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Opinions on mast step area damage

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I am looking at buying a '83 early model J22 that is in overall ok shape (normal issues for age). The one part that concerns me is the large crack appearing around the mast step and the exposed fg. There are no soft spots apparent and the owner says the cracks had not been increasing, but how concerned should I be? Should this be a pretty evasive repair or just possibly open the gap, epoxy, gelcoat. Thanks for any thoughts you may have!

2020-10-15 (1).jpeg

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On 11/17/2021 at 4:43 PM, bkitchens said:

Did you attempt the repair?  I would believe you need to remove the stanchion and start with a repair inside the cabin.  What’s it look like underneath? Good chance there is moisture/rot that will need to be removed.  Once that is cleared you can rebuild from below and dress up from above.

The mast base itself is solid glass. I happen to have a piece of deck and I drilled through that area with a hole saw to see what the laminate was. Just forward it should be balsa core so that crack could be forming at the edge of the balsa.

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