Anyone ever given any thought to making the bulkhead posts permanent and act as compression posts? The Contessa is one of the only boats I've ever seen that doesn't have a compression post or a keel stepped mast.
Having my boat all apart, and I mean all apart, it's easy to see why the deck oilcans on these boats - it's very apparent that mast loads are transmitted through the glassed in "cross member" to the deck, and then to the hull. The only transmission of mast loads to the hull (where you want them) is at the hull/deck joint, localized at the cross member. There is no member in compression that supports the mast directly.
Building a mast support beam, as seen, would help, but only by strengthening the cabintop and transmitting more load to the side decks and hull deck joint - which would stop the oilcanning. The bulkhead posts rest on the floor, and up against the liner. I'd bet that on every Co26 that has actually been sailed, you'll see the liner is stressed or cracked where the bulkhead posts sit. Solution? Thru bolt the posts to the cross member (sleeves, brass or otherwise thru the wood) and then cut away the floor liner and glass em to the hull. At least I think so. Ideas anyone?