Help! My mast sections are stuck together!

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Ninzel, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. Ninzel

    Ninzel New Member

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    Help! I can't get my mast sections apart on my full rig!

    I only got my old boat a few weeks ago and have finished restoring it. When I was first fiddling around with the mast I noticed that the sections were quite loose fitting. The advice to me at that point was to wrap just enough gaffa tape around each of the two plasitic caps on the top section to make it snug. I acheived this with 1.5 'wraps' around the lower cap and 2.5 'wraps' around the upper cap. On the day in question I found that for some reason this arrangement was a little more than snug, and I needed to place the base of the mast up against a wooden pole and bang the sections together. No problem. Went sailing, had fun, capsized a couple of times, came back in and derigged. Now when I went to pull the sections apart I couldn't do it with my bare hands. Again, no problem, I've had this before, I simply hook the boom tang (is that what its called where the boom joins the mast??) behind a metal pole and, holding the top section, give it a few sharp heave-ho's towards me, and usually the two sections pop apart. What happens this time is that the upper plastic ring cracks, the rivet rips through the plastic and falls out, and the two sections come apart about 10-12 inches, only this time the upper plastic ring is still buried in the lower section. In this position, the mast is firmly stuck! Further attempts to bash the sections apart results in the rivets holding the boom tang on becoming loose, and trying to bash them back together results in the plastic cap at the bottom of the lower section breaking and getting smash into the mast. Add into the mix that this happened down at the sailing club and the mast complete is too long to be transported on the trailer I have access to, and you can see that I'm in a bit of a pickle!

    My guess is that my gaffa tape has become bunched up inside thus making a lovely wedge to stop the sections from moving. So, does anyone have any suggestions for how to get the sections apart so I can repair the schemozzle I've created for myself???
     
  2. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Member

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    Blow torch.
     
  3. vtgent49

    vtgent49 Member

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    If you can get the bottom plug out, preferably by drilling out the rivets, and pulling it, then you will be able to insert something into the bottom section from the bottom. Use that to push the top section plugs out.

    A top section should fit, and slide by the gooseneck (boom tang) rivets. Or a smaller piece of pipe. Light taps on it should eventually push out the top plug.

    Then order all the parts you've broken, and a good rivet gun and reassemble as needed. Loose rivets cannot be "bashed" back, but must be replaced. It may be a good time to end for end the sections, if you find corrosion in the old rivet holes.

    Or, take the top off the top (nicely!) and use the pipe to push the bottom plug off the top section. Shove it down and out of the way, and leave it if need be.

    And be gentle next time.

    Al Russell 182797
     
  4. PlaneSailing

    PlaneSailing Member

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    Hi, have had a similar problem but fortunately was able to extract the detached plug of the TS by tapping the BS against a towel on the ground.
    The proper fix is as suggested above.
    What I do now, having completely removed all tape, is to join the two sections during rigging. They can rotate freely versus one another. Line up the 2 red arrows and wrap c. 6" of wide tape on the OUTSIDE of the join. When you de-rig, remove the tape and the sections pull apart easily. Keep the tape, you can re-use it several times.
     
  5. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    FWIW, the class rules don't allow that:

    Tape or other bushing material may be applied to both the plastic end cap, the collar of the upper mast and the upper mast to ensure a snug fit. The tape or bushing material may only be used on that portion of the plastic parts that actually slide into the lower section and/or between the upper mast and the collar and it shall be a uniform thickness around the circumference. Taping or bushing material above the collar to fair the collar into the mast is prohibited.

    *******************************
    The purpose of taping the collar and end cap is to reduce the slop between upper and lower, which gives a fairer bend to the mast, which makes the sail set a little better.
     
  6. PlaneSailing

    PlaneSailing Member

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    Oops! Thanks for that, sorry to mislead anyone.
    IMHO, seems quite a harsh rule. The tape is used merely to prevent rotation, not to alter any bend characteristics or create an illegal shape on the mast. Before I removed the tape from the collar, it was a major drama separating the 2 sections.
    I think I saw somewhere (notes from a laser clinic ?) that you can apply tape above and below the joint in such a way to minimise the risk of a wrinkle running from the joint to the clew.
     
  7. gordo

    gordo New Member

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    what i was taught as the reason for having the rivits facing the stern of the boat was: as the mast bends you want the rivits facing backwards because if they are not then the holes were the rivits were put in bend and flex which are a factor that add to mast breakage
     
  8. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    This might help things, or it might make things quite a bit worse: I'd consider slopping a little acetone into the space to see if you can soften up the adhesive on the tape. Then work a hacksaw blade or some similar flat tool in there and see if you can start pulling out bits of tape. It'll take patience.
     
  9. Rob E

    Rob E Member

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    Have you tried heating the lower mast section? Blow torch might
    be overkill. :) But boiling water might work.
     
  10. Wafoo

    Wafoo New Member

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    blowtorch would be good,carefully applied,expand the alloy,off she comes
     
  11. Stephen_Green

    Stephen_Green Member

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    Don't forget that plastic expands more than aluminium, so try to keep the heat on the lower section only.
     
  12. sorosz

    sorosz Member

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    If you follow the suggestions in close order, acetone and then a blow torch, make sure you video tape what happens (from a safe distance) and post it on the web! ;-)
     
  13. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    How tight or lose should the two section be. The other day I rigged my new boat (1st time) and the two sections were quite lose (top section stayed in the sail when removing the mast. However, I don't want to "overdo" things and run into the problems above.


    Also, are there risks to using a slightly lose mast joint or is is a small issue with creases in the sail ?


    Many thanks
    Ian
     
  14. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    The sections should be tight for the best sail shape. If you use the right tape, you shouldn't run into the above issues.

    There are no risks in a loose joint, just not getting the best possible sail shape
     
  15. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    [FONT=Monaco, monospace]Maybe I will use electrical insulating tape as I think this would probably "slide" rather than jam the sections together but should stay in place when sailing as it would only be subject to sideways pressure.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Monaco, monospace]Any better suggestions re: the correct type of tape much appreciated[/FONT]


    [FONT=Monaco, monospace]Many thanks[/FONT]


    [FONT=Monaco, monospace]Ian[/FONT]
     
  16. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    electrical tape is a no-no, right behind duct tape.

    You want tape that does not compress as much under load. Electrical and Duct tape also don't slide easily against the alum side wall (making taking them apart a lot harder)

    Clear packing tape works fine (the kind you close up boxes when shipping with).

    If you have a fat wallet, you can use UHMW tape such as this: http://www.apsltd.com/Tree/d90000/e88162.asp
     
  17. cbyc_radial_sailor

    cbyc_radial_sailor New Member

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  18. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Would that be what I call Sellotape - readily available in supermarkets, stationers, everywhere. The normal stuff companies use for closing up boxes is normally brown. Both can be quite sticky when taken off but will probably clear OK with white spirit/acetone (or something similar).
    Many thanks
    Ian
     

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