View Full Version : Wayfarer Mast Splitting

08-16-2016, 02:27 PM
I have a wooden Wayfarer (16' sailing dinghy). The mast I believe is the original from when the boat was constructed in 1963. The hull and spars are generally in great shape. However, I just noticed that the mast (23') is starting to split apart. It came to my attention as suddenly the sail is now pulling out of the groove from the foot to half way up the mast.

Some searching in this forum found some nice discussions on the type of glue which should be used (epoxy/cascophen/aerofix306/resorcinol), and the method of repair (injecting glue, routing groove/spline/glue, and slice/plane/glue). A lot of great opinions, and very educational.

The opposite side of the mast is has no splitting. Possibly because the glue on that side was protected from water by the varnish, while the groove side was not?

For this particular situation, I was just wondering if there were any specific opinions on the recommended repair method?

Interestingly I still sailed the other day, when I noticed the issue, in strong winds, and she sailed quite well despite this. Just extra luffing.



Top of Mast


Middle of Mast


Bottom of Mast


Peerie Maa
08-16-2016, 02:44 PM
I think that the biggest issue will be cleaning the failed glue off of the gluing surfaces. If you can do that without splitting the mast into its two components you may be OK.

I would be inclined to take it apart, then you will not be worrying about the front side glue line failing next year.

You can then varnish/seal the luff groove as well.

John Meachen
08-16-2016, 05:27 PM
Its almost certainly old Cascamite in the joint and it gets a bit crumbly after a while.Nick's advice is on the button.

08-16-2016, 07:40 PM
I would also recommend popping it apart and regluing the whole thing.
I have a wooden mast of a similar age that was coming apart. Where the original casein-based glue was still there it came apart easily with a putty knife, but where somebody had had a go "mending" it, it was much more difficult not to cause more damage. If the glue is failing at one point the rest is probably about to go.

I put the mast back together with thickened epoxy and it is showing no signs of seperation after four or five seasons.


Jay Greer
08-17-2016, 11:31 AM
Japanese pull saws known as Azebiki will be a great aid if you choose to open it up. Wooden gluts/wedges, will help as well. Use G/flex for re-gluing.

08-18-2016, 04:52 AM
Thanks for all the input. While I had originally planned a "squirt and run" repair, I have come to the conclusion this would not be the best plan. However, I think this repair might be a bit too far outside my experience level. Always happy to learn new woodworking skills, but practicing on my (nearly antique) mast might not be the best plan. I know one good boat builder, however they focus on power boats and thus don't have mast experience.

Does anybody have a recommendation for someone to undertake such a repair? I live in Merrickville, Ontario, which is just a short drive from the US border, so anywhere in the US down about as far as Boston would be a possibility.


10-12-2016, 07:20 AM
Just an update, I had a couple of local recommendations for http://www.joecalnan.com/, and he is only a couple of hours drive away. So he will be splitting the mast and re-gluing it for me. I'll let folk know his final methods and how the project turned out.


10-12-2016, 09:50 AM
Please let us know how it works out, and what process and glues your repair guy used.