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Westsail Mast Step?
It might seem intuitively true to many that a mast that is keel-stepped should be stronger than one that is deck-stepped. But if the cabin structure is strong enough to take the strain (if it effectively transfers compression load to the rest of the deck and hull), a deck-stepped mast can be every bit as strong (all other things, like rigging, being equal) as its keel-stepped counterpart.
From the interior photos I can see of WS32s, there is no <u>compression post</u>, a sturdy pole that spans the distance between the deckhead (the "ceiling" of the cabin) and cabin sole, effectively transferring the compression loads to the hull, so that the deck itself isn''t absorbing them or transfering them out to the deck/hull joint to be absorbed there. In a design like this the strength and behavior of the deck are very important.
I should note that the absence of this post does not indicate a problem <em>per se</em>; it''s all a matter of the design.
As a smaller consideration, a deck-stepped boat has no hole cut through the deck to accommodate the passing of the mast, so water cannot leak through the deck, as it can on a keel-stepped vessel.
I''d suggest finding a Westsail owner''s association or usergroup, and searching relevant articles, and posting (no pun intended) your questions to actual owners, to see if there is a problem with compromised deck integrity.