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Thread: discovered rot in mizzenmast. Please help. first experience with wood mast.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2022
    Location
    hawaii, usa
    Posts
    1

    Default discovered rot in mizzenmast. Please help. first experience with wood mast.

    Hey all,
    so I am just about to purchase a boat and discovered rot in the base of the deck stepped mizzen mast. I love the boat. But I don't know what's repairable and what's safe with regards to wood mast. its soft from just above the 4" high stainless sleeve to about 1.5 feet up. its a sitka spruce, appears to be laminated with a wire tunnel. I was thinking of cutting it and laminating some plates and building a metal sleeve with bolts, possibly doing it in place by drilling a hole in good wood and lifting its weight off the deck and then cut out and rebuild a new base. Im in Hawaii now and its not cool to do shipyard here. im an experienced sailor/marine engineer. I have crossed oceans before. im thinking of making a laminated sleeve or a metal sleeve and sail it to mexico for shipyard. please don't lecture me about the dangers. im looking for ideas about a solid patch that can get me to mexico and then how permanent and worthwhile it would be to to a full repair there vs an aluminum swap. thanks guys. I love this forum btw. a great source of knowledge and wisdom that is getting rarer.
    fair seas,


    PS Image should be attached.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Walney, near Cumbria UK
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    57,451

    Default Re: discovered rot in mizzenmast. Please help. first experience with wood mast.

    Hi, welcome to the forum.
    You cannot repair that in place, the mast must be lifted out.
    You suggest that it is a solid, albeit laminated mast. If so, cut off the rotten heel and use a bird's mouth or cloths pin scarf to replace it. Look in this link for the how-to.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/arbord...57624466966133
    If you have not bought the boat yet, work out the cost of craning the mast in and out, the cost of the timber and glues that you will need and negotiate a suitable financial deal with the vendor.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Sound Beach, NY
    Posts
    4,915

    Default Re: discovered rot in mizzenmast. Please help. first experience with wood mast.

    Welcome aboard!
    How deep is the rot? The mast is likely stayed. I repaired rot in a standing solid mast by shaving off the rot and tapering above and below, and scarfing in new wood. The rigging held the mast upright. I worked my way around the stick until all side were new. In your case I might glue and bolt new pieces onto it like a splint. Good luck, keep us posted.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Portland, Maine
    Posts
    22,674

    Default Re: discovered rot in mizzenmast. Please help. first experience with wood mast.

    When I’ve seen masts patched with metal plates/sleeves the wood rotted out even worse behind the metal. I’d consider that a very temporary repair.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    21,268

    Default Re: discovered rot in mizzenmast. Please help. first experience with wood mast.

    You may be able to "drum" the damaged part in place, as a temp fix.Vertical pieces of hardwood, from the deck and up 3 or 4 feet, then frap the daylights out of them. Crack the mizzen rigging , and pray that the main backstay is not part of the mizz rigging, like some moronic triatic .
    Having no jib, a mizzen carries less compression
    Many ketches sail jusfine without a mizzen..at least temporarily, cuz yea, the repair that costs $500 in Mexico will be $5000 in Hawaii. That silly turned pinrail tells me this may be a Taiwanese Garden Porpoise or Sea Witch ? Not a gaffer, or you could lift the mizzmzst without help.
    But lean away from a repair or fix of metal .That gd ss sleeve is jammed up with funk that caused this problem to begin with or I'll eat my hat.
    When you reack Mexico, We can advise on a better repair.
    But this is a new boat to you? Best have an old drunken pot smokin salty hippie sailor troubleshoot the other spar, the one with the rotton canvas mast boot that is hiding more rot .
    This vessel been setting in the boatyard for long ?
    putty and paint make the devil a saint
    bruce
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 05-24-2022 at 08:23 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Walney, near Cumbria UK
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    57,451

    Default Re: discovered rot in mizzenmast. Please help. first experience with wood mast.

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    When I’ve seen masts patched with metal plates/sleeves the wood rotted out even worse behind the metal. I’d consider that a very temporary repair.
    The mast is deck stepped. My money is on that being the tabernacle.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    302

    Default Re: discovered rot in mizzenmast. Please help. first experience with wood mast.

    It's hard to tell how to do this from pics but i don't see the reason a properly built slabbed sleeve wouldn't work. The rot probably starts at the solid heel block where it didn't drain properly...this happened on one of my boats. I cut the mast and scarfed a new section but it was stepped. Kill the rot spores first by injecting zinc (or copper) naphthenate into the interior. It will arrest the rot and prevent future growth. Zinc won't show bleed though paint if that matters and copper will.

    One options to consider is have a 6061 tabernacle fabricated to replace the bad section on the wood mast...but keep in mind rot grows 365 in the tropics. I've purchased and repaired two boats with rot in the masts and a third with termites in the house. In the long run an aluminum mast is way easier and less worry than wood. If you were in Florida there are plenty of used masts... $1k will buy a 40'ish stick with all the rigging attached.

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