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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found a hairline crack on my mast at the lower shroud hound. It appears as though the compression tube weld has failed... I'm guessing corrosion. Otherwise, the stick seems to be in pretty good shape. Anybody dealt with this?

Here is an article I wrote about it: Don't Pay the Ransom: All It's Cracked Up To Be
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I spoke with Eastport Spars and Rigging, and they suggested that a weld is likely the way to go. Of course, they were responding to my verbal description of the problem. I'm very leery of having it welded.

Currently, the crack is tiny. It is about 1" long and basically follows the curvature of the compression sleeve/mast joint for the lower shrouds. Other than this spot, the mast seems to be in very good condition.

The mast has welds in numerous locations that have held up all of these years. The masthead is welded on. The hounds for the forestay and backstay are welded. All of the winch pads are welded on. The compression sleeves are welded into place (obviously, one of these failed).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hmm... not sure what to make of this. I've spoken with a few different spar repair places, and I've received a few different opinions ranging from re-welding the compression sleeve to doing nothing.

The "do nothing" opinion was based upon their experience that many compression tubes are never welded to begin with; the mast is simply drilled and a free-floating sleeve is inserted. The sleeve's only function is to protect the mast from being crushed by the rigging bolt. They suggested that the mast is fine, it's only the sleeve weld that is failing. Even if it were to continue to crack around the circumference of the hole, nothing bad would happen. I would just have a free-floating sleeve. They did not think that the crack would continue through the mast - only the weld.

The second opinion about re-welding was couched in the following reasons:

1. if the weld fails, the compression sleeve will no longer protect the mast (I'm not sure I buy this, the sleeve is still in the mast and cannot compress)

2. if the weld fails, the mast might buckle

(it should be noted that the guy specifically told me that he is desperate for work in the winter)

Welding concerns me in that it can weaken the mast even further by undoing the tempering. Installing a doubler also involves welding. Riveting a plate involves inserting a dissimilar metal rivet into the mast exacerbating corrosion.

Both solutions seem like they could make the problem worse. Either a weakened spar via heat or the crack continuing to spread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I posted the problem on Brion Toss' forum, SparTalk. He replied, and judging from similar posts I've found on his forum, this seems to be his standard solution to the problem. I'll likely go with his suggestion... when I told a local rigger what Brion said, the rigger's response was, "the wizard has spoken." It certainly makes sense - no welding, no rivets, no dissimilar metal. The spar is in fine condition - only the compression sleeve weld has failed. This solution eliminates the failure. Here is what he said:

Hi,

Welding is a truly lousy option here, as it is very difficult to do without making things worse, is unlikely to make things better, and it will in any event destroy your paint job. The shape of the cracks indicates that the tube is indeed welded in. These cracks are very likely to continue to migrate into the mast wall, at the location on the mast where the standing rig loads are highest. I would drill out for shouldered bushings, and get compatible tangs for them. This will eliminate the fractured metal, and give a fuller bearing for the throughbolt. Said throughbolt will have its threads cut on a lathe, with nuts at both ends, such that the threads stop just outside of the tangs, thus no compression on the mast.

Fair leads,
Brion Toss


Also, I forgot to attach photos in my OP. Here is a link to the photos:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/14zgxr64s6npdz5/AACAeBBG-MlcxqpL7tqKU-wHa?dl=0
 
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