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Compression post and bulkhead fix?

RS64

New Member
Hi Everyone,

The mast wires on my 1971 Ericson 29 have been leaking water in from above and there's water damage to the compression post. So far it seems only the top 4-6in on the fore side have loss of structural integrity. The rest seems very solid. I think though the hanging locker plywood is also damaged. Has anyone else fixed an issue like this before? How do you know if it's bad enough to need to be replaced vs scarfing or sistering? Has anyone had issues replacing the hanging locker plywood?

Thanks so much!
 

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texlan

Member I
Blogs Author
Hi RS64, I have a 1971 E-29 I am completing a major refit on (mine is #8 -- what hull number is yours?). That's a really interesting way the wires are running, with someone having cut directly through one of the molded in liner-stringers, then routing through the plywood. I'm not sure I'm a fan.. :) In my boat there were a couple pairs of wire going through holes to port of the compression post bump, and one pair of wires (assuming stock?) directly through the center of the post-bump that were then routed forward through the top of the post itself, finally going down through where the hanging locker bulkhead butted to the compression post.

When I pulled out my compression post, the top was very soft due to water leaking through this pair of wires and directly into the end grain. Not confidence inspiring. Further examination in my case showed the mast compression post step under the floor completely delaminated, so the indicated solution involved a complete rebuild of that floor/compression post support system and I went ahead and replaced all of the bulkheads while i was at it.. Anyways as to the compression post itself I'm epoxy-laminating two pieces of white oak together to replace the post. The original appears to be a mahogany laminate.

Replacing the specific locker plywood is the most iffy as it appears it was placed into its slot when the deck was attached to the hull -- there is not enough room to remove/install a new bulkhead into its slot there without creative measures. (I cut the bulkhead short on the bottom, and a spacer is slid and fixed into place after the bulkhead is fitted in above it) I suppose after detaching all of the other bulkheads (and of course with the mast down) you could floorjack the ceiling a couple of inches to fit in a full-sized bulkhead there without the spacer.

If you look at the collection of blog posts I wrote about my refit (I should get back to writing them..there's been some progress since then) you can get some insight into what's "behind the fiberglass"

 

RS64

New Member
Hey Texlan!

Thank you so much! I'll have to look up the hull number. I'm concerned I may find a similar issue in the compression post as what I can test on the fore side of it is all dry rotted where you can see the water damage. I've also discovered that the deck at the bow, starboard side and the cockpit sole near the rudder post are pretty soaked. I'm currently contemplating how much I'm willing to take on right now given everything I'm finding. How did you determine that the compression post step was delaminating? I'm know what to look for in terms of cracks in fiberglass and wet core on a deck but not sure if all delamination looks like one of these. Thank you so much again!


Rachel
 

texlan

Member I
Blogs Author
I found the hull # written on the bottoms of the plywood-backed cushions, and someone on the forum clued me into the fact it's stamped on the rudder-head bearing in the cockpit (if you have a tiller-steered model, at least..not sure about the wheel models)

Re: the decks...honestly, the top of the deck layup is pretty surprisingly thick on mine... unless you are doing serious ocean work I wouldn't worry too much about damp core (other than to try to keep it from getting wetter (seal fittings with butyl etc) and try to get it to dry a bit (maybe i'd drill some holes from the bottom))

If you open the forward hatch on the cabin sole, stick your phone/camera down there and look forward...fish a rod down there and poke forward at the exposed plywood under the mast compression post. If it seems solid, good to go. Mine was delaminated because it was left out, continuously filling with rainwater for 20 years. If it had stayed relatively dry, I imagine it would still be solid.
 

RS64

New Member
So - I took a look at the plywood below the compression post and it's definitely wet, but not disintegrating. It's not clear to me why it was never fully encased in fiberglass? The forward bilge runs right through the bare wood under the compression post and in the more forward bulkhead to where the bilge pump is. They may be solid now but I'm not sure they'll stay that way. Is that what yours had?

I haven't found the hull number yet... I'll let you know when I do :)
 

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RS64

New Member
The other exposed wood in the bilge. This is aft of the mast compression post before the deep section of the bilge
 

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texlan

Member I
Blogs Author
Honestly, that doesn't look that bad to me. :) I've dredged up some of my photos to share of what mine looked like when i got it.

Forward, mine had a hole cut through the tabbing in the trough to the left of the ballest-hump that allowed the wires you can see in the photo of it to go through. Also, to allow water forward to drain. As you can see, lots of oil from the water from the repeated rains that submerged the engine (and over the cabin sole by about 5")

Also, because you have some plywood that is actually open to air, then water that gets in won't be trapped in the plywood...which is a good thing.

For example, the plywood aft on mine (again, that is open to air a bit) was solid except for the very bottom around the square cutout, while the plywood forward was completely delaminated through and through.
 

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