Is injecting foam in mast & boom for buoyancy a good idea?

Thread starter #1
Recently bought a used Laser on a Greek island. When it turned turtle on us we couldn't right it. How would injecting polyurethane foam in the mast end and possibly the gooseneck end of the boom work for keeping some water out as well as floatation, so the mast won't sink , work?
I'd drill 1/4' holes in mast in a spiral pattern, inject the foam and after foam cures, epoxy the small drill holes. Anyone see any problems with that?
 
#2
Recently bought a used Laser on a Greek island. When it turned turtle on us we couldn't right it. How would injecting polyurethane foam in the mast end and possibly the gooseneck end of the boom work for keeping some water out as well as floatation, so the mast won't sink , work?
I'd drill 1/4' holes in mast in a spiral pattern, inject the foam and after foam cures, epoxy the small drill holes. Anyone see any problems with that?
Mmmmm, I'd worry about adding ANY holes to the mast. Every time I've had a mast break, it occurred where the rivet holes are.
 
#3
Recently bought a used Laser on a Greek island. When it turned turtle on us we couldn't right it. How would injecting polyurethane foam in the mast end and possibly the gooseneck end of the boom work for keeping some water out as well as floatation, so the mast won't sink , work?
I'd drill 1/4' holes in mast in a spiral pattern, inject the foam and after foam cures, epoxy the small drill holes. Anyone see any problems with that?
If you can't right a turtled Laser then something is wrong. Either the mast is stuck in the bottom, or you are using a wrong technique. The ability to right a turtled Laser is essential to sailing a Laser. Filling the mast with foam will increase the mast's weight and will change the sailing characteristics of the boat improperly. You don't want a heavier mast.
 

torrid

Just sailing
#4
Drilling excess holes will only weaken the mast, and I'm not even sure the foam will help.

If you need a buoyancy aid for the mast, tie a life jacket or an empty jug to the top of the sail. This works quite well. Eventually you can take the training wheels off.
 

LaLi

Active Member
#5
Don't do it.

The Laser topmast is supposed to be watertight. It floats. A foam-filled one wouldn't float any better. You might want to check if the end plugs or rivet holes leak, but even if they do, it won't make you turn turtle much faster. A water-filled topmast would also provide the most leverage against you when horizontal, not when it points down.

The Laser is one of the easiest boats to right. Any problems you have with it have likely nothing to do with mast flotation.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
#6
If you describe in more detail the capsize sequence, we might be able to offer some ideas to prevent turtling in the future.
Did waves make the boat turtle?
 
Thread starter #7
The waves weren't particularly big--we were just coming about --only our second time out on the boat. We had capsized earlier--only 90 degrees and we righted the boat fine. This time we were over a little longer and the boat turned turtle on us. The 2 of us-200lbs each-- couldn't get the boat to right itself with us on the dagger board. Seems like the mast & boom were filled with water. I know the Hobie cats use foam balls at the masthead to prevent this.

More thoughts?
 

LaLi

Active Member
#8
The 2 of us-200lbs each-- couldn't get the boat to right itself with us on the dagger board. Seems like the mast & boom were filled with water.
Oh, my. You overloaded the boat by nearly a factor of two, and still had trouble righting it? Kids less than a third of that weight can do it. Even if the topmast filled completely, it would be a small fraction of your combined mass: its volume is about seven litres.

How did you get it up in the end?
 
#12
Standard rig lasers are easy to right and do not turtle quickly, as you go to Radial and 4.7 rigs because the mast is shorter they turtle much quicker. All of out club lasers have a 2L botttle at the top of the mast and this prevents all the problems. We sail on shallow muddy water and a stuck mast is dangerous and difficult.

Laser 2 is another matter. Bethwaite in Higher performance sailing specifically said it was designed to turtle to avoid drifting away from the sailor which can be fatal. I was amazed how fast it turtles and our club boat now has a sausage mast head float tied above the hounds and to the top of the mast. Works perfectly.
 
#14
There must be something wrong with your top section. When righting it, remember to have feet on the gunwhale and to lean off the board, and if you still have trouble, to turn the boat up into the wind. At 400lbs, with a standard laser or laser 2, you should not have too much of a problem righting it. As Lali said before, the top section is supposed to be water tight. A little bit of water at the top end of the mast can make a difference, as it has leverage.
Good Luck,
laser 4.7sailor
 
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