Join Date: Jul 2012
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Re: Natural Mast
I've never bought into the mast repair proposals people offer regarding sleeves and welding. It seems to me that no matter how hard you try, the mast will be weaker using those techniques and is unlikely to sail properly. Once it's busted, I'd try to find a replacement, especially for a Catalina. There are a number of yards that salvage that type of stuff and keep it laying around, I've been to a few that have several masts laying there from abandoned boats and whatnot. I'd feel almost certain you could find a replacement mast if you called around, you might even call Catalina and see what they say.
As for wood, that's a nontrivial task with big risk and little reward on a boat that was not designed for that type of mast. If you make one mistake, you will just end up with another dismasting and/or have very poor sailing characteristics. The tolerances are really tight and there is little room for error, if you plan on doing it, you really need to know someone that has done it before and work with them on it. I am also pretty sure you'll end up spending more money building one with wood than you would getting a replacement, by the time you calculate the equipment needs and materials.