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my dream
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can anyone tell me the difference between a wooden mast and an alluminum in mast? which is better what is the pros and cons to wood versus a aluminum mast? I am thinking of buying another sailboat and it has a wooden mast.the boat would be used for off shore any advice would be appreciated
 

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Wooden masts require a lot of maintenance and there are only a handful of people who are really qualified to inspect them. Wether they are suitable really depends on the boat, and the requirements of the owner.

Frankly I wouldn't consider a wood mast, not because they can't work, but because I don't want to have to do all the maintenance required to own one. Constant varnishing of the wood gets tiresome while hanging in a bosun's chair, and painting a wooden mast is poor practice because it can hide rot.
 

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my dream
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Thanks for the wise advice what about replacing the wooden mast with an aluminium mast would it be cost efficient
 

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what size boat. any where from 15K to 30K for a new mast, is the boat worth that much. and I love the term cost efficient when talking about boats. and then I just used them in the same sentence.
 

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I'm thinking if the boat has a wooden mast it's either a very old boat or wood was a very deliberate choice. Not that you couldn't replace it with aluminum but that might significantly detract from the character of the boat.
 

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Making a swap is a pretty expensive job. None of the fittings are the same, so you have to buy the new mast, all the standing rigging, and possibly new chainplates. For many older boats a broken mast means the boat is totaled because the cost of replacing it is more than the value of the boat.

Before I did anything I would talk to a local rigger about replacement costs, and if a used mast can be locally sourced.
 

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Wooden masts require a lot of maintenance and there are only a handful of people who are really qualified to inspect them. Wether they are suitable really depends on the boat, and the requirements of the owner.

Frankly I wouldn't consider a wood mast, not because they can't work, but because I don't want to have to do all the maintenance required to own one. Constant varnishing of the wood gets tiresome while hanging in a bosun's chair, and painting a wooden mast is poor practice because it can hide rot.
No, no, that is not how it is done.

Mast is annualy un-stepped. Strip off all loose things.
In spring, sand, and varnish. Piece of cake.

Been sailing with wooden mast for many years. No problems.

This about qualified to inspect. Hmpf! You use your eyes. Simple. Wooden masts have been used for thousands of years, Alu masts for some decades.

The advantage with a Alu mast is the lack of maintenance, just clean it now and then. Som put on some wax or similar, which is disputable. Alu mast can take higher loads as well, but then loads are to be taken by the wires.

If you like the boat, wooden or alu mast doesn't matter.

/J
 

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Had a wooden mast and boom on a tayana 37 years ago. Agree with above you cannot do a decent job of maintenance without unstepping the mast. Real issue for me was finding good days weather wise to work on the mast/boom when I wasn't working. Agree it's not rocket science. I used epiphanies and once you have the thing up to snuff then annual maintenance was not hard. Make sure the yard will either allow you space inside or at least space outside out of the wind to work on it. Other issue for me was mast was rectangular in cross section so I needed help rotating it when working on it. Finally found after wood was finished using butyl tape tightly trimmed under fittings made a world of difference. Wood will expand/contract/work under load whereas the fitting won't. My mast was an empty box inside but fortunately was finished inside when constructed. I never had to do anything to the inside. It was made of very long strips of wood well overlapped over quite a distance so truly looked like it was one piece. It survived multiple Bermuda trips so if your is well made you should have no strength concerns. If you let it go for even one season its a total bear to get back in shape. If there is any rot it can be "Dutchman"ed back into shape but it not a job most amateurs can do. Hope that helps your decision.
 

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good trick I found is given I wasn't going for the perfect, bristol fashion varnish job I never sanded much. rather just used a really sharp scraper and compressed air between coats.
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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if you listen to the Pardey's. stuffing a wooden mast full of crinkled up aluminium foil makes it into a -very- nice radar reflector
 

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I loved my spruce herreshof masts...wooden boats are living beings someone told me once...jaja

depends on what boat the mast is on, but wooden masts do have some benefits, for one they are able to tolerate more "felxiness" they tell you when they hurt(kidding) and look beatiful when maintained

loosey goosey on standing rigging on most wooden masts for sure

I forget what design herreshoff began with wooden masts but I beleive its was a boxed spliced frame method of construction where basically the mast is scarfed in 2 or 3 or 4 places and also tapered...

