1949 Cape Cod Mast repair - SailNet Community

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Old 02-15-2010
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1949 Cape Cod Mast repair

I was given a sailboat. The guy that gave it to me said it was a 1949 Cape Cod, it about 16 ft and it has a wooden mast. i have a fiberglass repair business so i have that area covered, but have no idea what to do with the mast it is wooden and has splits in it. I was wondering if there was anyway to repair it, either with resin, or some type of wood epoxy, maybe put bolts through it or thrash it and try to find a aluminum one, but i would like to keep it original if all possibe. If anyone has any ideas it would be awesom. Thanks
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Old 02-15-2010
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Is the mast solid or hollow? Do you know what it is made out of?

If the mast is solid, it is likely that the "cracks" you are seeing are actually checks which occur naturally and are nothing to be concerned about. The only issue with checks is that they can let water into the heart of the mast which can lead to rot.

If the mast is laminated or hollow, then cracks are an issue. You first need to figure out why there are cracks and solve that issue. Regarding wood repairs, look at scarf joints. Just like in fiberglass repair, the idea is to get the most glue area by having your seam on a diagonal (9:1 is typical for this sort of thing).

Pictures would be helpful if you can do it. Also, knowing exactly what the boat is would be helpful. I am not familiar with a cape cod, there is a cape cod mercury that is 15'.
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Old 02-18-2010
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1949 wooden mast repair

thanks for the reply. The mast is laminated i guess, it is three pieces it has a center piece that is about 2x2 and then there are 2 pieces of wood on each side. i believe the problem is that the mast is just separating. There is also a identification tag on the boat and it say
Buit by Cape Cod shipbuilding Co. don't know if that helps also the hull number is 21 4 which does not mean much to me i guess it is the 21st boat build in year 4 but i would think it would neen one more # like 21 49.
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1949 Cape Cod Mast repair-004.jpg   1949 Cape Cod Mast repair-005.jpg   1949 Cape Cod Mast repair-006.jpg   1949 Cape Cod Mast repair-002.jpg  
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Old 02-18-2010
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Looks like you have plenty of tow rig for that little boat. From the picture, it does look to be a cape cod mercury which were designed by Olin Stephens and built by cape cod shipbuilding. They built 2 versions to my knowledge, the mercury which was a keel boat and the cape cod mercury which was a centerboarder. Cape cod shipbuilding is still in business so they can be a source of information and parts. There are a lot of these boats still around including the fleet at Community Boating in Boston and a couple of camp fleets.

I have never seen one with a wooden mast before but it looks like you have an early one which may have come from the factory that way. The fact that the laminations are coming apart is fixable, what concerns me is the butt of the mast which looks damaged from one of your pictures. If this is damaged, your options are to shorten the entire rig (not a good idea since you will have to change everything like shrouds and the boom will be really low and jib too long on the luff), cut the mast short and raise the mast step (this should be right up your alley as a fiberglass guy), or scarf in new wood to the bottom of the mast. You should also check the other parts of the mast for rot.

Regarding the lamination coming apart, how was it held together in the first place? It is likely that there are fasteners under the paint but it is possible that it was only glued. A poor fix that would add a lot of weight aloft would be to do your best to clean out the cracks and inject thickened epoxy in there. A better fix would be to separate the pieces, properly clean the surfaces and use a combination of epoxy and mechanical fasteners to hold it together.

The other possibility is to build a new one. If all of the pieces are solid, this might well produce the best result with the least work since you won't have to do all the prep and cleaning work. In addition, if you want a project, you could make an actual hollow laminated spar which is much lighter and easier to step but just as strong.

What you do on this project depends on how much time you want to put in and how much you care about the final project. Mercuries are really fun boats to sail although the center board trunk really gets in the way for big guys.

Good luck.
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Old 02-18-2010
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Why not just call them. They are still in business and run by a family that seems pretty nice. The mast appears to be a fairly simple box construction.

Cape Cod Ship Building Co
www.capecodshipbuilding.com
7 Narrows Road
Wareham, MA 02571
(508) 295-3550

One of my friends is good friends with the family that runs the company and we took his boat there for winter storage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mfritts View Post
thanks for the reply. The mast is laminated i guess, it is three pieces it has a center piece that is about 2x2 and then there are 2 pieces of wood on each side. i believe the problem is that the mast is just separating. There is also a identification tag on the boat and it say
Buit by Cape Cod shipbuilding Co. don't know if that helps also the hull number is 21 4 which does not mean much to me i guess it is the 21st boat build in year 4 but i would think it would neen one more # like 21 49.
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