My Laser Mistake (and a specific mast step repair Q)

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Kaiser, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    Soooo.... I made a mistake. Someone on here was (is) selling an awesome nearly new Laser in my area at a good price - but I decided to be cheap and get an older one.

    I thought it looked decent when I went to look at it - but now I realize it's kind of a POS... that I paid way too much for. I'd looked on here (and read the laser buying guide) before I bought... but sometimes things don't sink in until you've really seen it. Oh well... live and learn.

    Anyway, my specific question is this:

    There is about a quarter of an inch of open space between the bottom of my mast step tube and the hull. I can press down on the deck fairly easily and get them to touch. Should I put something heavy on the deck when I glass it in so that they touch - or is that space supposed to be there (though it should obviously be sealed so it doesn't leak)?

    If it's supposed to be there, how do people deal with glassing it in without getting a bunch of epoxy in the mast tube?

    Oh - also - is that sort of donut shaped indented space around the top of the mast step supposed to be there - or did the previous owner do something weird there?

    Here are pics and a video of the movement and the situation:
    [​IMG]

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    http://www.texasxterraclub.com/kaiser/Laser/MOV02241.MPG

    Help me Laserforum.org, you're my only hope! :eek:
     
  2. bjmoose

    bjmoose Member

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  3. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    Thanks for the link, but my question still stands -

    Anyone have any thoughts on whether I should make the tube and the hull touch? is there supposed to be a bottom in the tube that's not there any more?

    Another question - what do I use to fill in all that extra space (between the outside of the tube and the inside of the wooden ring) at the bottom to bring it up flush like in schroth's pictures? That's going to be a lot of fiberglass. I could use 5200 there I suppose...
     
  4. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    The tube needs to be firmly and perm. attached to the hull so there is no movement of the tube.

    The tube needs to have a bottom. Measure the depth of the tube, it should be 14" from the deck to the bottom of the tube. If it's more, fill the tube with until it's 14" and then drop a SS wear plate in.

    Fill the space between the sides of the tube and plywood base with a mix of resin/filler.. peanut butter consistancy.

    There are a number of good threads on here that explain everything - use the search and search on "Mast Step Repair"

    Here's one to get you started
    http://www.laserforum.org/laser-rep....html?t=4195&highlight=Mast+step+repair+depth
     
  5. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    Ooh - yeah I should have searched a bit more... sorry!

    Thanks very much for the link and info though!

    Oh - I didn't want to wait for a real wear plate to arrive so I found a great substitute.... I bought a cheap teflon coated aluminum pot and I figure I'll just cut a circle out of the bottom of it!
     
  6. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Just curious. Did you do the "water in the mast tube" test before buying the boat? From the pics and your description it sounds like water just free flows from the mast tube into the hull.

    Seems to me like the seller should have disclosed this damage as it looks like there is no way he could have been ignorant to it.
     
  7. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    No - we didn't do that test (and I'm really really embarrassed about that :( )

    AAR, the repair is done.

    As you can kinda see in the pics, first I prepped it, then I filled in the little donut area in several steps with 404/406 thickened epoxy, then the real glassing:
    1) I wrapped the whole mast step tube with a spiral of 4" wide fiberglass tape to thicken/reinforce it a bit
    2) I took four ~12" long x 4" wide strips and ran them from halfway up the tube down to the hull and out off of each corner of the wooden block thing
    3) I took another 4" strip and wrapped it around the base of the mast step again to make a good solid connection between those tabs and the tube
    4) I took an 18"x18" piece of cloth and cut a hole out of the middle with a cut going to it and put that on the hull - so the other half of those tabs are solidly connected to the hull.
    5) I flipped the boat over and repeated the same procedure to secure the top half of the mast tube to the underside of the deck.

    I'll drop in my little metal disk when I flip it back over... I intentionally over-did it a bit to make it hella strong. Now I'm just concerned about the super soft back half of the boat... will see after the test sail (hopefully next weekend).

    [​IMG]

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  8. stick

    stick Member

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    nice job kaiser. the pictures ( before and after) are well done also. they should help any other
    owner perform the same operation. one other suggestion, while you are comfortable getting inside the hull. i would reinforce with backer plates the areas that you can reach for: 1) Pro Rigging ( block area at mast base, the area for the outhaul and cunningham at "old" cunningham spot. 2) Main sheet block area and hiking strap front plate.
    if you take care of all of those and add upgraded rigging and a new hiking strap, it will give you peace of mind during your boat rehab.
    thanks for all of the updates on your progress.
     
