Leaky Mast Step

Thread starter #61
Aha - I hadn't thought of it as a structural area to help hold the hull & the deck together - that makes good sense.

Thanks for pointing me back to your picture - it's a much better way then how I was apporaching it. I was going to run long strips from the hull to the step (which created a lot of extra sanding).

I'm going to change course and copy your method - it looks really, really solid. I've already got the tube sanded down and going out only a couple of inches on the hull is going to save me a lot of time :D

I'm looking forward to completing this section of the pie :) Stay tuned for the last of the pics :) BTW, I poured water in it this morning and it's not leaking. I knew that beforehand but I tried it anyway :cool:
Sweeeet :D ....BTW I added strips at the top as well...just thought I'd add to the "pie"

Just remembeer beer goes with pie ...when you're all done I'll toast a Lonestar with you! :)
Thread starter #63
Hahaha - don't get me started with the beer :D I've still got a lot of work to do up here :) With respect to the top, I'm going to leave that for next beer - I mean, next year :eek:

The top on mine shows little signs of wear (at this point) and I'm getting tired of being in that area. Given that I have lots of epoxy I can re-visit it when my interest is higher :) Right now I want to complete it, pull it out of the car port and put it back where it belongs knowing that I can sail it at a moment's notice.

That last part is key. I haven't had that ability for more then 10 years. :cool:
MM, looks like you spent as much time on the posts and pics as you did on the step repair. Sure do appreciate all your questions/pics and everyone's answers. I am starting on my documentation pics and renovation ('73 laser) this weekend and am lapping up all the forum help I can get. I'll be starting with inspection port(s) and cleaning/drying out the interior and a hard look at what needs doing. Judging from previous patch jobs on the underside I suspect both mast step and centerboard trunk will need repair/reinforcement. So I'll eventually be wading into the epoxy and glass world behind you, Eric and so many other posters. I stick some pics up as it gets interesting.;)

Thanks again for all the documentation.
Thread starter #65
You're quite welcome :) The whole point behind the long thread (for me) was to gain enough experienced information and then document the job. I think it worked out pretty good even if it is a bit long-winded :D

I finally got around to laying up the last of the mat from the hull to the tube. Sanding down the tube and the hull was a bit of a pain. Once done I poured a ton of acetone on the whole works in preparation for laying the mat.

The problem is that the boat was tilted back. So once everything around the tube was dry I levelled the boat back off and began laying mat with epoxy. Well, as it turns out, the boat still had a bunch of acetone in the rear that then came forward and promptly soaked my newly laid mat. :mad::confused::mad:

So, I had to peel off all the mat and clean up the epoxy with the acetone lying in the bottom of the boat. Once it all dried up I had to re-sand the whole shebang so that I would have a nice rough finish for my second attempt. :D

Anyway, long & short is that I got the bottom nicely roughed up again so thye epoxy would bond at full strength. I then laid new mat from the hull up to the tube. Up to this point the entire repair was a piece of cake. I found laying the 4 strips from the hull to the tube quite challenging though. I cheated a bit and cut minor slots into the mat where it wants to bend up over the edge of the step. I realize that this will reduce the structural bond by a bit, but there's 4 strips with at least 60% of the strip intact all the way up the tube.

Even so, it was a pain. I did all 4 at once and if I had to do it again I would do one at at a time, let them dry, sand the edges where the next strip will overlap and approach it that way. More time consuming but it would have been a lot more fun then trying to make 4 separate overlapping strips attach to the tube, the flange and the hull at the same time without air pockets etc.

Every time I smoothed out one strip it would tend to come at the cost of another strip. In some ways I was just moving air pockets around the strips :D Before I forget, I would say that these secondary attachments count as another strip around the pole so the lower section has been wrapped 9 times now :)

Anyway, it's done, I think. I can't see it going anywhere. It's not quite as pretty as I would have liked but the only way to make it look perfect would have been to do one strip at a time. Here's a pic so you can see what it turned out like....I suspect I'll have to sand off a few of the gloobers when it's dried :)


Alot of good info here, but can anyone share some stuff on the repair "kit" that replaces the deck and tube? I have a "repaired" hull that looks like shiite, bt it came with a repair kit. Well, at least part of it from reading the previous posts.
I have the deck and tube piece, and the "flared" flange that it (seats?) into, but no lower base plate or template for the cutout.

Help a bro!

btw, this my second hull, the '73 I just rehabbed looks nice, this is an '82 and an old club boat, but it was cheap and I got plenty of extra spars and parts with it.
Having now done a mast step crack repair and reinforcement, the only thing I can add to what's already been written is that if I had it to do again, I'd go ahead and cut two inspection ports placed so that I could reach/work on the mast step base with both hands at one time.

The ease and neatness of the completed job would more than offset the fact that there's now an additional inspection port.
Thread starter #68
Hi Steven!

I agree that having two ports would make the job considerably easier. In my case though, I had a hard enough time installing one because I was of the erroneous mindset that an inspection port was an ugly thing and detracted from the Laser's appearance. :eek:

Now that I've got one, and have done the mast step job, I've got say that it's become a very important feature. I think it's critical to be able to see into the boat, and specifically into the mast step area. If I had any used boat, whether leaking or not, I'd immediately install one.

I'm going to change mine over to one with a bag inside. I can't tell you how many times I've been out sailing and my single biggest fear was that I might loose my keys to the car when I dump the boat. Cell phones, lighters, you name it - it can all go into an inspection port with a bag and it will all stay bone dry - and out of the way.

I just did a test rig of my boat the other day (I still haven't been out on it!) and I've got to say, my mast step is truly bullet-proof. There's absolutely no way that it's ever going to cause an issue unless it's able to rip out the bottom of the boat. The repair not only fixed the leak but it's brought me a lot of peace of mind and pride in the job :D It's MUCH stronger then factory.
Thread starter #69
Well, it's been almost a year since the repair (and this thread) and I finally got to go sailing the other day!

It was the first time I'd been out in the Laser in - gasp - 13 years :eek: I had all sorts of worries the night before but as it turns out, they were all unfounded. Once I got out past the breakwater I found a 20 knot wind that kept me on an easy fast tack for about 7 nautical miles...:D It was a great way to get re-acquainted with the boat and with being way out there :)

I spent the entire day on the water, got the boat totally soaked on a continual basis and, when I got home, I found about a tablespoon of water in the hull. :)

I was hoping for none, but that wasn't bad. It's considerably less then a cup of water and I think it's coming from the dagger board slot as it's the only place I haven't re-sealed. That was in about 6 hours of mostly heavy sailing.

Anyway, the good news it that I was able to head way out into the salt chuck without taking on any appreciable water and knowing that the mast step will be the last thing to break :D

I'm buying some new cleats today, doing some trailer upgrades and a few other things so that she'll once again be safe in a 40 knot wind.

Here's the proof - a shot of me trying to figure out, after more then 10 years, how to rig it!