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Old 09-26-2001
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Dan Dickison is on a distinguished road
Bending Spars

Is it possible/advisable to "unbend" a mast? I have an extruded aluminum mast that got bent during a capsize. The bend is a gentle curve.

Dan Dickison responds: 
Thanks for your question. The answer is yes, but a qualified yes. Depending upon the severity of the bend and the size of the spar, you can probably bend it back so that it's straight, or almost straight, but you won't have a mast that's as strong as it was originally. Once you bend metal, you begin to weaken its structural properties. Bending it back only further weakens the metal.

In most cases, the rebent mast will likely be serviceable for you, particularly if it's only used on a small, daysailing boat. However, if this is a boat that you plan to use offshore in strong breezes, I'd be very careful. The worst thing that could happen is that the mast might break and injure someone in the process. You've got to ask yourself if that risk is worth not replacing the mast. It's a tough situation, but why not find out what a new mast for your boat would cost by touching base with a spar supplier and then at least you'd have more information to make your decision. To do that you can start by contacting the folks at SailNet's Spar Shop, which you can do on line, or over the phone at 800/234-3220.

Here's hoping that this information is useful to you.

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