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Old 10-05-2012, 21:52   #16
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So glad to hear you are safe and all well! Thank you for sharing your story.
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Old 10-05-2012, 22:06   #17
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

Well, I've blown out a few sails in my 40yrs - lost a stay that bent a mast which I was able to straighten out once - been on the rocks & got lucky - been aground several times & got lucky - been blown over in Mexico & got lucky - sailed through Hurricane David & survived - bla, bla, bla,.....etc, etc, etc.
I don't think I need anyone telling me that mahogany rots or that you're supposed to be reefed down when those mysterious squalls knock you on your ass - I'd like to see the know it all who can reef that fast while he's pointing up, slacking the jib & main and steering the boat all at the same time.
You old pros have got me beat all to hell!!!
I love this forum!
After today's inspection, I'm convinced that the dismasting was caused by a combination of cancer, old resorcenal glue letting go and a severe twisting & shaking in the rig that cracked her open at the lower spreaders and blew the mast into 4 pieces. Heavy mast for sure - boxed at 7X10'' at the base and solid for 8' then hollow to the spreader - solid for 4 feet - hollow to top spreader and solid again for 3 feet at spreader and hollow to the top - 48' long - built of 1 5/8'' mahogany. I could probably replace it with a solid spruce log and come out lighter aloft! We'll see what the insurance company wants to do. I think aluminum will be cheaper and quicker - fine with me!
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Old 10-05-2012, 23:00   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoduck
Well, I've blown out a few sails in my 40yrs - lost a stay that bent a mast which I was able to straighten out once - been on the rocks & got lucky - been aground several times & got lucky - been blown over in Mexico & got lucky - sailed through Hurricane David & survived - bla, bla, bla,.....etc, etc, etc.
I don't think I need anyone telling me that mahogany rots or that you're supposed to be reefed down when those mysterious squalls knock you on your ass - I'd like to see the know it all who can reef that fast while he's pointing up, slacking the jib & main and steering the boat all at the same time.
You old pros have got me beat all to hell!!!
I love this forum!
After today's inspection, I'm convinced that the dismasting was caused by a combination of cancer, old resorcenal glue letting go and a severe twisting & shaking in the rig that cracked her open at the lower spreaders and blew the mast into 4 pieces. Heavy mast for sure - boxed at 7X10'' at the base and solid for 8' then hollow to the spreader - solid for 4 feet - hollow to top spreader and solid again for 3 feet at spreader and hollow to the top - 48' long - built of 1 5/8'' mahogany. I could probably replace it with a solid spruce log and come out lighter aloft! We'll see what the insurance company wants to do. I think aluminum will be cheaper and quicker - fine with me!
Sorry if my observation appeared personal. I don't see that you did a thing wrong.

I often try to post clarifications for the newer lurker that may not ask or may not know. Sorry if I overstepped.

As you said, reffing for gusts, which you had already done is appropriate. A reefed or shorted rig should not fail. Hence age and deterioration as a root cause.

I sailed with a guy who asked me not to pull hard on the strings. My attitude is that I shouldn't be able to break the boat by oulling of stuf - LOL
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Old 10-05-2012, 23:28   #19
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

No worries! I like the input - even if it ruffles my feathers! Big deal!
The truth is, I didn't have time to reef! I had dropped the mizzen and started the motor ( mizzen blanketing main down wind) As soon as we motor sailed through the pass and into Burrows Bay, we got clobbered by a freak gust of wind that layed us on our ear. By the time I got pointed up -CRACK!! BLAM!! SPLASH!! End of story!
I'll admit I drive this old boat hard sometimes - but THATS THE WAY I LIKE IT! IF I BREAK IT - I FIX IT!! Yee Haw!!
If you ever saw Forrest Gump, I'm like Lt. Dan up in the rigging when it gets rough!
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Old 10-05-2012, 23:50   #20
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Originally Posted by Geoduck
No worries! I like the input - even if it ruffles my feathers! Big deal!
The truth is, I didn't have time to reef! I had dropped the mizzen and started the motor ( mizzen blanketing main down wind) As soon as we motor sailed through the pass and into Burrows Bay, we got clobbered by a freak gust of wind that layed us on our ear. By the time I got pointed up -CRACK!! BLAM!! SPLASH!! End of story!
I'll admit I drive this old boat hard sometimes - but THATS THE WAY I LIKE IT! IF I BREAK IT - I FIX IT!! Yee Haw!!
If you ever saw Forrest Gump, I'm like Lt. Dan up in the rigging when it gets rough!
It would be a pleasure to sail with you sometime Lt. Dan.

