Mast Collar Deck/Bolt Issue - has anyone repaired them ?

mrleinweber
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:56 pm

Mast Collar Deck/Bolt Issue - has anyone repaired them ?

Post by mrleinweber »

Hello Freedom Team.

I have a F36 Cat Catch and the Mast Collar/Deck Fitting has several of the Bolts now spinning where they come up from the deck (so you cant tighten the nuts). That means the mast collar is being held down by 1/2 the number of bolts needed - not great and something I need to fix before sailing this season.

I have not yet cut open the deck where the bolts come up to see what it looks like -- but I assume they have some kind of J which is epoxied into the Core and has now dis-integrated so the bolts turn.

My plan was to carefully cut the deck open around the bolts, see what it looks like, and then replace them with new J bolts (or whatever is under there) and re-epoxy them in and and then re-glass the deck where I cut.

I am concerned about the amount of Deck/Glass I may need to cut up and replace - and I am worried if I can make sure it is as strong as before (key since it does hold the collar down).

Question - has anyone done this before ? Any experiences/suggestions/guidance ?


Thanks in advance, Michael

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RadioZephyr
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Location: Boston, MA

Re: Mast Collar Deck/Bolt Issue - has anyone repaired them ?

Post by RadioZephyr »

Don't cut the deck open. It's a critical area of the boat (one of two points holding up your mast), and you don't want to risk weakening it. It should be solid glass there, so there's no core. The studs are just regular hex head bolts, which you can only access if you pull up the aluminum ring that they come out of. It's bolted down through the deck with flat head bolts that alternate with the studs, so that the ring is otherwise flat. A couple of the the nuts underneath are difficult to access (at least on the F36 sloop), so removing that ring may not be possible. I had to have a new one made up because we couldn't get one or two of the screws to let go, and the ring got damaged in our efforts.

Before you go to all that trouble, I'd suggest you take another approach: take a Dremel with a cutoff wheel, and cut a slot for a screwdriver in the top of the studs that are spinning. You will then be able to tighten the nut, while holding the bolt stationary from the top.
Josh
Sunset Spy
F38, Hull #152
Boston, MA

mrleinweber
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:56 pm

Re: Mast Collar Deck/Bolt Issue - has anyone repaired them ?

Post by mrleinweber »

Thanks and good guidance.

1) Good thought on the slot, -- but two of them have been badly damaged by someone trying something like that before (not me) with Visegrips that damaged and stripped them. Maybe I can cut off enough of the damaged top of the bolt so I can get a clean nut on with your Slot idea. Its worth a try.

2) I am sorry but I am not clear on where you are saying the actual head of the bolts are ? My Ring/Collar is fine and lifts up off the deck & bolts no problem. When you lift the deck ring/collar up the bolts just stick up from the deck -- but you cant see them from underneath in the Anchor locker since there is another collar under the deck. I was surprised since I was hoping I could see them from there - optimally I was hoping the heads came through the bottom collar - but no.

Sounds like you know a good bit about this -- I would really appreciate it if you had a few min to talk about it .. my cell is 347 - 834 - Three Four One Five if you happen to have a few min to talk ?

Regards, Michael

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RadioZephyr
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Location: Boston, MA

Re: Mast Collar Deck/Bolt Issue - has anyone repaired them ?

Post by RadioZephyr »

Maybe these pictures will help! You can see here the aluminum ring that houses the studs for the mast collar. I was able to remove all but two of the flathead bolts that attach the ring to the deck. This is because, in their infinite wisdom, Freedom decided to install a bulkhead directly underneath the nuts for two of them. I really should have just cut away a couple inches of that bulkhead to get at the nuts, but for some reason this did not occur to me. The rest of the nuts are easy enough to access, you just need to remove the headliner panel that goes around the mast.
Taken facing forward.
Taken facing forward.
Mast ring 1.jpeg (231.93 KiB) Viewed 531 times
I had forgotten that one of my studs had sheared off, which is what necessitated the repair. You can see the slotted flathead bolts that remain are on either side of it.
Taken facing athwartship, from starboard side.
Taken facing athwartship, from starboard side.
Mast ring 2.jpeg (237.56 KiB) Viewed 531 times
Maybe try running a die down the damaged bolts, while carefully holding the lowest threads with something soft to keep it from spinning as you turn the die? You may be able to clean up the threads well enough to get a nut on.
Josh
Sunset Spy
F38, Hull #152
Boston, MA

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RadioZephyr
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Location: Boston, MA

Re: Mast Collar Deck/Bolt Issue - has anyone repaired them ?

Post by RadioZephyr »

I just remembered that this is a cat ketch, not the sloop that I have! I'm pretty sure the construction is the same, but I can't say whether the nuts will be in the same place. I believe they all used the same deck collar assembly, which RigRite lists on their website. Here's the relevant part:

Deck Collar Ring for PP RM11DC-C Collar: RM11DCR-C:
Deck Collar Ring for use with PP RM11DC-C Deck Collar on the underside of the Deck. Aluminum Deck Collar Ring is 15 3/4" OD x 13 1/4" ID x 1/2" thick, and has (8) tapped holes (3/8"-16) for attachment of deck collar, and (10) 3/8" countersunk holes for attachment to underside of Deck. Finished in White Awlgrip. As used on Freedom 36.

