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Old 27-11-2010, 07:51   #16
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I am not at all qualified to give an opinion on the welding of a mast but it seems to me that to avoid the problems that welding may incur you will be better off either trying to track down a mast section or cutting something off of the bottom and welding something on the bottom or raising the mast step. Logically though if you do insert a section between the break you will still need some sort of insert. Have you tried the link about mast sections? Also might want to ask yourself whether or not it is a false economy to save money on repairing the mast are there any other potential failures for the mast? I hope not and the repair goes well.

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Old 27-11-2010, 08:07   #17
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I am not an expert in this field but why weld?

Newer masts comes with a sleeve from the manufacturer. I e when 'too tall' for just one piece. doesn't at all affect strength as far as I know....

Agree on the expensive and sad part..... chin up!

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Old 27-11-2010, 08:11   #18
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Everyone still likes the sleeve method, but how to close the break is the question. Weld or not to weld is the issue. Of course another mast would be the best solution, but I am in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico. Even if I found a mast there is the problem of shipping it down here, the customs nightmare and then the total mast rebuild as I transfer everything from the broken mast to the replacement. I am on the search for a mast here in Guaymas as there are several yards and hundreds of boats stored. I am hopeful I will find one, but short of that I will have to repair the broken mast to get going again. if anyone knows of a mast in say San Diego that closely matches my mast(see below) I am interested in tracking it down and buying it, shipping etc.

Anyone in San Diego have a mast for sale?

Broken mast is:

9/64th wall thickness, elliptical cross section measuring 9.5 by 5.5 inches. 45 feet long.

let me know
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Old 27-11-2010, 08:15   #19
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Originally Posted by daddle View Post

Almost all masts longer than 40' are sleeved somewhere.
Make that many or most - ours isn't, nor is our buddy boat with a mast at least as long as ours...

That said, I've seen many sleeved (based on the riveting)...


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Old 27-11-2010, 21:57   #20
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Weld it and get on with life.

I do not know if this helps, but I have been welding aluminum for about 20 years and have closed large gaps on think metal with mig, tig and pulse. I suggest you use pulse wire feed with pure argon shield. Use small wire like .035 as the filler.

Keep the heat on the low side and the pulses fast on a single control machine. On full slope control use a slow ramp up and a fast ramp down. I call it making a "firm growl" on my Miller machine when it is running right. It's a ear thing I guess.

Drill out the extreme end of all cracks and clean (rotary wire brush with fine stainless wheel) every area well before starting weld. The selection of filler metal is based on the base material to be welded and the conditions. 5356 should do nicely on 6063 T6. Do not weld in the weather outside and choose a dry day for the shop weld. Pull the stick and weld it with several strong backs attached to align and definitely on a bench in good welder comfort. It would not hurt to use a few rivets to draw the insert to the shell tight.

The main advise here on the weld is to run a small section or two and get off it completely and let base metal cool slowly, say under a thermal blanket all the way to cold and then go again. Overheating is a real issue here. It might take 4 to 5 sessions across one day to close it up and finish it off. Watch that some trigger happy welder does not remove too much weld metal when they clean up grind or polish. Weld should be stronger than base metal.

In some cases, I have used a cooler .035 Mig setup in place of pulse when pulse is not penetrating right or the fluctuations of metal gap or thickness are causing closing issues. Same advice here applies as to time, heat, etc.

Hope this helps.
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Old 28-11-2010, 23:36   #21
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Welding can be preformed satisfactory, but the real question is the skill and trust of the actual welder. Aluminum as you've likely surmised is a difficult metal to weld well. It's not so much hard to weld as it's hard to know how much weakening has been done after the weld. A really good welder can lay a bead you can trust, but I'm not convinced you have that where you are. Lastly about the welding, don't bother welding the tears, the metal is ruined in these locations for what you must expect of it.

This leaves a fabricated sleeve as your choice. machine screws tend to back out, so use rivets. As advised place them in a tight and uniform pattern on the sleeve. This will get you home if you avoid tropical storms. At which point you'll probably want to have you most trusted rigger have a look see and start pricing out a real, internal extrusion as a replacement repair.

In short, just try to get home with the least amount of damage, which to me is no welds, just bang the tears down enough to sleeve, then rivet it on with more rivets then would seem necessary. Then get your butt back here, so you can have trusted folks do the repair, with pieces possibly from the same extrusion die the original was made from!
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Old 29-11-2010, 03:40   #22
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Brion Toss consult

It may be worht setting up a consult with Brion Toss on this. This will not cost much and be a professional advice on something he has done and seen zillions of times.
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Old 30-11-2010, 15:21   #23
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To put a little closure on this thread, i wrote to jon Marples, the orginal designed , with jim Brown, of the Searunner series and asked about sleeving AND welding masts. below is his reply. We are gojng ahead with the sleeving and will CLOSE the break with a weld. Marples seems to think this is a good laternative to a new mast. I will let you know how it works.

It sounds like your welder knows what he is doing. All that you have mentioned, the swallow tails, gussets and using as much as the mast as possible are good refinements. Usually the mast in the bend area is so badly damaged that some must be cut away. Rebending aluminum is tricky, but warming the metal helps. If it has cracks at the bends, it must be discarded. Having said that; the sleeve will restore the strength of the damaged metal and properly align the pieces into a solid structure again. I would suggest that you let the welder do his best. The most important thing is that the mast is straight when finished.

Cheers, John
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Old 30-11-2010, 15:24   #24
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IMHO, sleeve internally, fastening with both epoxy and good quality rivets.

Here's to swimmin' with bowlegged women!
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Old 30-11-2010, 15:29   #25
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Thanks Christian and to the forum for some very good opinions and advice. this is what the internet is really good for. thanks to all
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Old 30-11-2010, 15:45   #26
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Ron, this very repair is featured in this documentary: With Jean du Sud Around the World It's one of the best sailing films of all time, and after breaking his mast, he performs the sleeving / epoxy / rivet trick on camera...


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