Mast step failure - opinions/estimates desired

Thread starter #1
OK - so I did my best to inspect the mast step before buying a 1980 laser, but while out sailing today in a nice 15+ knot breeze - boom - down came the mast. Actually, not so much "boom", as a really nasty slow motion fiberglass tearing noise. :( Anyway...

After being towed back to a shore by a lovely couple on a Hobie 16 (video of same here:
- I was testing out a waterproof iPhone case) I'm now looking for opinions / estimates on the following:

+ should I have the boat repaired, or is this catastrophic? IMG_0915.jpg IMG_0919.jpg IMG_0920.jpg IMG_0910.jpg IMG_0915.jpg IMG_0919.jpg IMG_0920.jpg See attached photos for scope of damage. The last photo is 30 minutes before the incident, showing the mast in the correct orientation.

+ I'm not up to the task myself - so if I do have this repaired, what would you estimate the cost might be at a competent sailboat shop?

+ Super extra bonus! If you live in the Cincinnati area - where would you go? As far as I know, the only real option is Strictly Sail on Kenwood Road.

Thanks in advance...

Jay Wheeler


Active Member
Real sorry about the problem. Not a fun conclusion to a day out. Looks like a real pretty boat, and a REAL nice lil sailing spot too.

I have a '73 boat, same thing happened to me a couple years back. From a narrow engineering perspective it IS repairable. How much it would cost, who could do it, and whether it's worth it ... different questions. I did mine myself, so I wish I could help with a suggestion for a shop but not able. It was certainly not an easy job.

Here's a couple pic's of mine, before + after.
Hope it helps in some way. I hope others can make suggestions. BUMP.

FWIW, if you decide not to repair this one, and get another boat, I've heard others say that this joint between the mast tube and the hull is weak in boats up to mid-90's. If you get another old one, it's worth thinking about reinforcing this joint before it fails. It's pretty easy to reinforce and prevent the failure, way easier than fixing a torn up deck afterward. FWIW, YMMV, etc etc.

But anyway best of luck with it, hope you're back out there soon enuf.

The mast step repair kit is ~ $430 (retail) - I would think you'd be looking at least $500 total to have it repaired at a reputable shop using the kit. (If they can get their hands on a kit!)


New Member

serveral "older" club boats had same issue, sailmaster just anchored tube and reinforced deck for simple cheap fix which didn't fail again and didn't need mast step kit.

Since you are in Ohio, one person I would recommend Joe McHenry in Dublin. He can be found here

Send him pics and relate "cost imperative" and I am sure he can provide quote.

Mike G.
Thread starter #5
Thanks Mike G - Dublin is about 120 miles, but it sure might be worth it. The local sail shop would want to use the official laser mast step kit (if they can even get it) and are giving a rough estimate of $850. I've got a call into Joe and I'll see how that pans out.


Active Member
The local sail shop would want to use the official laser mast step kit (if they can even get it) and are giving a rough estimate of $850.
I'm a half hour from Dublin and would be happy to lend a hand if I could somehow.
FWIW, and just one guy's opinion, If it was my own boat I'd prefer it to be done "by hand" rather than with the "kit" part, for structural reasons and also looks.

I feel for you, last summer the step failed on a boat I used to use for teaching,

for $850US you might as well invest/buy a new hull, you can find a new hull (hull only) for probably around $500 or less, that might be a better option,

I'd suggest finding your local boat repair shop, there's a guy around here that does amazing work, The kit makes it easier but, its expensive and a good repair guy might be able to fix it really well without the kit for less than the kit costs, its worth a shot if you want to fix it
Thread starter #8
Thanks for all the replies. I've taken the boat up to Joe McHenry at All Fiberglass and Marine in Dublin OH. They do the repair without using the official laser kit, which is currently unavailable anywhere it seems. I'll post the results when I get the boat back - probably in 10 days or so.