Can I cut my mast? (with pics) - SailNet Community

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Old 05-01-2012
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Can I cut my mast? (with pics)

Good Morning,
I have not been able to find much on this.

I am new to sailing and this is my first sailboat. I am working the interior right now and looking towards the outside.

I have not have the mast up but we did take it down when I bought it (it's a '74 laguna windrose) and I can tell you right off that the mast bracket (possibly called a step) needs improvement.

Would also love to hear of anyone that has found a "quick connect" configuration for attahing the mast.

THE PROBLEM is when the mast meets the bracket. First it likes to twist and this makes it hard to lineup to shove that bolt through. Second the previous owner had some washers on the inside of the bracket so you had to line these up as well - not a quick method. Also the bolt was tight so you needed to tap on it.

I would like to replace the bracket (and I plan to reinforce and rebuild the fiberglass) with a tabernacle from Dwyer Mast. I am sure some of you have seen these... if not, you have a pin in the mast that drops into the tabernacle.. makes things look much easier.

MY QUESTION I have a few old holes already in the mast and none of them are at the position for the new pin. Can I trim 2" from the bottom of this mast (the mast is about 25' tall)??

Thanks for reading my post!

Shawn T
Wichita KS
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Can I cut my mast? (with pics)-mast-1-.jpg   Can I cut my mast? (with pics)-mast-2-.jpg   Can I cut my mast? (with pics)-mast-3-.jpg   Can I cut my mast? (with pics)-mast_tabernacle.jpg  
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Old 05-01-2012
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Re: Can I cut my mast? (with pics)

I don't think having the extra holes will hurt anything unless they're interfering with making the new holes.
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Old 05-01-2012
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Re: Can I cut my mast? (with pics)

The problem with that (ie trimming a couple of inches), of course, is that it will mean that all your rigging will be 2" too long. It's possible you'll have room in the turnbuckles to take that up, but equally possible and perhaps more likely that you won't.

If it's the holes that are a problem I can see the need for trim and start over.. maybe look into doing that, but then have a block fabricated so that the top part fits into the mast section, with a rectangular lower part that restores the height and 'fits' into the Dwyer tabernacle more securely with less tendency to twist. (hope you can make sense of this.. I can see it clearly in my mind's eye..)
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Old 05-01-2012
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Re: Can I cut my mast? (with pics)

The other problem with cutting the mast is that the boom will be lower, possibly making it difficult to duck low enough on tacks and gybes.
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Old 05-01-2012
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Re: Can I cut my mast? (with pics)

DON'T CUT THE MAST!!!

Sorry for yelling but I have a boat that came with a cut mast and it was alot of fun sorting that all out...

Options:
If the holes are a problem, fab some plates that will cover the holes.

Have a shop make a tabernacle that will work with what you have. It's just a bent piece of stainless plate.
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Old 05-01-2012
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Re: Can I cut my mast? (with pics)

Two inches might not matter, but, it is possible that your jib may have to be cut as well.
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Old 05-01-2012
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Re: Can I cut my mast? (with pics)

Another vote for not cutting down your mast foot. The base of your mast looks to be in fine shape, ie., no corrosion. If the holes are a problem for the new Dwyer tabernacle then fill in the holes with an insert of similar material that goes inside the mast. I suppose you could even just put some epoxy and cloth in there to close up the holes.

As others have mentioned there may be implications you have not considered by 'lowering' the mast:
- lower boom
- re-cutting sails
- adjusting standing rigging sizes
- effect on boom vang?

The Laws of Unintended Consequences are pretty high and mighty.
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Re: Can I cut my mast? (with pics)

This is kind of what I had in mind.. an aluminum block, shaped to fit the mast section, with a rectangular shape at the bottom that fit squarely into the tabernacle cheeks, less likelihood of wanting to twist/rotate and easier pin alignment. The rounded heel would be oriented to the direction the mast was to be dropped.. properly done this would allow the pin to be inserted prior to raising. This block could restore the original height and you could start with a clean mast section and no extraneous holes.

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Last edited by Faster; 05-01-2012 at 02:24 PM.
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Re: Can I cut my mast? (with pics)

Why don't you cut slots in you present tabernacle so it looks like pic #4 (i assume the one you are going to buy) and epoxy the washers to the mast so they stay in place, or even drill & counter sink some screws to keep washers in place
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Re: Can I cut my mast? (with pics)

The holes in the mast might be able to be filled in with welding on a copper backing. But I think just having some plates made to go in there would work nicely. You can do it yourself. Metal is easy to cut with a cutoff wheel. $30 at Harbor Freight.
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