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Laser mast on a sunfish?

Dickhogg

Active Member
This happened tonight. :^(
IMG_1422.JPG
Has anyone here tried using a laser top mast section as a sunfish mast? the length is the same but the diameter is a little less. I rekon I can pack out the mast-step with some plastic pipe and figure something out on the top cap with a block.
I ask because LPUK are currently out of stock on sunfish masts, I have a possible donor laser mast and I don't want this to be the end of my summer sailing.
 

jCruisin

Member
Sure it would work if you could work the slight problems out.

I would put something softer in the mast step.

Make sure to use fasteners on the mast cap.

Make sure you have a gooseneck that sticks well and you pull that halyard as tight as you possibly can every time, don’t want it to slip.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
As above, the internal support sleeve is steel or stainless steel.

As long as it's not subject to a lengthy electrolysis, it'd be heavier—but not weaker—than a Laser mast.

.
 

Dickhogg

Active Member
Thanks for all the suggestions! This forum is great. Breeze Bender, many thanks for the offer! I am indeed in the UK though. It wasn't too traumatic. The sea is nice and warm at the moment and I got plenty of help getting it back on shore. I am having second thoughts on the laser top mast because they are designed to flex quite a bit. Also J's point about the gooseneck being too big is a valid one. I think sleeve and rivets sounds good except this mast is 42 years old and quite pitted so it would only be a short term option.
Interestingly I have found an aluminium tube supplier that I think can ship me a tube of pretty close spec for 1/3 the cost of a sunfish mast. Once again this forum was essential in figuring that out.

Sunfish Mast and Boom Specs
 

Dickhogg

Active Member
I don't think it is anodised. Thats annoying. My sail is in good nic and it would be a shame to spoil it. I suppose you get some kind of black mark off the spa? I guess I could just stick a couple of strips of tape up the port-side of the mast where it will touch the sail.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
Watch the tape doesn't do the same thing. Maybe a quality white paint that you can easily touch up from time to time?
 

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
OP, you can repair that broken mast using a tubular aluminum insert on the inside and a sleeve over the break on the outside... adds weight but keeps ya sailing, and any good industrial metal supply place will have the tubing you need. You said the mast was old and pitted, so you may not wanna go this route, but I did it with an older broken Laser mast (roughly the same location above deck, original spar from Laser #2069) and it worked great, just added extra weight as mentioned. I asked a boatyard pro about possibly welding my broken mast, but he said the aluminum would be annealed, so no dice... honest answer, and he was the same guy who suggested the insert & sleeve as a repair. :rolleyes:

I found an insert that fit like a glove, but the outer sleeve was just a tiny bit loose, so I filled the gap with sheet aluminum cut to specs, using regular 2-part epoxy glue to keep everything in place. Had to tap the aluminum sheet into place with a hammer, but when it was all done, we were sailing again for a grand total of what? $15 in repairs? Might have been less, but that repair was solid, we sailed the boat in 20+ knots of breeze afterward and never had a problem, just the extra few pounds and odd-looking sleeve on the lower mast. You might look into this sort of solution, even if it's only temporary to keep you sailing this year. Cheers!!! :cool:

Edit: Oh, yeah, I'll try to give ya the length of each tubular piece from memory, the insert was... um... about two feet long, maybe a couple inches shorter, while the outer sleeve was... I wanna say about 16" in length, again, it may have been a tad shorter, hard to visualize the pieces after so many years, it's no secret anymore that I suffer from CRS, LOL. ;)

Edit #2: Just had a thought about the gooseneck, you'd have to work around that problem, since the sleeve would block the gooseneck... not an issue with a Laser. However, you may get away with a good strong tubular insert, shortening the sleeve as necessary or not using it at all. I'd try to put some sort of sleeve on the outside of the break, even a shortened one... ya might have to rig the boat funny, sliding the gooseneck over the upper end or head of the mast instead of dropping the mast through the gooseneck, but you'll figure it out. :D

Edit #3: One last thing, you can carry the broken stump in with ya when you visit the metal supply place, makes it easy to size the tubing you'll need to effect a repair... the stump is actually rather convenient for the purpose, beats carrying the whole spar and whacking other customers with it, LOL. :eek:
 
