Can a broken mast be repaired?

DownWest

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Minerva:

Next time your mast is down for winter, try standing near the foot of the mast, perhaps even gooseneck level and picking the whole mast up. In that situation it will not have any sails in the water adding weight and resistance to being picked up so will be (comparatively speaking) much lighter than if it was a mast overboard situation.
That should give you an indication on how successful your attempts are likely to be.


I have done this. It is heavy.
You won't be lifting, sheet winches are for that.
 

westernman

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Even if one does manage to get a mast alongside, the boat will be rolling violently, if there is any sea running. Getting every single line aboard & securing it, with a part hoisted set of sails in the way, will be difficult. I have broken a couple of dinghy masts & the mast on our silhouette & even on those the amount of stray lines seem endless.
You only need one round the prop & you are in real trouble
Which is why you need to take all the time it takes to make sure that you really have got every line on board and accounted for before even thinking of whether to start the engine.

If this happens in the middle of an atlantic passage, you will need to jury rig something as you won't have enough fuel to make it to land otherwise. And the more bits you have recovered, the better your chance of getting something hacked together which will provide some reasonable progress. Also you will need the jury rig to stabilize the boat so you don't all end up sick as dogs.
 

Minerva

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Minerva:

Next time your mast is down for winter, try standing near the foot of the mast, perhaps even gooseneck level and picking the whole mast up. In that situation it will not have any sails in the water adding weight and resistance to being picked up so will be (comparatively speaking) much lighter than if it was a mast overboard situation.
That should give you an indication on how successful your attempts are likely to be.


I have done this. It is heavy.

After trying that; check your rig and replace if needed.

Professionally replaced. 9 months old.

Then buy a good set of bolt croppers and hope you’ll never need them.

I have bolt croppers, I hope I never need them.

I sense anger in this reply and some others. I don't know why.

No anger at all - just a honest risk assessment as I see it.

Where I am coming form is the probability of successfully getting a mast and rigging fully on board after a dismasting is very low combined with the probiliity of injury to self & crew, puncturing the the hull from mast stump / getting rigging wrapped around the prop / loaded rigging cutting through cabin / deck / hull being high (all very high consequence events).

Therefore I would assess the Risk associated with trying to get the mast onboard will be intolerably high in most situations and the best course of action being getting it cut free ASAP then motor to a safe haven.

The only time this risk assessment may change is if you are mid ocean and you do not have the diesel range to motor to a safe haven. At that point the risk assessment will most likely point you to storing spinnaker poles etc on deck so they could form part of the jury rig rather than risk significant personal or boat damage and still plan to cut the rig free.

Your risk assessment of the situation may be different
 

steveeasy

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Even if one does manage to get a mast alongside, the boat will be rolling violently, if there is any sea running. Getting every single line aboard & securing it, with a part hoisted set of sails in the way, will be difficult. I have broken a couple of dinghy masts & the mast on our silhouette & even on those the amount of stray lines seem endless.
You only need one round the prop & you are in real trouble
I Agree. Without a large crew it would be impossible. even then it would be so dangerous to start climbing in amongst all the rigging trying to drag everything back on board. If youve survived a dismasting the last thing you want to do is injure yourself or indeed someone else.

Steveeasy
 

ylop

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You won't be lifting, sheet winches are for that.
That probably is necessary, but worth bearing in mind the ability of a winch to apply huge force could make the risk or damage to the boat all the more likely, its not a task you'll have done before (or certainly not in identical circumstances) so will have no intuition if its just heavy or you are actually trying to drive a spreader through the hull.
 

Daydream believer

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I was in Fox's marina where there were some very tall masts on a rack. A couple were joined within their length with splices within the mast section & many pop rivets. I assume that these were part of the manufacture due to lengths for handling/delivery purposes etc.
But it shows that a mast can be spliced given suitable sections.
 

srm

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I was in Fox's marina where there were some very tall masts on a rack. A couple were joined within their length with splices within the mast section & many pop rivets. I assume that these were part of the manufacture due to lengths for handling/delivery purposes etc.
But it shows that a mast can be spliced given suitable sections.
Yes, a guy came into the marina here having lost his mast. The new mast from Selden came in two sections. They were joined by an inner sleeve, already fitted to the lower section, with upper section and sleeve drilled for rivets. Apparently the trick is to put a wood batten in the mast grooves to keep perfect alignment during assembly.
 

Sea Change

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I read somewhere than the anodising baths can only treat sections of up to 40ft, so any mast longer than that will need to be sleeved. I can't remember the specifics of which manufacturer(s) or time periods this applied to buy it certainly matches my observations on British built boats from around the 1970s.

Once your mast is down, the motion of the boat is likely to be awful. The mast provides a lot of inertial damping. Further, you will be lying beam on to the swell. Just staying aboard is going to be tricky in these conditions.
My first boat was 27ft and when we bought her, she was afloat with the mast ashore. Walking around on deck, in a harbour, felt really very wobbly. With the mast on she was a different beast.

The only direct experience I have of a mast breaking is when a friend's Wayfarer lost a shroud and the mast snapped at the partners. He was able to get it sleeved and back in to use. But that's obviously quite a small mast compared to the OP's.
When a mast breaks it will happen at a stress point: deck level or just above if keel stepped, or near the spreaders.

One more thought- the aluminium extrusion itself is just one part of the cost of a mast. All of the fittings will really add up too. If it's a relatively recent design you might be able to buy a new extrusion and swap all of the old fittings across. The YouTubers Sailing Florence did this with their boom and it saved a substantial amount of money.
 
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