Stainless steel upgrade for your old, less than adequate, cast aluminum spreader brackets.
This kit replaces the the original aluminum castings with stainless steel weldments.
The original cast aluminum spreader brackets will, on occasion, fail catastrophically. This can lead to the loss of the entire rig. The problem is that there is typically no warning that failure is eminent. They don't bend or crack then break. They just break.
These stainless steel weldments eliminate the problem. The lower shroud tangs are fitted to the exact location so your existing lower shrouds can be used if you have a Catalina 25 or Catalina 27. If you have a Catalina 22, you will need to change all of your lower shrouds because the method of attachment to the new tangs is different.
It is easy to tell if your boat still has the old cast aluminum spreader brackets as they are the same color as the castings at both ends of your boom whereas the new weldments have a shiny, chrome-like finish.
Cast aluminum spreader brackets on a Catalina 27. Note the shroud tang attached to the bottom.
Original Cast Aluminum Spreader Brackets
The original cast aluminum version will have a dull gray finish, and will have a stainless steel tang attached to the bottom for the upper attachment points for the lower shrouds.
While cast aluminum is a very hard metal, it is also very brittle. The specific way it will fail is called brittle fracture.
Failure of the spreader brackets can result in the loss of the entire rig. Not only is that very expensive, it also puts you and your crew at risk as that mast will have to fall somewhere, possibly injuring someone severely.
Z1903 Stainless Steel Spreader Bracket Upgrade Kit for the Catalina 25 and Catalina 27
All of the parts are shown here laid out for viewing. Our kit includes all new stainless steel hardware to go with the new spreader brackets.
There is no need to reuse the old hardware with the new kit. In fact, due to the likely presence of galvanic corrosion, it may not even be possible to do so.
This is particularly true of the bolt that secures the lower, small diameter, tube in place.
The larger diameter upper tube is held in place by the two sheet metal screws shown at the bottom of the photo. They are screwed into the sockets for the spreader tubes.
Note that the large compression tube does not match the position of the spreader tube sockets exactly. This is normal and expected.
The large diameter upper compression tube is held in place by two sheet metal screws driven into the middle of the spreader tube sockets. They act as "pegs" to support the tube.
The components of D109 Spreader Bracket Set shown.
D109 Stainless Steel Spreader Bracket Upgrade Kit for the Catalina 22 with the Oval Sided Mast
The Catalina 22 Oval Sided Bracket Kit has only one, small diameter, compression tube to install.
The oval sided mast was the original mast used on first generation boats. All of the oval sided masts were originally equipped with cast aluminum spreader brackets, so unless you or a prior owner have installed this upgrade, it will need to be done.
The components of D131 Spreader Bracket Set shown.
D131 Stainless Steel Spreader Bracket Upgrade Kit for the Catalina 22 with the Flat Sided Mast
The Catalina 22 Flat Sided Bracket Kit also has only one, small diameter, compression tube to install.
As far as we know, all of the flat sided masts were equipped with stainless steel spreader brackets, so you will likely only need to replace these if your's have become damaged in some manner.
Corrosion and How We Help You Prevent It
We include a tube of Marelube teflon based gel. It should be applied wherever there is metal-to-metal contact between parts. Even similair metals can be of different specific alloys and have different electrical potential, which is a recipe for galvanic corrosion. That's where Marelube comes in. The factory didn't give metal parts this treatment, so it is very likely you will encounter that problem where the small compression tube and its supporting bolt meet. I have done this particular upgrade more than once, and the small compression tube had welded itself to the bolt every time.
To deal with this, use a rotary tool like a Dremel or equivalent to cut off both the head and tail of the bolt (cut them as flush to the mast surface as possible). Then you'll need to drill/grind the bolt back enough to be able to force it out of the hole in the mast, allowing it to drop into the mast. This is the hardest part of the upgrade. Once done, you'll have smooth sailing for the rest of the project. Make sure to treat the spreader tubes where they contact the sockets on the brackets as well.
The other step we take is that we apply Delrin Weather/Corrosion Rsistant Dielectric Self-Adhesive Insulator to the backside of the spreader brackets to act as a barrier between the aluminum mast extrusion and the stainless steel spreader bracket.
Delrin is a very effective elecrical insulator and is ideally suited to this task.