  9. mlemieux1978

    mlemieux1978 New Member

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    Great job!

    Since you have it wide open like that, how does the rest of the boat look? Does the deck core look dry? Never done it on a laser before, but when I did the maststep repair on my santana 20 I sealed the area with plastic sheeting with a dehumidifier underneath and let it rip for 2 days. pulled about a gallon of water out of the inside of the boat. Are you going to put in 2 inpection ports or put the pieces of deck back?
     
  10. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    Oh I guess it doesn't look too bad... the pieces of deck that I cut out for the inspection ports didn't look like they had been holding water. At any rate I've had a fan blowing air through the boat for a few days.

    There are a couple spots where the deck surface has become delaminated from the foam deck core. I figure I'll just drill holes and squirt in some epoxy.

    For the time being I plan to just put in 2 inspection ports with 5200 (will I regret that? - should I use something weaker?) - but I'll save the pieces I cut out in case I change my mind.

    This thing may end up 50% inspection port by the time I'm done :D .. already thinking about putting some ribs or something in the area around the back of the cockpit
     
  11. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Nice work

    What happened?

    The mast twisted and turned against the bottom of the tube until it wore through the bottom edge of the side walls and then...By the way, you are soooooo lucky the entire thing didn't tip over and bust hell out if the deck...I mean super duper lucky...

    but I digress. Your early photos show the bottom end of the tube still stuck to the hull. The photos show the wad of goo into which the mast was originally planted broken loose and swiveling around as the mast tube also danced around inside the pocket...and didn't manage to jump out...a miracle at the least.

    Anyway, you have already re seated the bottom of the tube and I hope you did something like hook a tape measure to the top of the lower section and measure about 151 inches to the tangent to the top of the transom...but it's too late for that...

    I like your repair but I want to see a couple more things added.

    1. The photos on my website show how to put glass around the tube. You are already inside working on the boat and you don't really know the condition of the pocket into which the mast step sits. Glassing it to the hull and running that glass up the sides of the tube is simply a good insurance move. http://schrothfiberglass.com/maststep.htm
    2. The bottom of the mast tube is now nothing but a bunch of poured in material. Pushing the mast out the bottom of the boat is not a super concern but, especially if you don't add the glass around the perimeter, the hull just might push down and crack your repair loose.
    So when you add the glass suggested in #1, think about how that glass has the job of keeping the hull from pushing down away from the tube.
    ( If I had seen this before you repaired the boat I would have suggested you rebuild the bottom of the tube before sticking it in place. Originally teh mast sat on teh bottom of a "drinking glass" which was glued to teh bottom of the boat. Now you are siting on material sitting on the bottom of the boat with a small amount of vertical adhesion to the tube walls. Your repair is missing a lot of the structure the new boat once had...and your new boat failed. Unless you add some vertical structure the repair could blow up on your first trip sailing)

    3. The type of material you used is not slippery enough for the mast to turn easily. You must add a wear plate or a disc of Teflon sheet or you will overstress the goeseneck fitting.


    One thing you can do that may help the durability a lot...

    Measure the depth of some other Laser mast tubes.

    Measure yours and see if you have space left to fill.

    if you can add more material without making your mast tube shallower than everybody else's, mix choped up fiberglass in some epoxy and add to the bottom of your step. The tube is slightly tapered and any plug inside will be difficult to push through the bottom. A thicker plug will be harder to break through.

    Reality?? if your step ends up a half inch shallower than everybody elses it won't hurt a thing and your boat will not be as likely to break.

    Don't worry about creating a cheater boat by shallow mast step. The boat will never be as fast as it was 30 years ago. You just want it to sail safely and not break and maybe let you race a whole lot and have fun.

    Summary: You are doing great. I want to see more. Failure does not need to be an option and failure of the mast step means a brutally difficult deck repair. Overbuilding is the ONLY way to go.

    Good luck
     
  12. Al Black

    Al Black New Member

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    Or eat loads of Pringles and trim the lids to fit!
     
