Mast mounting plate damage, repair or replace? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-04-2017 Thread Starter
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Mast mounting plate damage, repair or replace?

The mast mounting plate has a crack in it and two screws are sheared off, one on each side. Is this repairable or should it be replaced? If replacement, does anyone know a good place to start looking?
Could the crack be stop drilled and the welded? We have a furnace at work if it needs annealed after welding.
I am not sure what the plate is made of, aluminum or stainless steel. Looking at the machine screws I am thinking aluminum.
So if the crack is repairable, I thought I would just move over away from the old screw holes and drill new holes. With this type of screw I do not think the holes were tapped prior to the screws going in. I would run a steel screw into the new holes to form the threads and then replace the steel screws with stainless screws.
The mast is for an Ensenada 20. I am starting to suspect that the mast was drop. I can faintly see where repair work was performed on top of the transom where the mast cradle use to sit.
There is a very faint circular outline with three bolt hole around it. The factory mast cradle was removed and replaced with a DIY cradle that fits in to the rudder mounts.
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20170803_193649.jpg   20170803_193509.jpg   20170803_193521.jpg  

Last edited by Bob65000*; 08-04-2017 at 12:32 PM. Reason: added info
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-04-2017
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Re: Mast mounting plate damage, repair or replace?

Cast aluminum with that crack... I'd replace.
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Re: Mast mounting plate damage, repair or replace?

If you can find the part, I would replace. If not, you can try to weld it or make a new one. As is, the part looks very sketchy.

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Re: Mast mounting plate damage, repair or replace?

Starting with it has to come off the mast in any regard.

I would take it to a weld/fab shop and ask...not easy from pics to see how crusty it is. Bead blasting will tell much. Salty old cast can be tricky to weld. Finding a replacement might take a stroke of luck.

Moving holes over is ok, although the side fasteners can be drilled out, plug welded and tapped...be sure to use a product like Tef-gel upon reassembly. Buy a proper tap...only a few bucks.

Having a new one fab'd will be a lot more than the repair.
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Re: Mast mounting plate damage, repair or replace?

Looks like a POS casting. Take if off, now. No more sailing till it is fixed or replaced.

If there are any small foundries (art casting?) in your area, ask them about casting a replacement, maybe something better like bronze.

No foundries? The you go to a machine shop and ask them about CNC machines and if they can make a copy out of billet stock for you. A good shop with good people would have no problem with that.

Having the crack stopped, welded, and reinforced? Tempting, but heavy welds in aluminum that carries a load...easily screwed up, so make sure you're not dealing with a Bubba if you go that route.

If you can find a user group or run down the secondhand and consignment yards, you may be able to pick up another old one. Could take several days of phone and email work, but might be worthwhile.

When you put the new foot and screws into place? Use plenty of neverseize or galvanic paste, because dissimilar metals will try to either seize up, or rot each other out. FWIW.
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Re: Mast mounting plate damage, repair or replace?

The crack is in the pivot area for the tabernacle. It only comes under stress when lowering and raising the mast so not a problem once the mast is up That is assuming the holes in the base socket into pins on a plate attached to the deck so the mast is fixed in place once it is up. If the hinge is the only thing holding the base in place, get it fixed or figure out some way to fix the mast in place.

You can try welding the plate but I wouldn't hold my breath expecting it to work. Find first class welder who has experience with welding salty aluminum to do the work. If the weld doesn't hold, might be able to make up a plate for the base and bolt/weld that to cracked base.
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Last edited by roverhi; 08-05-2017 at 12:32 AM.
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Re: Mast mounting plate damage, repair or replace?

fab shop replacement and repair the decking beneath the fixture.


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Re: Mast mounting plate damage, repair or replace?

If you try to trust it after repair and it fails mid raising or lowering the mast... someone can be killed.

Welding cast aluminum is problematic in the best cases. That's not a best case.
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Re: Mast mounting plate damage, repair or replace?

20ft boat and the crack is along the hinge for raising\lowering, I'd try welding it tbh. My Tanzer 7.5m has the same idea at the mast base and if cracked I would get it welded and then spend time watching for boat scrap yards to find a replacement, but I wouldn't sweat it finding one right away. I say that knowing I actually hinge my mast up (I push and my brother pulls the forestay). Myself personally I don't feel like my mast would kill me, maybe if it landed exactly ontop of my head, but I always raise it under shoulder with my head to the port side anyways. Maybe if it snapped mid-lift I could fall into the water and drown if I hit my head? Idk, there's a million ways to die. Many people use the (often free) gin poll at their marina. If you use a gin poll or similar crane to lift it the hinge pretty much doesn't even need to be brought into play and doesn't matter.

I do normally go to the side of caution, in fact I was crushed by a tree while on the job and shattered many bones on my left side and just missed puncturing a lung. The tree however was MUCH larger and heavier than my mast.
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