Although don't expect me in the crows nest if you continue to drop masts - LOL
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:56   #21
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

Ah! Come on Ex-Calif (me too) show a little intestinal fortitude! If you were in the Crows Nest, you'd still be on the boat - hanging from the mizzen by the triatic stay! You wouldnt have gotten your feet wet! What a ride that would have been! Yee Haw!
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Old 15-05-2012, 07:36   #22
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

Well, for those following this story, we are going to build a new wood mast - My old shipwright/fishing buddy has a shed full of old air dried VG fir in 27' long pieces to build it with. I chose fir over spruce for variety of reasons.
The original masts being Honduras Mahogany are heavy to say the least but the boat was designed around that. mahogany weighs about 34-35lbs pr cu'
fir weighs in at 32-33, spruce about 28.
I dont know if I'd notice any difference in the ride or not by going lighter but I've decided to try to keep it as close to original. The old girl has a very comfortable slow roll and I'd hate to screw that up.
So, fir it is! Which is stronger and a little more resistant to rot than spruce.
A few changes to the construction are going to be made - mainly doing away with the solid build ups at the base and upper & lower spreader areas.
Every spar I've ever cut into rots at the top of these solid spots - no place for the water to go - so we are going to make this new mast hollow throughout, re-enforcing it as needed with internal corner gussets, tapered to 0 at the upper end so water wont be siting on a shelf. The mast will breath better for sure.
I'd thought about going aluminum but the cost is nearly double and I wouldn't gain a thing except less maint and more noise - not to mention the possibility of screwing up the ride from less weight aloft.
Anyway- on ward & up ward - with any luck I'll be sailing again soon!
Adios!
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Old 15-05-2012, 07:52   #23
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

geoduck---goood luck with those--my original masts are spruce and perfect---inspected areas which were reported to have been with some rot--aint rot--was failing fittings--spruce is original from 1976. is great shape.
let me know how the fir ones shape up...
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Old 15-05-2012, 10:42   #24
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

Zee-
Spruce is no doubt the most common spar material in older boats.
My reason with going with fir is to keep the weight aloft as close to original as I can, plus - fir is stronger, more rot resistant and a hell of alot cheaper.
Spruce is very hard to find in old growth, air dried, long lengths and costs anywhere from $12 to $16 pr bd ft.
I was lucky to find old growth, air dried, VG fir at $9.00.
I had The 'Gulf Stream' for a few years - 72 S&S yawl built in 1934
We rebuilt the spars on it in 1979 and replaced about 1/3 of the wood, which was spruce - It held up well for it's age.
I also have replaced several spruce spars from Tiawan boats that only lasted 20 yrs. It all depends on the quality of the wood no matter what it is.
The main on the Eastwind lasted for 71 yrs - might have gone alot longer had I not gotten myself clobbered by a hurricane force down draft coming over the top of an island.
You've sailed in the Cortez, so you know what a Chubasco is?
Just keep in mind that wood masts rot from the inside out - you can sound with your hammer all you want but the only way to tell the real story about whats going on inside is by core samples.
Where ever you have holes drilled in your mast is where you're likely to find problems.
The majority of spars I've cut into have been layed up solid inside from the base for the 1st 5-8' and usually 3-4' in the spreader areas. I think this is a mistake because this allows water to lay inside the spar and create rot. They all condensate and that water has to go some place. It's best to leave them hollow so the water will drain out.
Anyway, good old growth Doug Fir is as good as it gets - if you can find it.
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Old 15-05-2012, 12:09   #25
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

