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Old 06-16-2019, 10:55 PM   #1
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Remove post in aft cabin?

I'm considering changing the Ricky and Lucy beds to a queen or king. To do that I want to remove the post in the pic and need to know if the post is structural.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:27 PM   #2
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Is there any kind of beam across the top of the post?
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:34 PM   #3
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With no one left to ask, I've always assumed it was since it connects the center of the cabin top to the floor structure.

Deck Sagging has always been a problem in these boats as they age. Main salon floor will be the first place you notice it and then the flybridge floor will begin to fell soft. i would be suspect of what would happen by removing it.

The other problem is you're fuel tanks are under the berths. 250 gal under each. Not only do you give up half your range, but you take 1500 lbs off the stern and the stern rides high. You'll have to add ballast to the stern or Water accumulates on the decks, when not underway.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:36 PM   #4
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I would suspect that it is since there isnít really a good reason for it otherwise.
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:56 PM   #5
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Stripper pole?
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:20 AM   #6
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All kinds of refitters in your area, take a pic of the top and bottom of the pole, and maybe underneath the pole if possible to one of them and get their opinion.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:12 AM   #7
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In my old 1977 42' Californian, that post was most definitely load bearing, as was the aft bulkhead of the head. They provided support for the mid-deck.

I've seen boats converted to king beds. They required new fuel tanks and moved the post to each side of the bed. Fuel capacity was lost, but not nearly as much as I'd have expected, because the king bed was larger and also because they moved the water tank which is centerline between the fuel tanks and ran the fuel tanks deeper into the bilge. I wouldnt want to lose the engine room access, but you vould probably also tanks on the sides there.

I've known people to run Californians with little fuel and they didnt seem to have trouble due to weight. I certainly ran mine down a bit from time to time and my water down now and noticed the exhaust up higher by a lot, but it didnt seem to handle worse. But, I wasnt really pushing the limits at all.

I think this is something you'll likely be able to do, but you'll be into some money -- and need a professional, likely naval architector, to safely do it right.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:42 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the quick and thoughtful responses.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
Is there any kind of beam across the top of the post?
I'd probably have to open the overhead to determine that.


Quote:
Stripper pole?
Hmmm.... I don't think so. If it is, it's gotta go.



Quote:
With no one left to ask, I've always assumed it was since it connects the center of the cabin top to the floor structure.
It's not quite on centerline but I understand your point. Not being centerline is what made me question it being structural or not.

Quote:
Deck Sagging has always been a problem in these boats as they age. Main salon floor will be the first place you notice it and then the flybridge floor will begin to fell soft. i would be suspect of what would happen by removing it.
Thanks for that tip. I think bracing the salon deck from below is not difficult. The flybridge would be a different thing and not easily solved. This isn't yet my boat, I'm going back today for another look and may on further inspection put her under offer. I'll be going through everything I can get eyes on in detail.

Quote:
The other problem is you're fuel tanks are under the berths. 250 gal under each. Not only do you give up half your range, but you take 1500 lbs off the stern and the stern rides high. You'll have to add ballast to the stern or Water accumulates on the decks, when not underway.
That's a solvable problem. On first pass I see 3 ideas, listed in order of effort and cost. All 3 start with removing the desk on centerline aft.

  1. Widen the port bed to queen. Tanks stay as they are but the new bed is not an island bed.
  2. Remove the port twin, all structure and trim that supports the bed, rotate the port tank 90. Build a new queen bed over the rotated tank. Still not an island but a walk up and down both sides. Might want to move the post.
  3. Remove port twin as in #2, remove stbd twin, remove both tanks. Build a king island bed. Fabricate a new tank. If keeping the new bed same height as the old tankage decreases by about 125 gal. Consider raising the bed platform to recover the lost tankage. Need to move the post.
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Old 06-17-2019, 02:06 PM   #9
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Look under the floor panels, if support goes to keel the I would say itís structural and then it could be time for a naval architect to protect you in the future
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:25 PM   #10
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How about adding a structure to span between the beds and place a new mattress athwartships? You would gain some storage space below the structure. The tanks, pole and support all remain but you double the sleeping platform.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:45 PM   #11
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Looking at the bottom of that post it is not connected to the floor. Rather it appears to be pinned to the bed. (Wooden dowels? Or screws with wooden plugs)

If so that post may not be structural in the traditional sense. It may be used to reduce or eliminate flexing in that area above that particular bed. Not necessarily for loading.

If correct, changing the bed arrangement may be acceptable and including a support post in a different location. The question I would have is what is located above the post? True the post is not centered. If the load above IS centered, then a post in any location may be acceptable. OR removal may be acceptable as well.

In my unprofessional opinion there is a purpose. Maybe not to support a load per se, just to lend some integrity. If it was truly a load bearing post, that post would be attached to the floor, not to a bed.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:09 PM   #12
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Hey action,

I dont have the Californian any more to look, but I think that post is load bearing and transmits the load from a rib above to the stringers below via the corner of the bed, which is also load bearing.

