yet another mast step repair question

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Kiyo, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. Kiyo

    Kiyo New Member

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    My mast step seems pretty messed up, it's deformed. When I step the mast it has a lot of room to rock around from front to back although it seems fairly snug from side to side (the top looks like an oval). On the beat the top of the mast leans aft but when i bear off it rocks forward to aft depending on how much tention I put on the sheet.

    In addition it leaks like crazy and a piece of glass recently fell out of the base.

    Do you guys think this is salvagable or will I have to buy an expensive mast step replacement? I really can't think of a way to make an oval mast step round again.
     
  2. ChrisSmith

    ChrisSmith New Member

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    First, the step hole is supposed to be elongated from front to back at the deck. It's that way by design to give appropriate mast rake up and down wind.

    Second, is it fixable? It's likely fixable. You have to cut one or more access port holes and do lots of glass repair work. I've done this on two older hulls that were in similar shape to what you describe, and both have remained bulletproof and leak-free for several years of regular use, often in windy conditions. Keep in mind that the bottom and top of the tube are the big stress points.
     
  3. drLaser

    drLaser Member

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    Check out the related articles on the drLaser web site, "Maintenance & Fitness" sections.

    If the mast step tube is not separated from the mast base (on the hull), then you can repair any cracks or even large holes on the tube walls without cutting any inspection port holes on your deck.

    Extensive details and directions on that web site.

    SG
     
  4. vtgent49

    vtgent49 Member

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    I'll just add "don't wait!" You're lucky to catch it at this point, and you should be able to patch it and make it last for years. The "kit" is only for when the step blows out, due to rotten plywood, and it is very expensive, and devalues the hull a lot.

    Everyone. It your mast step tube won't hold water overnight w/o draining, FIND OUT WHY, and fix it. Not just old boats, but any hull, and any 5 digit boat should be a serious candidate.

    Al Russell 66451
     
  5. Kiyo

    Kiyo New Member

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    When I push the mast forward or back I can feel the bottum of the tube moving, does this mean I need a new "doughnut"
     
  6. vtgent49

    vtgent49 Member

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    I think after you cut the inspection port and look closely, that you will have the answer. I suspect that you have worn all the way thru the bottom due to sand or whatever grinding away. The question then is how rotten the plywood donus is, determined with an ice pick or screwdriver, etc. Also when you get a shop light inside the hull, then you can look down the darkened mast tube and see the damage quite easily, where light shines thru. This will all make more sense once you have cut the hole and looked.

    Replacing the donut is very hard thru one port, with the mast tube in the way. It is possible. Without the mast tube (as in after a failure) the donut and glass holding it can be ripped out easily with a wrecking bar. The polyester type resin holding it in is nothing like WEST. I just did 66458, so the construction must be the same as 60996.

    I've patched at few (before failure) by glassing right over the old donut with heavy glass and WEST, then filling the tube to seal it. Don't overdue the filling as you won't be legal. I drop in a ss disk to prevent wear, right into the wet epoxy. AFTER you seal the tube, and make it watertight, you can pour a little west between the tube and the donut to prevent motion, and further seal the bottom edge of the tube.

    You've probably worn halfway thru your mast too, so consider end for ending it, then put on a wear kit. Also, this isn't a great time to be worrying about extra weight of glass/epoxy etc. Getting the major leak stopped, and really drying that hull will make the net result much lighter, and a stiff step will combine to make the boat a lot faster.

    Al Russell 66451
     
  7. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    How elongated is the mast step hole supposed to be? With some sheet tension on, I can probably see maybe three sixteenths to a quarter inch (5 mm) between the front of the mast and the front of the mast step hole right at the deck. Is this excessive wear or within spec?
     
  8. vtgent49

    vtgent49 Member

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    That is not an unusual amount. Excessive wear would show up as a different color, as you would have worn through the gelcoat, and into the underlying layer of fiberglass, which would be brownish color. The bottom of the step tube will wear faster than the top, as usually more sand etc. would be around the bottom. The bottom 1/4 inch wears the fastest, or stright down thru the bottom.

    If the step holds water, I'd just put on a teflon wear kit, drop a disk in the bottom and forget about it.

    Al Russell 66451
     

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