems from keel/bilge moisture. I drove the first piece of blood wood into place and screwed it to the starboard support and the keel bulkhead. This locked all three parts of the mast compression support into place. Starboard block, bulkhead, post support.

The next step was to drive the second piece of blood wood into place for a tight fit and add additional screws to prevent any chance of the supports sliding out of place.
The final step was to use some minute mend two part epoxy to bond the brass plate and wood support pieces together with the keel to further reduce the chances of any future movement. Yes, I know this was a bit of overkill but I really do not want to ever have to do this project again.

We taped cross cut sections of 4" vinyl hose to the bottom of the water tanks to keep them off the bottom of the keel and allow water movement in the event we get water in the bilge.

We then replaced the water tanks into the shiny clean bilge and the project was complete. The entire project took about 4 hours and cost less than $25. We used blood wood because it is extremely hard and rot resistant along with several other qualities. Boat builders used blood wood for motor mounts a very long time ago.


Old Tampa Bay Waterspout

Nature is a wonderful gift and the amazing part of this gift is how simple it is to receive. I recently realized how easy it is for me to get wrapped up in this thing we call life. I think at some point we all get wrapped up in everyday living and end up missing so many of the little things that can warm our hearts, intrigue our minds and bring a smile to our faces.

Just the other day, while Don and I were traveling via car over the Old Tampa Bay Bridge I looked to my right to assess the formation of some ominous looking clouds. As I watched I noticed a tail-like formation begin to drop down from these clouds. It wasn't much to look at but it was unusual. As I observed this tail I noticed that it began to grow, at this point I brought it to the Captain's attention. He thought it was a waterspout forming... we both unison said, "Let's go follow it!" So off we went!! Waterspout chasers!! The enthusiasm in the truck was off the charts! We followed the side roads that took us through neighborhoods trying to find the shoreline. At last water!! We sat in the truck and watched in awe as we saw at least 4 waterspouts form and dissipate. There was one that really caught out attention.... we both sat speechless as the waterspout began methodically dancing back into the clouds... the spray from the water was moving in slow circular motions. The sun tried to break through the thick low hanging clouds to cast it's light and in doing so gave this view a miraculous blessing. It appeared as if there were angels dancing in the atmosphere... mid-air... it was a spectacular vision! Our first waterspout blessing! Then the show was over. We returned to the bridge to continue on to our destination.

As we drove there was a silence in the truck that was abruptly broken as Capt Don declares, "Look there is another waterspout!" Low and behold there it is.. A HUGE waterspout heading right for us as we and many others pull to the side of the bridge to admire this bold powerful circulating vortex that is slowly drifting across the water. It moved with grace as it approached the bridge approximately 100 feet in front of us. What an amazing site!

No injuries, no damage just a wonderful gift.

Peace and love to all!!


Westsail 32 Lazarette - Lewmar Replacement

The original fiberglass and teak lazarette hatch cover was very sturdy and served it’s intended purpose well. However, with the recent modifications to the cockpit area it was a bit too large and bulky. We wanted to reclaim the cockpit area to make living aboard and long distance cruising more comfortable. We believe that this will add a great deal of usable deck space to the area as well as adding comfort.

This was one of the items on my “I’m afraid to do this” list. We were lucky to have had the opportunity to discuss this problem with Bud Taplin when he was on board for the 2009 Westsail Rendezvous. Bud assured me that he could get me a new hatch of the appropriate size and that it would not be difficult to replace. As ALWAYS, Bud was right!

The benefits we expected to gain from this modification.
- less height obstruction and tripping hazard.
- easier access
- the cover will be attached and not lose when opened
- increased comfort in the cockpit area

The first thing I had to do was to cut the teak board that held the old hatch cover in place above the deck. This task was made relatively easy with my new Fienmaster Multi tool that the Admiral gave me for my birthday. I have found this tool to be indespensible when doing rehab work on the boat. This tool and my Dremel seem to always get used on most every project. The Admiral also gave me the Dremel….hmmmmmmmmmm Am I seeing a pattern here? Anyway, here are the steps to accomplish the lazerette hatch cover.

1. I used the special blade for the multi tool which allows you to cut flush across a flat horizontal surface. It zipped right through and in no time at all this step was complete

2. The next step is to use the multi tool to sand the board smooth and flush with the fiberglass ring with the sanding head on the multi tool.

3. I then used the caulk remover attachment for the multi tool to remove the old caulking on the surface of the fiberglass ring. Mineral spitits was used to finish cleaning up the residue.

4. After taping the area and a careful test fit, I laid down several thick beads of 3M 5200 to give the new hatch ring a good tight seal.

5. I put the new hatch flange in place, predrilled the holes and screwed it down.

6. The edges were dressed with 5200 and excess was cleaned with mineral spirits. I also used mineral spirits on a rubber gloved hand to smooth the edges and give it a finished look.

We are quite please with the results. We think we accomplished our goals and we are grateful to Bud Taplin for his advice and support.