Agree about getting the moisture out of the inside. Bluestocking;s Mainmast has full width cheek pieces running fore 'n aft, with fillers for the width.
Has a 1" square down the centre for wiring. My side by side, jib and main, fore 'n aft halyard sheaves (2 pair) are in a housed in a st steel sheave box.
This is a tough area to make watertight, and get a bit of water in the mast.
We are stepped on deck with a solid bottom to the spar for about a foot up.
When I reglued the mast a few years ago, I bathed the low point in epoxy, shaped it to drain thru a piece of down angled 3/8" copper tube.
Are your spars rectangular or round.
That bird moutherd joint method is great for round spars.
Did one like that for a small sloop. I rebuilt.
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Old 15-05-2012, 13:45   #26
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

Blue Stocking - my mast is rectangular 8 1/2 x 6 1/2 at the base tapered to 3 7/8 x 4 5/8 at the top.
Water always follows the wiring, so we are going to install a 2'' PVC pipe inside to route the wiring and channel some of the water. My mast is also stepped on deck on a ss steel base about 6'' above the deck. A plate is welded in 3'' down inside for the mast to step on - all I have to do is drill a few holes for drainage leading out and no more worries about water - and the whole thing will breath better.
Yeah - the bird mouth is a great joint but difficult to cut in taper and you use alot of glue!
I figured on using it to build a boom with because I have alot of small stuff hanging around that would be perfect for it.
Imagine it built up with alternating strips of fir, teak, purple heart, Honduras, etc, etc. varnished with 10 - 12 coats. That would be one hell of a cool boom!
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Old 15-05-2012, 15:26   #27
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

Good reading Geoduck. I've upgraded wharves on 100 yr old hardwood piles. Trapped rainwater is always the issue, fungus needs permanent wet plus a little oxygen. Dry it out every 3 months and it won't rot. Keep oxygen out it won't rot, e.g. Roman piles as good as new dug out of river-beds. Doing away with those water traps speaks to me!
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Old 15-05-2012, 15:43   #28
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

You're probably already doing it but encapsulating everything in epoxy resin is another way to keep rot at bay.

Only drawback is the additional time and the need to scrub off every last trace of amine blush off before topcoating.

I've only done a radar post for Boracay but even in that short length the issue of movement when clamping reared it's ugly head. If you can make a very solid jig and align it with a builders laser it would be worth the time, money and effort.
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Old 15-05-2012, 17:16   #29
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

In many climates ventilation works better than coatings if the moisture can get in behind. I know of a druggie's straw bale house in an averagely moist climate, left unclad for 10 years and the straw was grey but sound whereas clad bales were rotting due to condensation within.
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Old 15-05-2012, 21:35   #30
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Re: Another Lousy Day in Paradise - and Then -

Sealing everything in epoxy is not a good idea. Wood is better left open to air and kept dry. So, you seal and paint/varnish the exterior and leave the inside alone but keep out the water. Sealing completely leads to dry rot - look what happens to bulkheads, engine stringers, plywood encapsulated hulls, decks, etc. when completely glassed over. Water finds it's way in and rot starts.
I also spent a few years as a pile buck/dock builder/commercial diver and you are right - piling rots off at the intertidal area and is eaten away by marine organisms at the mud line but piling below the mud line is as good as the day it was driven. Same goes with sunken vessels - the lower the o2 content, the longer they last. I believe that a hollow wooden mast if completely sealed from the outside environment and charged internally with co2 or argon would last forever if the outside finish was kept up but this is hardly practical in the real world.
The reality is that no mater what I replace my mast with, it will outlast me - unless I let the wind tear it off again!LOL!!
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