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Old 25-07-2009, 12:26   #1
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Wooden Spars - Safe?

What's the general consensus about wooden masts and booms? I see an old Cheoy Lee with a wooden mast. It looks gorgeous but am worried about it cracking, dry rot, weight on high, etc...
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Old 25-07-2009, 12:40   #2
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Have a well experienced marine surveyor who understands wood spars make that decision. Wood spars in good condition that are engineered correctly can be very safe. Nicely varnished, they are beautiful as well.
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Old 25-07-2009, 14:13   #3
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Our Far East Mariner 40 has wood spars and speaders...They are made of stika spruce and very strong. However, I did find a soft spot behindl the winch and had to scarf in a section of new sitka to repair. I suppose alum would be better, but we have wood and it has lasted 38 years, the surveyor said they could last another 40 years if taken care of.
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Old 25-07-2009, 15:05   #4
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We also have spruce spars. When we purchased the boat we had a rigging survey and rot was found in both the main and mizzen. We did some renegotiating on the purchase price but the cost was still substatial for repair. The spars are now in great shape and I imagine will out last the hull at this point.
As far as weight is concerned I have been told that the box type sitka spruce spars are actually lighter than aluminum....maybe someone else can confirm this?
Jackie
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Old 25-07-2009, 20:35   #5
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Wooden spars can be made lighter than aluminum. Sitka spruce is the preferred wood. If taken care of they can outlast aluminum. Dry rot is your enemy so good paint or varnish with no pinholes or intrusion through bolt/screw on equipment is the key. A trip to the top of the mast with a paint/varnish bucket every six months is a good idea but definitely at least annually.
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Old 29-07-2009, 15:44   #6
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Ours has Al spars and wood spreaders. I finally replaced the main mast spreaders after 45 years. Spruce is fine for spars if you're willing to keep up with the maintenance. Spruce is NOT rot resistant so it has to be kept covered with varnish-especially the base. I'd advise against painting spruce spars because you'll miss early stages of decomposition (darkening).
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Old 29-07-2009, 15:56   #7
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Like others have said, wood is great - just keep up the maintenance. Keep a look out for rot up & down the mast under hardware where the moisture might collect and start the rot.
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Old 29-07-2009, 17:48   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy View Post
Like others have said, wood is great - just keep up the maintenance. Keep a look out for rot up & down the mast under hardware where the moisture might collect and start the rot.
Definitely- Moisture is the enemy, particularly with Sitka spruce.
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