Ericson 29 Hull & Deck Reinforcement


Junior Member
e29 mast step

Hi jkenan. I found this thread while researching problem areas as we are also looking at a 1977 E29. Hope your experience was positive - did you get the boat? Are you enjoying her?

The information you and others provided in this thread has been very useful. I think you mentioned that you had photo's of the mast step etc, if you still have them, I'd sure like to see them. I felt one somewhat soft spot on the deck a foot forward and to the left of the mast step, which concerns me. We are going to have her surveyed, so that will also help.

Any other E29 thoughts would be appreciated - thanks for the help.



Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
And when it goes bad

Ah, this thread is exactly what I was looking for, but couldn't find, before I started another thread about the "toe rail."
So... the genoa track is fastened into that lip in the deck with what? Just lag screws? As shown in the attachment, I'm looking at a boat where apparently the force on these screws has caused some of them to pull out and delaminate and/or crack the gel coat for a distance of about four feet.
e29 toerail.jpg So, the fix would be cut out and repair the delaminated material. (Hopefully just gelcoat - don't really want to cut into the glass, so close to the joint.) Then re-bed the track with through-bolts to an internal backing plate.
?? Wishful thinking? Better to have a dumb idea shot down in advance than to execute a class II fiasco.
Genoa track

I had a longer genoa track put on my E-27 to give me more latitude in sheeting angles when I was off the wind. The NEW track ran from close to the lower aft shroud all the way to the stern, which (later) made it perfect for sheeting the asymmetrical chute I had bought when I wanted to sail closer to the wind and needed a flatter sail. The genoa track came out of the box straight as a plumb line, but the boat wasn't built that way. We used bolts--lots of bolts--with 5200 to seal the holes and aircraft nuts to hold everything in place on the inside. There was nary a leak. So the post about lag screws did not strike a responsive chord with this guy.

Randy Rutledge

Sustaining Member
Rumkin my E29 has through bolts on the track, I am sure this was factory. Some of the nuts were glassed over in the deck joint layup a real pain when rebedding the track.


Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
So if there are nuts being yanked up through there, there's likely to be some major delamination in spots :confused:


Member II
I am currently replacing the bulkheads where the chainplates attach for the side upper shrouds. It’s been a very eye-opening experience because I thought when I started this process I would only need to add something like penetrating epoxy to harden the word that was there. But if the plywood is delaminated it has to come out and so out it came.
I had to remove a great deal of woodwork to even get at the bulkhead completely so that I could re-tab it to the hall and when I got to the part of removing the wood it literally just crumbled in my hand. This is for a 1972 E-35. I found this thread because I’m trying to answer the question now since I’m replacing the bulkhead there anyways and by the way the major part of the support attached to the bulkhead is it’s attachment to the side of the hull not so much the bottom of the hull probably down 3 to 4 feet is the major part. I say this because as an example on the starboard side even though it’s the same piece of wood that continues on to the hull bottom, it is completely disconnected right at the base of the seat couch.
i’m contemplating using inch or even thicker wood to replace the 3/4 that was there and will totally encase it in epoxy when I do. It should be noted and this is probably different on different boats but in my particular boat’s case, the bulkhead there they used interior non-marine grade hardwood ply, which is most definitely not the right wood to use especially if it has potential for getting exposed to water. I’ve learned a lot about different kinds of ply and could probably write a post about it but you definitely want marine ply if it’s ever being exposed to water because any other kind of ply really won’t last very long in the marine environment. When the wood crumbled in my hands like papier-mâché it really raised an eyebrow and to some degree it made perfect sense.
This boat is nearly half a century old and perhaps it might go without saying that by that age everyone if they have a boat that we all should replace our bulkheads there with brand new wood and new tabbing considering you’re holding up the mast and your sails under extreme pressure’s when you’re sailing. It should also be noted that in my particular boats case on the port side there was an inch and a half gap between the hull and a very minor piece of hardwood plywood which was then very lightly jointed to a much larger piece which almost spans the width of the cabin and these two pieces were simply joined with tiny dowels. I’m adding photos to hopefully inspire some of you out there to seriously consider replacing these bulkheads I am certainly glad I’m replacing mine.



New Member
I wonder what the strength of the hardwood ply (when new and dry) is compared to the marine grade ply (e.g. this use is different than flooring). That might be part of the reason to use it, hardwood ply isn't cheap. That joinery seems strange - maybe it allowed a custom fit with a standard piece. Or that small part was part of the tabbing process that gave an attachment point for the bulkhead. Not disagreeing with anything you have said, just thinking about why those decisions might have been made.

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Blogs Author
I'm not sure how much marine-grade pylwood Ericson used on the interior. On my 1985 32-3, the plywood under the water heater was clearly not marine grade. On the '84 381, the floorboards, delaminated by a sink drip over the years, did not appear to be hardwood plywood. Or if so, marine ply sure does fall apart when wet.

Marine plywood uses waterproof glue, and theoretically has no voids or plugs (like cheap plywood always does). It's some kind of hardwood, not just junk wood, but it's still wood and has to be painted or sealed against moisture.

It would be nice to know how much standard plywood is used in the interiors of production sailboats. And whether, in areas not ever intended to be submerged, whether standard plywood is a dire shortcoming or just a rational business decision.

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
And, just to add some trivia to this line of inquiry, about 20 or more years ago (give or take...) the plywood industry was supposedly eliminating the older water absorbent glue and going completely to waterproof glues.
This still did not make all of the product "marine" because the less expensive grades have voids in the layers, and 'plugs' to fill the voids as the price went up.