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t3000 08-11-2008 02:37 AM

Mast jammed forward
OK, My kid played with the hydraulics of the back-stay and made it completely loose. I returned home downwind a happy sailor in brisk wind, not paying attention, and the mast jammed forward. This is what happened:

- Now there is a bump on the deck about 15 inches in front of the deck. It's about 1 inch high. I imagine there is a steel plate of some sort inside that got bent. It's not big, bit I notice it.

- Underneath, the head door will no longer close, there is about 1/4 inch at the bottom of the door that overlaps the frame. This means the whole top deck probably shifted.

The boat is a Tartan 3000 and I am wondering what can I do to fix this? What bent underneath? Are there any safety issues I should be concerned about?

I feel really stupid about not noticing this while sailing, but it happens with a boatload of kids and now I have to live with it.

Any feedback is appreciated.


sailingdog 08-11-2008 07:55 AM

Yes, there are safety issues you need to be worried about. Something big got bent by the mast being essentially unsupported with the wind forces pulling on it. Think of the sailboat as a shoe box. Now glue a stick to the top of the shoe box and push forward on it... the section attached to the base will twist forward causing the leading edge of it to depress and possibly causing the aft edge to rise up a bit—that's basically what happened to your mast and deck.

Is the boat's mast deck-stepped or keel-stepped??

Is the boat an epoxy composite or vinylester/polyester resin build?

Chances are likely that you're going to have to call in a surveyor or marine architect/engineer to look at the problem. If the forward part of the deck is depressed by more than a 1/4", other things could have broken as well. I don't think the deck itself shifted, more like the deck was bent.

It could have easily broken the tabbing holding the bulkheads in place as well as broken connections between a hull liner and the hull. This is not going to be a cheap repair more likely than not.

Banshi 08-11-2008 09:58 AM

I am guessing it has to be keel stepped or the mast would simply have gone forward perhaps damaging the step itself and the attachment point but not the deck in front of it. Assuming it is keel stepped I can't imagine any major structural damage that would justify the cost of professional inspection unless you intend to have someone else fix it. I would worry about the damage allowing water intrusion if it is a cored deck and getting the bow out so the door will function properly. If it is cored it's possible the cored material was compressed forcing the top and bottom laminates to bow out. This could create the situation you describe. Some pictures would be helpful and no doubt someone here knows exactly how it was constructed which would help in diagnosing what has happened.

sailingdog 08-11-2008 10:56 AM


Some deck-stepped masts are through-bolted to the compression post once they're up. It could have some serious effects on the deck if it were to try and move.

Granted, more information is definitely needed. However, I think professional inspection is required....given the hidden damage that could have resulted from such large stresses on the cabintop.

jbondy 08-11-2008 04:30 PM

From looking at yachtworld pix of sister ships for sale, the 3000 appears to have a keel stepped mast with a partial bulkhead about a foot forward, about where t3000 reported the deck "bump" to be. It sounds like the mast, when pushed forward, pushed the deck in front of it down. This compression of the deck would also push the bulkhead down, causing the issue with the head door that he reported. I don't know if the partial bulkhead is structural, but I'd be concerned about that. Also, I'd want to know whether there is any delamination in the deck where the bump is. It sounds like you need a pro.

t3000 08-11-2008 07:25 PM

The mast is keel-stepped and the deck is cored. I m going to look for a pro. Damn, don't know what is costing me more, the kids or the boat.

NOLAsailing 08-11-2008 07:53 PM

How loose does that backstay get? Downwind, I ease my adjuster completely off. Some boats even use a fraculator to bend the mast even farther forward (granted, these masts are probably bendier than yours).

The point is that I think that the eased backstay must have exposed a pre-existing condition - probably a core issue or poor tabbing on the bulkheads. Unfortunately, this does sound like a major issue.

Good luck with it.

citation34 08-11-2008 08:07 PM

Survey courtesy of the insurance company. This sounds seriously structural; fortunately no one got hurt


7Psych 08-11-2008 08:17 PM

Have you contacted Tartan Marine?? They definatly could supply you with all the answers and then move forward from there. They built it, they know what went into it....

sailingdog 08-11-2008 11:24 PM

Given the current status of Tartan marine, I don't know how much help they would be. They're currently in limbo in many ways.

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