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Old 05-10-2009, 12:02   #1
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Hairline Cracks in My Mast

Can anyone give me some advice please?

I have just purchased a used four-year old 60' mast for my 44' cat. I have noticed that the mast has a hairline crack which is only just visible and runs about two feet from the masthead. Other than that; the mast is in good condition. To be on the safe side, I intend just to cut the mast short as i can afford to lose the couple of feet. I will cut it a good few inches extra just to make sure I am into the undamaged area.

The trouble is that once I cut the damaged area off, I am a few feet into the tapered area of the mast and cannot find a standard masthead to fit the cross section. If I was to have one made out of fibreglass and make it very thick, would that be sufficient or will I need to cut the mast off so that I am into the proper cross-section where I should be able to find somthing to fit?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:17   #2
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Talk directly to a mast manufacturer. This may be something that can be welded by an expert. It may be a sign that the whole mast is weakened. I dont know, but a mast manufacturer should.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:19   #3
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A certified welder can weld that no problem...I would do that before cutting it..it is at the top which has the least amount of stress anywhere on the mast due to opposing forces from the stays and shroud's.

I would contact these guys and talk to them.--------------- Oh shoot I don't have their link on this computer..their in Florida and use to build the masts for Irwin though....I will try and come up with it latter for you.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:32   #4
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Where are you at? Offshore Spars could do that kind of work.

Offshore Spars - Carbon Fiber and Aluminum Mast Systems
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:37   #5
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Thanks guys. Unfortunately i live in Bermuda (Poor me) so there are no manufacturers and very few experts. I like the idea of getting it welded. I imagine that a strengthening bead along the crack from the inside may well do the trick?
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:42   #6
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A certified welder can weld that no problem...I would do that before cutting it..it is at the top which has the least amount of stress anywhere on the mast due to opposing forces from the stays and shroud's.

I would contact these guys and talk to them.--------------- Oh shoot I don't have their link on this computer..their in Florida and use to build the masts for Irwin though....I will try and come up with it latter for you.

Found them Sailboat masts for every size boat

Call and ask for Dave Johnson I have talked to him before and he is very knolagabal and helpfull.
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:47   #7
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Woops...you posted befor me........well that wont do you much good then will it...Sorry mate...welding Aluminum is not something to learn on and requires about a 7000 dollor maching to be done properly so your going to have to find a welder one way or another I'm afraid... as if indeed you need a new mast head assembled /attached you will need to find one anyway..cutting it or not.

Ya might pick Daves brain anyway..he may have other ideas for you.

Best of luck .
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Old 05-10-2009, 13:16   #8
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You can stop the crack from growing by drilling a small hole at the top of it.

I second Stillraining welding aluminum is a professionals job.
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Old 05-10-2009, 14:11   #9
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Thanks again to all. It didn't occur to me that the very top of the mast takes very little strain as all of the rigging will be attached below it, so hopefully it's not as big a problem as I thought.
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Old 05-10-2009, 14:19   #10
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Seems very strange to have a crack that long. You say it's a tapered mast... so it has already been welded by "an expert" I guess...... can you tell if it's the weld or edge of the weld that's cracking now? rewelding an already defective weld could be problematic..or if it's a "faceted" type of mast is it on the bend? (over work hardened)
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Old 05-10-2009, 15:30   #11
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Thanks again to all. It didn't occur to me that the very top of the mast takes very little strain as all of the rigging will be attached below it, so hopefully it's not as big a problem as I thought.
Your forestay and backstays aren't attached to the top of the mast?
That section is loaded as well.

As said above, if you don't have an experienced MIG welder to do the job, you're asking for big problems.
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Old 05-10-2009, 15:41   #12
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But I'm sure that Bermuda has a good MIG welder with aluminium expertise! Find him and let him fix it!

cheers,
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Old 05-10-2009, 16:22   #13
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This is a photo of the mast showing the 'tapered' end. Please excuse my lack of proper terminolgy...I'm sure it's called something. The crack is on the far side of the photo and extends about 18" down form the very top. As I mentioned, it is hairline at best and there seems to be no other damage. I think that the best advice as you guys have pointed out, is to take the top off by unscrewing it, and get a proper welder to strenghten it from the inside/

[IMG]http://www.fastmail.fm/mail/Mvc-022s.jpg?MLS=MR-**f8840495u74*;MSS=;SMB-CF=8840495;SMB-MF-DR=10;SMR-PT=;SMR-UM=f8840495u74;UDm=49;Ust=25501938!efb041a2;MSigna l=MR-AT***3[/IMG]
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Old 05-10-2009, 16:36   #14
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Privilege: now you only have to post your fastmail password so we can get to the photo ;-) (joke, DON'T post it ;-)

I always have trouble in-lining photo's so I use attach file instead.

cheers,
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Old 05-10-2009, 16:38   #15
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Probably best done with TIG.
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