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Old 12-07-2008, 06:07   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Central Coast-NSW-Australia
Boat: 13 mtr Adams steel cruiser-"Lady Eileen".)
Posts: 85
Masts-Timber or not to Timber.?

Hi All,

A question on masts and only one of many I will want to ask in the future.
Would like some frank advice to help me determine which way I should go.
Note : I will most likely go with a new alloy mast later but to keep my costs down now would like to know if this is a sensible approach.

Presently rebuilding a 40 ft steel motor sailer..Approx end weight will be around 11-12 ton all up I expect.In the midst of craneing the boat out to transport to the yard I am working on the crane rigger, when I told him I was rebuilding offered me a free timber mast.
Being very grateful I accepted.
It measures 38 ft long, approx 170mm x 120 mm at the base and as inspected has no rot and in good clean order.Has a few fittings like a mast head light and minor other bits.As it stands I think this mast can be brought up to good standard with a full strip and recoat(s).
I assume any mast is going to be a high end cost to me when I go out to market to get one so a free one now at hand would be a big saving

Should I use this mast for the time being or am I being "penny wise -pounds foolish" as they say.? Then again as someone advised me-this mast could live on for another 50 years.?
Curious also on costs.If I dont go with this mast and advice says go with a new alloy one,what could I expect to sell such a timber mast for in generally good condition if I recondition it.?

Appreciate any/all advice


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Old 12-07-2008, 06:27   #2

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I don't know that you could sell it at all, unless there's a local market for it shipping could be quite an expense, and timber masts might not attract many buyers.

In terms ofusing it, a mast shorter than your boat means you will probably have low performance while under sail. Are you at all certain that size suits you? If not, you'll also have to replace all the standing rigging when you replace the mast, and that's going to make it all the more expensive. Free is good--but only if it is going to be the right part for the boat.

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Old 12-07-2008, 07:26   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Central Coast-NSW-Australia
Boat: 13 mtr Adams steel cruiser-"Lady Eileen".)
Posts: 85


Good points.Thanks.
Had also thought about the size so that's why I am putting it out there for comment.I know nothing about masts at this stage so just trying to get a handle on things right now.
I was under the impression that for a motor sailer it ( mast size ) would not be quite as critical as per a stand alone sailing yacht ?
I will obviously seek advice from a local spar builder but his view might be a bit slanted to a new one for obvious reasons-another reason why I am asking here.
I have no standing rigging at all so thats not a problem.

The market is fairly healthy here for anything relative to yachting so worth a try to sell it if need be.
Other than that my Turbo 10 fireplace will eat it up quick smart or maybe I can plant it in my front yard and run a jolly roger up it as a flagpole
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Old 12-07-2008, 08:35   #4
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Location: Houston TX
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Depending on design......

your boat may use a mast shorter than is hull length. Many old time sail ships had short masts and long booms keeping sail area up but heel down while not losing much in speed. Of couurse many were gaff rigged and had the ability to add top masts and so extra sails. I would see what the design calls for and stick to it unless there is a great advantage to using the shorter mast. Wooden masts are a real art to build and can drive the average wood worker nuts with birds mouth joints and the like. Good luck and if worst comes to worst it'll keep your feet warm for the winter......m
I must go down to the sea again.........
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