The purpose that was explained to me at a yard and by a shipwright was to prevent the mid deck from deflecting downward under the load of a dingy and/or many people at center span.

With the really long windows it was apparently particularly imoortant that this didnt happen or the mid deck could twist and make them leak worse or more likely to be difficult to operate.

Cheers!
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:22 PM   #13
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Thanks.

If that is the case the position of the post may not make that much difference as long as there IS a post. And the OP could remodel with a single bed and use that post or some other post near by and may be good to go. (And know that I have never been a structural engineer. However I have met a few!)

If the post were meant to carry lots of weight I would think it would span all the way to the floor. Based on the description it seems as if the post is more of a support versus bearing al the weight of that area.
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captDJ View Post
Look under the floor panels, if support goes to keel the I would say it’s structural and then it could be time for a naval architect to protect you in the future

I think your advice to contact a NA is spot on. Looking at the post, top to bottom, doesn't tell much. A drawing would be better than words, but here goes...


From the top down.
  • The post does not center on a beam but appears to catch the full width of the beam.
  • The post lands on part of the berth structure, now the description gets a big harder....
  • The berth structure is 3/4 ply with the corner held together by an approximately 1 X 1
  • The 3/4 berth flat lands on approx 1/2 X 3/4 cleats
  • It appears the berth flat is cut away around the bottom of the post
  • "Wrapping" around the upper edge of the 3/4 ply are 3/4 x 4 mahogany fiddles to keep the mattress in. The fiddles are "outside" the outer edge of the 3/4 ply and securely attached to the ply
  • The bottom of the post "appears" to land on the 1 x 1 corner piece tying the berth structure corners together. It is notched to land on the fiddles. It is screwed to the fiddles.
  • The entire lower end of all of this lands on the cabin sole (deck)
  • The underside of the sole is blocked to a tight fit to one of the longitudinal stringers
So, if it's a ll a tight fit, load is transferred from beam to stringer in compression. >IF< it's all a tight fit.....


All of this going on at the berth to post interface is difficult to see without some destructive inspection.


Action & gkesden, I think you two have it right. Not purely structural but important. And the corner support of the head across the way seems to do the same thing.
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:44 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by alormaria View Post
How about adding a structure to span between the beds and place a new mattress athwartships? You would gain some storage space below the structure. The tanks, pole and support all remain but you double the sleeping platform.

That is very likely going to be the short term solution to get us out on the water and cruising.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:14 AM   #16
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I guess the days of sleeping naked and snuggling close on a single type mattress are over?

Now you know the WHY for the pole.
Put in a beam and tie it into two pole, port/starboard. Problem solved forever.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:51 AM   #17
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I think hiring a NA is unnecessary. I have posts like those on my boat and they may not hold the roof up but keeps the roof from flexing when walked on.

I took out v berths in the main stateroom to have a walk around queen. I laminated additional wood alongside the existing beam, strengthening it and took the beam out.

If that is not possible, do as someone suggested and build a queen or king bed and install the post on the foot of the bed on center to hold the roof. Move the tanks under the new bed and if they don't fit, have a tank built that will fit.

A walk around bed is well worth the expense and labor. It will make life aboard much more comfortable being able to get into bed normally. And it will increase resale appeal.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:57 AM   #18
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Is there a beam at the top of the post? Exposed or under headliner?

When you start the project, measure the distance from the floor to a fixed point on the roof or beam. Cut the pole out and measure the distance again. That will tell you if there is any roof sag or how much deflection without the pole.

Put up a temporary pole to maintain the correct height until a new pole is mounted to the footboard or an additional beam is laminated. Most builders used sawn beams. Laminated beams are stronger and deflect less.
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:13 PM   #19
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Hi Action,

If you want a quick experiment, empty the mid deck and /gently/ wiggle the pole. Then knock on it a few times mid way.

Then, get a bunch of people to stand in the middle of the deck. Get a good 800lbs. Repeat the experiment. You'll likely feel and hear it load. It'll tighten up.

Also note 800lbs of people standing still is a lot less than a much lesser mass of people bouncing.

Like I said, I've seen them moved to make room for a centerline bed, but not removed.

Cheers!
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:24 PM   #20
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I removed the post when I replaced the ceiling panels and had it out for a few months. I can tell you it is not load bearing and the cabin roof didn't flex at all with my 250 lbs walking around on it. I've seen several 42's that don't have the post due to different birth configurations. Marshall produced some from the factory without the post that had a queen instead of the two fulls.

The cabin roof is 1 3/4 " thick with fiberglass on top and bottom. Every mohagany trim piece on the ceiling has a 3/4" x 2" batten spanning the width underneath the panel seems.

You also still have the closet and bathroom structure for support although I don't think they are load bearing either.

I wouldn't hesitate to remove the post, I kind of liked how open it was with out it. I sleep on that bed so it made it easier to slide in and out.

My post was installed noticeably crooked from the factory so when I reinstalled I straightened it up.
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