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Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
Waiting to sign a counter offer with the realtor, so I went back and read some of the other replies to your post... you can use aluminum tubing for both insert & sleeve, we did and it was plenty strong enough, sailed in heller breeze for at least a decade afterward, no problems whatsoever. I bought the tubing sections at Handy Metal Mart in National City, mainly because they have a freakin' huge inventory of metal stock, pipes, etc., but any decent metal supply place or industrial warehouse in the UK would have something you could use. I think I already had the piece of sheet aluminum which I used to fill the slight gap between spar & outer sleeve... the insert fit perfectly and all I had to do was slather some 2-part epoxy glue on it, as well as a little glue on the inside wall of the spar. Both insert & sleeve walls were at least 1/4" thick, they might have been 3/8" or more, they were pretty stout. The sheet aluminum was thin, maybe 1/16"? Anyway, this sorta repair is a good viable option for simple recreational sailing, if you're racing you'll probably want a new spar... moi, I wasn't racing, though I still sail at a high level of performance, I'm just a notoriously cheap b@stard who will fix stuff for pennies on the dollar if I can squeeze more life out of it. :rolleyes:
 

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
No worries, it's just a way to keep sailing, and it doesn't have to be permanent either, though the repair I made lasted for years... until I sold the boat when I needed money. Funny thing about that Laser, I sold her twice to friends and eventually bought her back, but the third time she went for good, kinda sad after several decades of sailing her. Find a good metal supply place with heaps of tubing, they'll cut sections to length for ya as long as you're buying, LOL. Be sure to get aluminum sheeting there as well if you think you'll need it, it'll save you a return trip... the sheet will serve as a spacer to fill any slight gap between spar and insert or tube. More on this in a moment... :rolleyes:

You might wanna measure the section of mast BELOW the spot where your gooseneck usually rests, including that part of the broken stump above deck, so you can figure out the length of sleeve required. That would be your only real problem, if the break is right up where the gooseneck usually rests, looks to be somewhat below that spot in your pics, but kinda hard to tell, you have a Sunfish and I had a Minifish after the Laser. Meh, just walk into a metal supply yard with the stump under one arm and find the aluminum tubing sections you need, it'd be a cheap fix even if it's only temporary, AYE? Moi, I wanted to keep sailing, so I found a viable way to do it, and it was pretty cheap too, though I ran around a bit while figuring it all out, LOL. :confused:

Oh, yeah, if you have any play between spar and insert or sleeve, you'll need some thin aluminum sheeting to cut and form a cylindrical wrap-around spacer... any such spacer will be a cut rectangle of sheeting which you bend into cylindrical shape and then tap into place with a hammer, don't forget the 2-part epoxy as you do this, otherwise you'll never get the aluminum sheet back out, LOL. Not without great difficulty anyway... it's a bit messy with the glue, so keep a rag and maybe some solvent handy to clean up as you go, right? When I pulled this repair, it took less than an hour, and that included measuring the aluminum sheet and cutting it to spec... I didn't wait for the epoxy to dry when I glued the insert, it was snug so I just kept going and installed the outer sleeve. :cool:

GOOD LUCK TO YA, MAKE SURE YA FIT THE TWO MAST SECTIONS TOGETHER THE SAME WAY THEY WERE WHEN THEY BROKE APART, LOL... ;)
 

Dickhogg

Active Member
Reviving this thread on the request of Norcalsail
I realised I never reported back on my new mast. They came back into stock at LPUK so I bought a new one.

As for what happened, I just think the mast failed because it was old and pitted. It was a windy day, I launched and within about 30 seconds of sheeting right in it snapped. I was hiked right out and went straight in the water. The fun bit was getting back on shore. We had a safety boat (a rib) on the water and they managed to get me alongside them and as close as they dared to the beach, released me and the boat with a bit of momentum and I kind of surfed in on wave power alone.
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
Thank you for your story Dick. This is something that will be in the back of my mind this summer when I'm sailing the Old Fish in Wisconsin. The mast on that boat is 43 years old and who knows how much longer it will last. At least I have my Cyclone 13 as a back up. I just need to figure out how to rig it...
 
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