CONTESSA 26: MAST SUPPORT BEAM COMPRESSION/ DISTORTION
We are beginning to hear from a few people about slight distortion under the mast step of the Contessa 26. We have seen two examples of this, and there are a couple of ways to deal it, depending on the degree of distortion.
First of all you need to understand how the mast support was put together: the mahogany support beam is set in grp into a recess in the headlining fitted to the hull. The deck has an upstand for the mast to sit in, and this is filled with resin and glass, then the deck is lowered onto the headlining after several layers of wetted out glass have been laid over the mahogany beam.
It is possible that in some cases there is a small void between the mahogany support beam and the deck moulding, which over time becomes compressed. If there is a void, this needs filling, and this can be done by drilling a hole in the centre of the mast tenon in the mast step; then this should be filled with resin and chopped glass fibre.
Another way of addressing the problem, if the beam itself has fractured (although we are not aware of this having happened) would be to cut the mast step off completely from the deck, which would give access to the beam. Then it would be possible to make the necessary repairs to the beam.
The beam could also be removed from within the cabin, but this would involve cutting into the lining.
It would be the most intrusive but probably the best way forward in an extreme case, but we would want to be consulted if this was the chosen way forward.
We have seen retro-fitted electrical cables sited in holes drilled through the mahogany beam, and of course this could lead to water ingress and eventual rotting of the beam. Check for this.
16 October 2010