Basically, the hole in your deck has an inset area around the OD that fits a 2-1/2" wide ring (RM11DCR-C), which is bolted down to the deck through the fiberglass. This ring has holes (that are apparently tapped) for studs that hold down the deck collar (PP RM11DC-C). As I recall, the studs are just regular hex bolts. In order to replace any of them, you will need to remove the countersunk bolts that attach the ring to the deck. There's certainly a chance that Freedom made some of the nuts for them inaccessible in your boat, which sucks. However, I recommend you do what you can to remove whatever there is in the way of the nuts, because otherwise there's no good alternative for getting the ring up that won't risk damaging it.
Josh
Sunset Spy
F38, Hull #152
Boston, MA

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Castaway
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Location: Lerwick, Shetland Isles

Re: Mast Collar Deck/Bolt Issue - has anyone repaired them ?

Post by Castaway »

On our UK built F35 cat ketch, the masts have a collar above the deck on each. The bolts are actually studs, with dome nuts above and plain hex nuts below, which bear on the inner side of the deck with 2cm washers and spring washers. The only effective way to tighten them is to hold the above deck nuts with a Vise Grip, and use an extended socket wrench on the lower nut, which involves lying half in and half out of the anchor locker, wearing a head torch. I leave the masts alone, as much as possible.
Because the studs are a close fit, (and often have a coating of sealant), they may seem permanently fixed to the boat, but this is not the case, and they can fairly readily be replaced if the threads are damaged. The sealant is often a necessity, as otherwise water can leak down them and drip into the cabin or locker. I usually put some silicone around each washer beneath the dome nuts on deck, too.
Gerald Freshwater,
s/y 'Castaway', (UK F35 cat ketch, centreboard, 1987)
Lerwick Boating Club
Shetland Isles, Scotland

mrleinweber
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:56 pm

Re: Mast Collar Deck/Bolt Issue - has anyone repaired them ?

Post by mrleinweber »

THANKS -- I am actually looking at my deck/collar now and what you note is exactly how it is.

Next step is to remove the Collar with those countersunk bolts.

I will post some pics when I take it apart.

Have a great day !

Regards, Michael

walterg
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Re: Mast Collar Deck/Bolt Issue - has anyone repaired them ?

Post by walterg »

I have the 28' sloop which has a little different hardware, but the same concept for the ring and the collar. I went a little bit different route and had a new ring fabricated out of stainless steel, with the SS studs welded on instead of tapped as they were on the original aluminum ring. The original aluminum ring crumbled into pieces when I removed it.

Image
Attachments
mast collar_new_1.JPG
mast collar_new_1.JPG (128.54 KiB) Viewed 502 times
Walter Gotham
Salem MA USA
'87 Freedom 28-Mull #33 "Nova Vita"

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jamesorr
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Location: Rochester, NY
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Re: Mast Collar Deck/Bolt Issue - has anyone repaired them ?

Post by jamesorr »

Similar problem -- a number of different solutions (of course). My suspicion is that the mast ring (the bottom fitting), which looked to me like a cast aluminum part -- probably suggests why it might be somewhat brittle (my already had cracks in it, and getting it out caused it to break into multiple pieces (3 if I recall) -- no doubt helped by the 5200 it was no doubt sitting in). Reproducing in stainless looks nice, although I went a slightly different route, and had a new ring machined out of aircraft grade aluminum plate which I had anodized for corrosion resistance (helped by the fact that I sail in freshwater). I also noticed when I removed it (which I did as some of the bolts were also slipping), that the bolts were only stoped from turning by the 5200 they were bedded in (i.e. the mast ring was not threaded in any way) -- no wonder -- although it did work for 28 years). For my replacement ring, I had them thread the holes for the upward facing bolts and then used red Loctite for good measure. It might not last forever, but it should certainly not fail in the same way again, and as I have my boat stored inside and unstep/re-step my mast each fall and spring...

mrleinweber
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:56 pm

Re: Mast Collar Deck/Bolt Issue - has anyone repaired them ?

Post by mrleinweber »

Hello All.

THANKS So Much for everyone's replies - it really makes a difference and I appreciate the sense of community and interest.

The new Stainless ring (and deck around it) - look great and I am curious what happens next when I take my rings off.

Progress - and see the attached picture for what it now looks like. I will be soaking the bolts in some fluids to try and unstick them before I press hard.

Hopefully they come out easily - but if not the post-chain gives me the links where to get new ones.

As I do the work I will take some photos and post here.

download/file.php?mode=view&id=2237

Two more questions coming in a new posting:

- Cutlass Bearing Replacement tips for a F36 with a Separate Prop Skeg, and what size, where to get etc...
- Torque Setting for the Keel Bolts

Thanks again, Michael
Attachments
mast.pdf
(3.21 MiB) Downloaded 54 times

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