I epoxied and varnished my masts before setting on a long cruise and had to do NOTHING to them for 5 years...the reason they lasted so much was cause I stripped them and fixed everything that needed attention which included scarfing in new wood at some places and completely epoxing the masts in west systems like 5 times before applying 10 coats or so of heavy uv protected varnish....for a while there was a trend of modern glass hulls and light wooden masts on some boats...

cheoy lees did it for a looooong time...

cheers
 

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if you listen to the Pardey's. stuffing a wooden mast full of crinkled up aluminium foil makes it into a -very- nice radar reflector
I should of done that! :D
 

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Once known as Hartley18
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I epoxied and varnished my masts before setting on a long cruise and had to do NOTHING to them for 5 years...the reason they lasted so much was cause I stripped them and fixed everything that needed attention which included scarfing in new wood at some places and completely epoxing the masts in west systems like 5 times before applying 10 coats or so of heavy uv protected varnish....for a while there was a trend of modern glass hulls and light wooden masts on some boats...
Wooden masts certainly look nicer varnished, but, as advocated by Hiscocks during their multiple world tours and something I can attest to, there's absolutely nothing wrong with painting the mast (white) instead of varnishing it. This pushes the "annual" maintenance out to 3-5 years by reducing solar heating of the timber and glues underneath.

Of course this only works for Bermudan-rigged boats.. if you have a gaffer you're kinda stuck with either a hard-wearing spar varnish or an oil - for the working part of the mast anyways.
 

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well I had a lovely h28 being young and romantic varnish was the only way to go...and I paid for it with my sweaty labor jeje

I thought about pianting the tips like some schooners and east coast boats do but hey...you only live once right? jajaja

very true about the paint I loved cream colored masts they looked very nice too
 

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My Dad had several wooden sailboats. The one pictured is virtually identical to the last one he had. IIRC, it had a solid wood mast about 8" in diameter at the base. He also built an International Star Class boat with a boxed mast of Spruce, a piece of wooden artwork.

The thing I remember most about wooden boats is sand, varnish, & paint. Our last boat had an aluminum mast & glass hull. We spent way more time sailing it than polishing it. Aluminum doesn't rot. :D

Paul T
 

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can anyone tell me the difference between a wooden mast and an alluminum in mast? which is better what is the pros and cons to wood versus a aluminum mast? I am thinking of buying another sailboat and it has a wooden mast.the boat would be used for off shore any advice would be appreciated
Wooden spars take more maintenance than aluminum. How much work that is, depends on how experienced you are with those requirements. I don't find the maintenance of 2 spruce spars and booms that daunting but I'm familiar with the process.

Unless you want to get involved in learning the systems required, wood(boats, spars) isn't a good choice. I'd pass on that boat on the spars alone, if I were you. There's a lot out there for sale.

If you have a professional yard service and maintain a good sized spruce spar and boom(say around 50'), you should allow at least a couple-three hundred dollars into the yearly costs averaged over 10 years.
 

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Once known as Hartley18
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The thing I remember most about wooden boats is sand, varnish, & paint. Our last boat had an aluminum mast & glass hull. We spent way more time sailing it than polishing it. Aluminum doesn't rot. :D
True enough..

..but as you said yourself, it's not a piece of artwork either. :cool:

 

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True enough..

..but as you said yourself, it's not a piece of artwork either. :cool:

How true, I remember my Dads Star boat deck, 1" laminated alternate dark & light strips, stem to stern, curved to match the gunwale profile, absolutely beautiful.

I suppose if one has/wants an "original" classic wooden boat, it has to have a wooden mast. :D

Cant get pics to upload:

Paul Thomas's (ptnt11085)'s Library | Photobucket

Boat picture is of a virtually identical boat we had when I was about 10 years old, on San Francisco bay, about 1945

Paul T
 

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If you have a wooden mast it should not be painted, but should be varnished. Paint hides any problem areas - wet wood or rot. Paint hides it until it is too late. There is really no such thing as a no maintenance wooden mast. They deserve close inspection annually.
 
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