Mast Corroison and How to Evaluate it's Condition - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-06-2012 Thread Starter
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Mast Corroison and How to Evaluate it's Condition

I have read the posts about mast problems i.e. corrison, bent, mast step problems, etc. .

I'm looking at my mast (1970 Islander, 37, MS) and see small brown spots and the alu. metal feels thinned at the base & posting pictures. I could cut about 4 inches off, but would his be the wrong answer.

Does a mast have a " usage life ? " I'm asking... is it prone to more flex and (weakened) bending as it get's older & older from back & forth bending. I see that racing boats (raced a lot) get beat up from putting the boat thur. it's paces. I have noticed that sailboats sellers may point out the fact that their boat was raced or not.

My Question... How can you determine if a mast is still good. Do I look for cracks, or a visual set (not straight). I have read that some mast's are rigged up a little different and not straight up (so to speak).

Please, bear with me, I'd like to learn how to evaluate my mast and inspect it properly while it's down.

Avery
Attached Thumbnails
I-37 Pic's.  on 2 Nov., 12 033.jpg   I-37 Pic. on 01 Nov. 2012 014.jpg   Islander 37 MS 003.JPG   Islander 37 MS 004.JPG   Islander 37 MS 029.jpg  

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post #2 of 20 Old 11-06-2012
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Re: Mast Corroison and How to Evaluate it's Condition

First issue is preventative maintenance and looking at the first pic your mast step either has no drainage or blocked drainage, resulting in mast sitting in corrosive environment that tends to be out of sight/out of mind. This is not a high stress area compared to above deck, but deterioration will continue unless fixed.

You could easily shorten the mast by 4", but your rigging will need adjusting as well as boom height - or you could fabricate a 4" riser (fastened to the spar or fastened to step) in the step to remedy this, preferably of similar material and well drained/ventilated.

If the mast is 40+ years old, is the standing rigging the same? Last pic shows need to strip paint and recoat for thorough protection. I would evaluate the rig top to bottom, including all fittings & fasteners, and consult a respected rigger/spar builder in your area to give you their full evaluation, as well as advise about maintenance, rake, and any tuning questions you may have.
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post #3 of 20 Old 11-06-2012
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Re: Mast Corroison and How to Evaluate it's Condition

Diagnosing from pictures is hard, but I probably wouldn't cut anything away. Instead I would add a sleave to the lower foot or so. Basically you just add back more metal.

As far as fatigue. Yes aluminium does has a finite fatigue life, and there is an upper limit to how long a mast will last. It is based on the number of cycle loads the metal can absorb before loosing its strength. The problem is I have never seen any good method of predicting how many cycles a mast has taken, and at what load percentage. Other than having a metallurgist take a look I couldn't even begin to guess (and I have looked before) what a reasonable lifespan would be. I can tell you a lightly used boat that's 40 years old may be fine, while a world racer may need much more frequent replacement.

The reality though is that masts are expensive, and don't typically fail from fatigue, so there is no reason to worry about it in the real world. It's the fittings and standing rigging failures that account for the vast, vast majority of demastings. With running into bridges probably the number two cause...

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post #4 of 20 Old 11-06-2012
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Re: Mast Corroison and How to Evaluate it's Condition

I agree, add a sleeve, no big deal.
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Re: Mast Corroison and How to Evaluate it's Condition

As to the straight part - you are correct, some masts have pre-bend (usually to aft or with mid section bowed forward).

You are going to have to research your particular boat and mast combo and see what was intended when built and designed.

If a previous owner has jacked the rig to the point where the mast is bent and should not be that may be a problem, and may not. It pays to have a professional check on it as this is an essential system on your boat where safety plays a role.

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post #6 of 20 Old 11-06-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Mast Corroison and How to Evaluate it's Condition

Ok All,

I Got It (above) but have a couple questions. I understand that my mast should be stripped, all harware removed & inspected, painted and then reassembled (job Complete).

I understand about Sleeve's and have used them.. time & time again in engines i.e. crank sleeve for oil seals, etc. .

This mast sleeve is a whole lot different deal. I assume that (most) masts have a common size. So, different vendors are providing mast sleeves and require measurements to sell you the correct sleeve.

I will do a search but off hand who sells -- mast sleeves ?

Avery
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-06-2012
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Re: Mast Corroison and How to Evaluate it's Condition

Avery,

Consult a reputable rigger. Given the unknowns, it would be money well spent to have a real professional go over all of your standing rigging and advise you on what can be safely retained and what should be replaced, and a strategy to do so.

