Originally Posted by Sanduskysailor
The mast on the S28 is deck stepped. The mast step fitting is fixed with a male protrusion. The mast butt has has a plug with female casting. No way to get that wrong and I would be amazed if wrong from the factory. Possibility that mast is severely out of tune or bent.
Actually it is pretty common for mast steps to be mounted in the wrong place. In fact it is so common that unless you have had it professionally confirmed, which includes shooting a laser down the middle of the boat I would bet money that it isn't. And it really doesn't take much to knock a boat all out of whack. Deck steps are better in this regard because the entire mast gets carried just slightly to one side or the other, while on a keel step a slight allignment issue is magnified by the partners.
Think of it this way, if you have a mast that is 60' above the deck and 6' below the deck, and the mast at the partners is perfectly centered. But the mast base is 1/2" out of center, the top of the mast will be 5 inches off. If you fail to fix the base and tune the mast so it is centered (by measuring chainplate to chainplate with a halyard) you will actually induce a serious bend into mast.
Even a .1" misalignment of the base ends up with the mast 1" off center.
Now if the base is 1/2" off center, and the partners are 1/2" off center the other way the top of the mast is 10 inches off center. The problems compound.
And always remember that the partners themselves are not necessarily centered. On some molds it is pretty common for the mast to be closer to one edge than the other. The old J-35 mold for instance requires the mast to be about 3/8" closer to the edge of the port partner than the starboard, while the new deck mold is the exact opposite.
Some yards are better than others of course, but frankly I have seen high end builders with all sorts of stuff out of allignment. Which is why the first thing a race boat does when it's new is break out the tape measure, templates, and the laser strait edge and start measuring stuff.
Finding keels bolted on off center is actually pretty common (+\- 2" isn't unusual), rudders mis-mounted by an inch are common, gudgeons that don't line up with the center line is almost assumed. Rudder posts that aren't verticle... Now on most boats what happens is all the slight imperfections add up to close to neutral so they even each other out. But sometimes you get a boat where they all wind up on the wrong side and you have a problem child that never really feels right. Until you fix it all.
In this case... I still bet the mast is out of whack.