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Old 07-10-2017, 13:54   #1
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Bent Mast

After stepping my mast on my 23' Hunter this season I noticed there is quite a bit of bend to my mast. Sort of bends back. I tried loosening all the stays with no change. I think I may have bent it while stepping the mast. I got caught in a lightening storm as I was lifting the mast and left it with the gin pole supporting the mast from the bow. It was quite a while before I made it back to the marina to finish up and it must have made a permanent bend int he mast. I think it is maybe 10 degrees of bend. It seems to sail pretty poorly up wind but otherwise no discernible issues. My main concern is with safety. I assume I need to replace the mast and it can't be fixed, but I am a little reluctant given the likely cost. If anyone could provide any advice on my unfortunate error I would appreciate it.

Also, if anyone has any recommendations for a professional to take a look at this in North Georgia (Lake Lanier) that would be great too.
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:41   #2
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Re: Bent Mast

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Thomas.
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Old 08-10-2017, 07:51   #3
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Re: Bent Mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomasH23 View Post
After stepping my mast on my 23' Hunter this season I noticed there is quite a bit of bend to my mast. Sort of bends back. I tried loosening all the stays with no change. I think I may have bent it while stepping the mast. I got caught in a lightening storm as I was lifting the mast and left it with the gin pole supporting the mast from the bow. It was quite a while before I made it back to the marina to finish up and it must have made a permanent bend int he mast. I think it is maybe 10 degrees of bend. It seems to sail pretty poorly up wind but otherwise no discernible issues. My main concern is with safety. I assume I need to replace the mast and it can't be fixed, but I am a little reluctant given the likely cost. If anyone could provide any advice on my unfortunate error I would appreciate it.

Also, if anyone has any recommendations for a professional to take a look at this in North Georgia (Lake Lanier) that would be great too.
a. Post pictures, both from the side and looking up.

b. Measure the bend by pulling a halyard tight and measuring how far the halyard is from the mast at the mid-point.

It seems to me the gin pole would have bent it forward, not back. I think that is a red herring. Dropping it, while pinned, would bend it back.

Are we sure this is not pre-bend?
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:05   #4
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Re: Bent Mast

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Originally Posted by thomasH23 View Post
I assume I need to replace the mast and it can't be fixed, but I am a little reluctant given the likely cost. If anyone could provide any advice on my unfortunate error I would appreciate it..

Don't fret about the cost, yet. If you figure out it isn't supposed to be bent, shop the used market. I picked up a whole cal 20 rig for $50 off eBay. Shop patiently and a deal will come up, winter is coming, so don't rush.
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Old 19-11-2017, 10:37   #5
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Re: Bent Mast

Thanks for your replies. Here are some more angles. It was a while since I went out there to measure but I think the distance between the edge of the mast and the halyard was 19". I totally loosened all stays and nothing changed. I wasn't sure how to drop it pinned like you recommended. The gin pole was connected in the middle of the mast on the metal ring on the bottom of picture 5 and pulled forward then, presumably, bowing it out??
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Old 19-11-2017, 11:20   #6
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Re: Bent Mast

Only after you confirm that it is actually bent out of shape, and before you shop for a new mast, try the following:

Remove the mast.
Strongly support the mast horizontally off of the ground about 3'-4' high with the convex side up.
Tie weights to the center of the mast using a very wide strap, or better multiple wide straps spaced out a foot apart.
Add weight slowly (either with actual weight, or with a well anchored pulley system.
SLOWLY means a little every few minutes, until the mast is approximately back to a straight line.
Let it sit in the sun for several days.
After several days, SLOWLY remove the weight and measure the bend for a base line. The bend should have decreased, though not substantially.
Repeat the above process, but add weight until the mast is several inches beyond straight. Remeasure and repeat every few days, always increasing the applied reverse bend.

It may be necessary to apply medium heat during the process with a propane or O2 torch to assist the bend and reduce spring back. You are not trying to get the metal red hot, just very warm (too warm to touch) along 3/4 off its length.

I would not suggest it if I had not been successful doing it myself. If it does not work, you are out only some time.
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Old 20-11-2017, 02:07   #7
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Re: Bent Mast

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Originally Posted by SailsWithFists View Post
Only after you confirm that it is actually bent out of shape, and before you shop for a new mast, try the following:

Remove the mast.
Strongly support the mast horizontally off of the ground about 3'-4' high with the convex side up.
Tie weights to the center of the mast using a very wide strap, or better multiple wide straps spaced out a foot apart.
Add weight slowly (either with actual weight, or with a well anchored pulley system.
SLOWLY means a little every few minutes, until the mast is approximately back to a straight line.
Let it sit in the sun for several days.
After several days, SLOWLY remove the weight and measure the bend for a base line. The bend should have decreased, though not substantially.
Repeat the above process, but add weight until the mast is several inches beyond straight. Remeasure and repeat every few days, always increasing the applied reverse bend.

It may be necessary to apply medium heat during the process with a propane or O2 torch to assist the bend and reduce spring back. You are not trying to get the metal red hot, just very warm (too warm to touch) along 3/4 off its length.

I would not suggest it if I had not been successful doing it myself. If it does not work, you are out only some time.


Masts are meant to bend. I'd pay a rigger to straighten it. 90percent sure its in the rigging.
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Old 20-11-2017, 05:47   #8
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Re: Bent Mast

It has to be the rigging. The mast on a 23' Hunter is nothing more than a noodle and it's the stays that dictate it's shape. I suspect that when you stepped it you either left out a fitting (a tang on the backstay?) or while it was down the turnbuckles got turned or something similar.

From the general looks of it you need more backstay length an less forestay length to get it properly/near vertical, and the lowers adjusted to straighten it.

I can't conceive of how hanging it from a gin pole would result in this curve. The mast is not heavy enough to cause a permanent bend, and it would not be an even curve throughout. That definitely looks like rigging tension induced bend.
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Old 21-11-2017, 20:03   #9
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Re: Bent Mast

Suiijin makes some good points. The swept-back spreaders could be inducing a bend. (You say you loosened the stays, but don't mention the shrouds. They look pretty tight in the pictures.) The pictures seem to show an even curve, which would be what you want to help flatten the sail out for upwind sailing. How old are the sails? Poor upwind sailing could be due to them, rather than the mast. The weight of the mast by itself, supported by a gin pole, shouldn't be enough to cause a bend. If it isn't kinked it should still be usable. Look for a Hunter 23 users' group to see if your mast is supposed to be the way yours is - you just didn't notice it before.
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