The Alberg 37 MK II is built with a fiberglass pan that makes up the inner structure. There is another inner pan that makes up the headliner and this one contours the inside dimensions of the cabin top pretty well but there are little features that hold bulkheads in place or spots to drill your curtain hangers into and so on. The only thing is that the gap between the fiberglass pan and the fiberglass cabin top creates a whole host of problems in an old boat. I’ve spoken about the port hole issues at length so I will not go into that again but one of the other small issues is that the pan does not completely retain its shape over many years, temperature changes, and varying loads. A great example that owners may be familiar with is in the lockers in the v-berth. One look in there and you can see the pan drooping down into the locker – not a huge deal at all, just a little lost space. However, one of the little annoyances I have been mulling over in my head over the years is the first companionway step that hangs over the sink. It is at a slight downward angle – a perfect recipe for slipping one day. Again, not a huge deal, just something I have been trying to figure out for a while. I want the steps to be level and all at the same angle for safety.
The problem is that the curve of the fiberglass pan is very strong and rigid while the outer perimeter of the pan is subject to movement. The loads created by people stepping on the step create an upward pressure on the outside edge of the pan and so over the years it has moved up and closed the gap in between the pan and the outer structure of the boat. This makes the step sag a little at a downward angle.
The fix took less than five minutes and is working so well I figured I should share it in case anyone else cares about this type of thing 😉
I found a scrap piece of teak that was about 7/16 or a 1/2 inch thick and cut it long enough so that it would span the two aluminum brackets that hold up the step.
I then loosened the bolts that hold up the step a little bit and slid the teak in between the metal bracket and the fiberglass pan. After that I tightened up the bolts again and the step is perfectly level and strong as ever! It actually feels better stepping down into the companionway and you get just a hair more step to put your foot on as a result of the forward swing of the step as well. A win – win. 🙂