There's a guy in the St Pete area named Steve Smith, of SSMR Rigging (who also spends a little time around here under the screen name knothead) who is about as good as they come. If getting him to come look over your rig is not possible, he may be able to refer you to someone closer by who is reputable.

Here's a link to an earlier thread you may find helpful.

Edit: The link thingy ain't working -- here's the full address:

SSMR Inc. Rigging Services Review

Something's goobered up -- just follow the hot link immediately above.

Last edited by PorFin; 11-06-2012 at 03:31 PM.
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post #8 of 20 Old 11-06-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Mast Corroison and How to Evaluate it's Condition

Porfin,

You Advised Me Correctly, I know when a little bit of knowledge .. ain't worth too much at all. I'm in the guessing game mode. I have done a fair amount of aircraft sheet metal work but this ain't quite the same. I need the right person to come out to Bonifay and Survey the entire boat.
I may need this survey for insurance reasons. I got a quote from the company that begins with Pro_ , they will insure it for the declared value of $ 30K, 1K deductable for $ 372.00 down and
$ 164.00 per month. I did not know if this was a good price or not !?! I will check a litte later on.. when the boat is about ready to go; I will have my ASA Cert(s). in Dec. .

I'm interested to see what a Pro. Surveyor will come up with i. e. Boat Value and Listed Repairs & Prices. I just did a Spead Sheet last night. I priced Materials only / No Labor.

(1). Rudder is = $ 750. (2). Replace Two Bulkhead (rotted) Structures = $ 750. (3). Service A/C Mermaid & Adler Barbour Systems < they were working & have service set = $ 200. (5) Cabin Steering Cables = $ 400. (6) Small 4 x 4 in. hole patch = $125. (7). Fresh Water Pump Looks New so, Hoses = $ 100.00. (8). Thru. Hull just done = $ 50.00 {perhaps a hose or two. (9). Eng. & Trans. just done = $ 00. (10.) Two (2) Cabin Windshield Windows (lft. & rgt.) Replacement = $ 500. (11). Grey Water Sys. ?? Hoses = $ 150. (12). Toe Rail Resurface & Replace Missing (2) Top S. S. Rails = $ 1.2 K. (13). All (5) Winches Cleaned & Lubed = $ 100.
(14). Knot Meter Replace = $ 350. (15). Safety Equip. Smoke Ind. & Fire Ext = $ 150. (16). New DC Breaker Panel & Wire Ends = $ 750. (17). (2) Modern Anchors (used) with Chain & Rode =
$ 1K. (18). Cushions = $ 500. (19). Bimi Cover = $ 500. (20). (1) Stanchion needs R & R = $ 100. (21). Batt. Pro # 1230 needs R & R = $ 450. (22.) Complete Chk. Out of All Lgt's & SW's. = $ 50.00.

Materials only -- Sub. Total (1 to 22) = $ 8,175.00

(23). Bottom Paint = $ 1,250.00
(24) Top Paint & Non Skid $ 1,500.00
(25) Recondition Mast $ 750.00
Note: 23 to 25 are rough estimates
23 - 25 } Sub Totals $ 3,500.00

All Known Repairs & Parts = $ 11,675.00

** Buy (some used) Nav., Radios,
Auto-Pilot, Etc. >> $ 9,325.00

All Equipment & Repairs = >> $ 20,000.00

Cost of 1-37 & Trans. to Boanifay >> 8,625.00

(No Labor) Total Cost of I-37 > > $ 28,625.00 < <

So, I have $ 30 Grand in a Old Boat, as long as I'm happy and it works for me.. so be it. The (used) dingy, motor, & swim ladder will get me to $ 30 k.

Last edited by HighFly_27; 11-06-2012 at 05:49 PM.
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-06-2012
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Re: Mast Corroison and How to Evaluate it's Condition

Avery,

Keep in mind that a rigger and a surveyor are two different guys; the surveyor is inspecting the boat for compliance to established standards and best practices, while a rigger is a specialist on your spars and rigging. These days it's becoming rare to find a surveyor who is willing to give a sailboat's rigging anything more than a cursory "yes, it's present" kind of look-see.

Another way to look at it: Who would you rather have do your knee surgery, a orthopedic surgeon or a pediatrician?
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post #10 of 20 Old 11-06-2012
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Re: Mast Corroison and How to Evaluate it's Condition

HighFly, that sounds like an AWFUL lot of money to put into a boat that age.

s/v My Sweet Girl!
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