Carpe Diem!

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Here the flooring is pulled up. To get at the step.  The stringers are all glasses into the hull with heavy mat.

Here is the stainless plate that I had installed to beef up the structure until I could do this refit.

The step plate is out!  You can see all of the flaking rust.  The center span is still almost 1/2 thick!  I am going to have a new piece fabricated to fit over this and bolt through so that it can be removed for future inspections.

25 May 09

Here is project to rebuild the mast step.  The top plate was getting very thin towards the edges and because the design of the step did not allow access to the port side I could not make a repair without removing the top plate. 

             To begin I used a 4 1/2 angle grinder to cut groves side to side along the forward and aft edges of the top plate.  I then used a sawz all to cut through the plate.  Next I used the angle grinder to cut through the center plate and also make a grove.  Once it was cut through I used the sawz all again to cut forward and aft.  Since I could not completely reach the forward and aft sections I had to drill three to four holes at either end to act as a perforation.  I then used a 5 lb maul to rock the plate from side to side and snap the remaining steel off.  With the top plate off it became evident how the step was constructed.

             Two large section angle beams were fitted into the sump with the forward section bolted to the forward keel bolts.  The next part was to fit a vertical plate between the angle beams and weld them together.  Then two vertical plates were put on either end, fore and aft, with everything welded together.  These were then tied into the steel wing plates which extend out port starboard.  A very strong structure to be sure but with no way to properly maintain it.  My new top plate will be fitted with two center plates which will straddle the remaining center section.  This will rest on the steel plate in the bilge.  This top plate will be through bolted so that it can be easily removed for regular maintenance.  After a recommendation from Mike Stambersky, the owner of Accolade, I will be using POR 15 to treat the metal, as well as Ospho.  The new plate will be ready next week.

             The new plate design has been finalized.  All new pieces will be of 304 Stainless with everything tied back into the existing structure.  It will be removable by simply unbolting two keeper bolts.  I was able to remove and re-torque 6 of the 10 keel bolts.  They were not that tight, so I would advise checking this on your boats.

Here you can see the corrosion of the top plate.  I believe this started out as a 1/2 thick plate!

Here is the new cross piece. A fabricated 304 Stainless C beam welded into place that will support the center section of the new step

This is the new mast step plate. It fits very snuggly into the cross piece and then is thu-bolted at the bottom to keep it in place. To remove it all I need to do is remove the bolts and it pulls right out for future inspection of the steel.

The bilge sections were painted out with Interlux BilgeCote after all the metal was painted with POR15.

Here is the new cross piece before painting. It was fabricated to take the center section load and tie the structure back together. The new step will now rest flush on top of this.