Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Albuquerque NM
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So you call that a mast repair??
I recently backed out on the purchase of a real nice fixer upper of a sailboat. I already had cash in hand, it was an Albin Express on a trailer for 2k. However the last time I looked it over, I noticed that the base of the mast had evidence of damage. Someone had taken a piece of 1/4 aluminum sheet and shaped it to fit around the bottom 6 or 7 inches of the mast (in two pieces). These parts were then welded to the mast itself and all the areas where the patch had seams in it. The quality of the welds did not look too bad but I've seen better.
However what concerns me is sort of technical. The mast is a relatively thin walled extrusion that relies on it's shape for strength, and it is anodized. Both extrusion and anodization affect the hardness of the aluminum and I'm pretty sure that the extrusion alloy is harder than standard 1/4 inch plate. Especially when it formed so nicely to the shape of the mast cross section, which would indicate that the patch was unannealed, softer than the mast. In the heat affected zone of a weld the properties of all these materials is affected.
I would never trust a weld under these circumstances. I mean for me there is this great possibility of stress cracks or failure at the top of the patch where the mast meets the weld bead. If I had it to do my way I would have cut off the damaged part and modified the deck step, or fabricated a part to fill in the gap that would be secured to the mast with mechanical fasteners.
Any thoughts?? Anyone ever deal with a problem like this. It looks like someone damaged it while they were raising the mast.