Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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It is very important to realize that a deck stepped mast has to be properly engineered, to transfer the loads from the mast foot through the cabintop to the keel. In older boats this was often done using a bulkhead, and that would cause problems if the bulkhead was damaged or altered. In more modern boats, the load is transfered via a compression post. If this isn't done properly, the tension on the shrouds and stays can cause the mast to compress the cabin top, leading to damage and possible delamination of the cabin top.
I prefer the deck-stepped masts as it allows the cabin to have better water-tight integrity. The mast, in keel stepped boats, is often a source of water into the bilge.
As for which is more likely to come down...neither...but if one does come down, the keel-stepped mast is far more likely to leave a long stub to jury rig something from, where the deck-stepped mast is more likely to be completely lost. However, that said, the keel stepped mast is more likely to leave a hole in the cabin top... so it is a toss up in my book.
PS... the compression post on my boat is through-bolted to the mast step on the outside of the cabin top. The post itself is a 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" stainless steel square column and runs from the hull, at the forward end of the centerboard case, to the cabintop.
I don't think anyone is advocating bolting a deck-stepped mast to the compression post...just the compression post and the mast step itself...not the mast.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Last edited by sailingdog; 01-18-2007 at 12:42 PM.