  13. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    Thanks for the extra info. I was wondering if there was some kind of cup or something that originally held the bottom of the mast.


    I think I already did this (it's hard to see in the pics). I wrapped the mast tube in a spiral of 4" glass tape to make it thicker/stronger, then I ran four 4"x16" strips from the middle of the mast tube down to the hull and out along the hull (one comes off each corner like an X). Then to bond those "tabs" to the tube and to the hull better, I wrapped the tube with another piece of 4" tape and I laid down an 18x18" sheet of cloth (with a hole cut out of the center and one cut going to the hole) over the entire area on the hull. I then flipped the boat and repeated this procedure to strengthen the connection between the tube and the underside of the deck.

    Maybe it's easier to see in this morning-after pic (it's upside down):
    [​IMG]

    Here's the part where the top of the tube connects with the deck. The glass is still wet in this pic (and you can see bubbles etc - didn't do as good a job on this part because I couldn't see it):
    [​IMG]




    A few things I learned that may be helpful to others:
    1) A scotch-brite pad (scouring pad/sponge) soaked in acetone is totally the way to go for pre and post-sanding cleanup.

    2) A flapper disk on a hand drill works pretty well for sanding

    3) I went with two 5" inspection ports as opposed to the more normal single. It might look bad - but it made the job easier and I was more concerned about doing a good job on the glass than anything since this is my first real project with fiberglass.

    4) The West System stuff is crazy expensive - but it really is nice stuff and worth the $$

    5) A webcam stuck inside the hull would have been a great way to improve visibility.
     
  14. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Oh Good. I feel lots better...

    Did you build a new end on teh tube before you planted it i teh donut?? That is the " I wish you had done it" thing I was whining about.

    It does look strong enough to me now that I know what I am seeing.

    Regardless. You did pretty work. it's a pain to work down inside like that. and certainly not easy to make it pretty.

    pretty... generally means good adhesion.

    rah rah.

    Now go sail it before the snow comes!!
     
  15. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    No - no cup at the bottom (I didn't know at the time that it was supposed to have one) - but I poured slightly thickened epoxy in there until the level was up to the bottom of the tube (exactly 14" now from the epoxy level to the top of the deck) and then after it was dry I threw in a 2.5" teflon-coated aluminum disk (cut out of the bottom of a cheap cooking pot ;) ).

    What is this "snow" you speak of?
    I just realized that I don't have my location showing. I'm in NW Austin and plan to test sail this thing either this weekend or the next. Any place you recommend putting in at Lake Travis?


    Oh, I finally rigged it yesterday afternoon for the first time (sail number is not my hull number... the hull is 30 thousand-something):
    [​IMG]

    It actually came with 3 sails - an old crappy one, the one shown (which is in pretty good condition for casual sailing), and a more-or-less brand new one!
     
  16. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    Welp, it looks like the maiden voyage of the SS Inspection Port will probably have to wait another week. I've been busting arse to get it ready to sail for the first time on Saturday (my 34th birthday, actually)... but it looks like Hurricane Ike is planning to park itself in Austin on.... oh.... SATURDAY :(
     
  17. Stoov123

    Stoov123 New Member

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    Good job. Thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations. Do you have pics of the top deck access repairs? I just sold a 1965 Flying Dutchman that needed a fair amount of work. When it came time to by a Laser, I spent a little extra a bought one in great condition. It was only $250 more than others that needed (had) a few repairs. I found that when I added up the cost of the material, time and the damage to my marriage; I didn't really come out ahead. Lesson learned: I enjoy working on boats, but like to sail them more.
     
  18. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    well fvor crap sakes.

    Wednesday Night sailing at ayc is teh place you need to be...

    After September we will sail some saturdays all winter.


    We have a local email list and you reallly need to be on it.

    I will send you a personal message through this site
     
  19. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    I wonder if the family of plumbing supplier Thomas Crapper ever regrets his promotion of the flush toilet?
     
  20. Kaiser

    Kaiser Member

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    I might take next wednesday off or something and make a day of it... would be nice to meet some of the other locals.


    I just plan to put in 2 inspection ports for the time being - though since I have two of them it would be pretty easy to stick one of the holes I cut out back in, put a patch on from underneath, and fill in the gaps with epoxy (which would look bad - but would be mechanically strong).
     

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