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Laser Mast Step Worn Out - Cracked Hull


New Member
Good Day Mates,

I have a 'new to me Laser' that was thrown into my hands. The boat must be early 80's, and it sails, but needs some TLC.

I just installed an inspection port on the foredeck to get a better look at what the issue is - it doesn't look too bad.

1. There is a crack in the hull underneath the mast step that leaks water. The crack is pretty straight, about 4 inches, and doesn't look terrible from the outside.

2. I believe this boat did not have a piece of stainless installed underneath the mast step because it was before that era.

3. The mast step has separated from the bottom of itself, about a quarter inch from the bottom, and I can tell this by pressing down around the mast hole in the deck and seeing movement down the tube - there is about a quarter inch of separation within the tube at the break.

4. I presume that the mast step was stressed down until it wore a crack in the hull, but also stressed a bit up the tube to cause the separation of the tube.

5. Since this laser is very old to begin with, I do not plan on racing too competitively. The donut looks like its in good shape, and the mast step isn't going to fail, but a little reinforcement might be needed. I understand that since the hull has flexed out by not being connected to the deck via the mast step, the 'give' in the hull will slow it down. My main concern is with the hole in the hull underneath the mast step. If I can fix both at the same time, that would be great, but I need to find perspective on the procedure.

6. I worked at Laser Performance one summer in college building 420s and Sunfish, so I am pretty capable of fixing the boat myself.

Any and all suggestions are welcome, and I am glad to be a new laser sailor!

Thank you.


Well-Known Member
Can you post some pictures of the mast step (now that you have access to the interior)? I can't completely visualize where the problem is, but if there is any disconnect between the step and the bottom, it's a major accident waiting to happen. Is the step tube really totally cut off somewhere? Doesn't it leak like crazy then?

The boat must be early 80's
Just read and tell us the transom code and we'll know the building month :D



New Member
1975 lol ...
As you can see, the daylight is peaking though the gap at the bottom of the mast step. Looking down the tube, you can see the separating at the very bottom. I also included a picture of the top of the mast step. I have more pictures if needed!



ZFS = Performance Sailcraft (1974 [as per hulls 16950-51626]-1985) (Point Claire, Québec) built in June 1975. Sail #28522
The hole on the bottom looks like it was repaired previously, and has now failed miserably. The inside pic of the mast tube shows a few cracks, and on the right side of pic 2 shows goop where the water is leaking in, and I see light coming in the boat from in between the block and the mast sleeve at the bottom of the boat, I'll bet there isn't much left holding the tube to the block or the bottom of the boat! :confused: Top of the mast tube and the deck doesn't look stable, and would probably rip your deck off if you went sailing, in due time. The steel you are referring to is probably an extra wear plate that is usually put down the mast tube to reduce the friction from the bottom of the mast plug when it rotates.

I would be tempted to approach this by flipping her over, grinding out all of the old repair, even if you go through the hull and make the crack a big hole, until you find stable, good glass, then you will know how much work you will have on your hands. Try to salvage as much of the mast tube as you can, and without losing the original length. Here is a great video (3 video series) of a repair, that is a non-traditional approach, working from the bottom like I would do. You would have great access to fix everything as well as the tube. 1)
; 2)
; and, 3)

If you are unable to cut out a piece of the hull like in the video because the damage is actually under the step block and you ground the damage out, I'm sure there are other videos out there that show how to form a plate of fiberglass, basically building up layers to the same thickness as the hull, to put in place when you are ready to close her up. After fixing the bottom and top of the mast tube, don't forget the inside cracks. Wrapping fiberglass tape around the tube from the inside will definitely help. I did that and added Flex Seal liquid over the repair, and also some epoxy to the inside of the tube using a paper towel tube to help smooth it out before it kicked off. Don't think I will ever have another leak!

That's a doozy of a crack I gotta say. I'm sure others will have good (better than mine for sure) recommendations as well, give'm time. Let us know how it turns out or if you have other questions, I like to see how everyone fairs with their repairs! :D