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Top Section bottom cap

pez

Member
On one of my boats the mast has always been incredibly difficult to take apart after sailing. I have formulated various theories about vacuum forces and such, mostly to occupy my mind whilst I struggled to get them apart. The other boat fits snugly, but I wouldn't call it difficult.

Last week I was rigging up, and noticed that in my struggles the previous week the end cap actually came off the top section and was jammed, immovable about 4" down in the top of the bottom section. I was stuck, I tried various tools, drove a screw into the plug and pulled with vise grips, no dice.

I consulted my ham & egger repair manual and it recommended a hammer and a long screwdriver to pound the plug down into the top section, which worked just fine, making a great sound as it moved down the top section.

My questions... will the plug wandering around in the top section cause any problems? My guess is that it will just stay in there happily forever. Second, is it really necessary to replace the bottom cap of the top section? Will the top section's naked bottom cause issues under load?
 

WestCoast

New Member
You'll definitely want to replace the fitting on the base of the top section. I imagine without it, the mast is very likely to bend/fail, as it will only be supported in one small spot on the collar instead of two places.


If possible, I'd try to get the cap out still. It sounds like you have worked at it pretty hard, and if it is far down the lower section....maybe that's a lost cause. However, with a stubborn plastic fitting, you can use heat to usually free it.

a) when you heat the mast, it will expand (might not help much if the plug is WAY down in there now)

b) carefully heat the living heck out of the plastic piece inside, and basically make it soft enough to pull out


I don't know if it's worth it at this point, but I wouldn't want it wondering around my lower section if at all possible
 

pez

Member
ok... I figured it would be something like that.

I will take the bottom cap off the bottom section and get a line through the bottom section, attach something to the end of the line and try to use that to pull it up through. Probabaly time to replace the bottom cap as well...
 

49208

Tentmaker
When you go to get the stuck cap out, make sure the spar is as cold as you can get it.
 
i had exactly the same problem what i did is i filled the mast up with water so there was a force pushing the cap out than i banged it against the ground till it came out.
 
It may be that your topmast was difficult to remove because the lower cap was not square in the tube or loose.

If the cap came out, then the rivet has sheared and I would check the other ones. I replaced a sail because I thought it that it was overstretched. The real reason was that the rivet on the collar had sheared and the collar had slid about 30-40mm up the topmast.

As for getting the old cap out of the lower mast, plastic expands more than aluminium when heated, so it might be more difficult to get out hot, even if you could apply heat to it.

If it's essential, take out the lower mast bottom cap and knock it out with a long piece of wood, and fit a new unworn cap. ( but I wouldn't bother!)
 

vtgent49

Member
Take the bottom mast bottom cap off

Insert top of top mast into bottom of bottom mast

Tap gently, and it will "re-square" the stuck cap. Usually when re-squared the cap will slide out with gentle taps.
 
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