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Old 15-05-2019, 18:09   #1
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Keel stepped mast problem

Iím looking at an IW Varvet 31 and I noticed this crack in one of the photos I was sent. Is it a major/minor problem? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 15-05-2019, 19:41   #2
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Re: Keel stepped mast problem

Depends what you consider major. Pull mast cut out fibreglass, dig out step and/or block (depending on construction) replace all with new (welding/fabricating and fibreglass work, hope mast base is good and not corroded beyond use, step mast, instal boom, furler, bend sails, tension rig and done. If all goes well and the planets align, a weekends worth of work. If not you could be shortening the mast or making an extension, if even possible. If the rigging is questionable you may end up breaking parts of it during removal, same with furler if equipped. Thereís a trickle down effect with boats and one project will inevitably lead to ten more.
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Old 15-05-2019, 21:12   #3
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Re: Keel stepped mast problem

Presume you are talking about the crack in the mast step. The step looks properly designed so the bottom of the mast doesn't sit in water and corrode away. You need to find out what the core material is underneath the glass in the step. Doesn't look like it has rotted out and wasted away but, with that crack, would be easy for water to infiltrate the step. Hopefully because of the design, water has not overtopped the step and the core, if it's wood, hasn't rotted. Proper fix would be to pull the stick, laminate a layer or two of glass over the crack to seal the core it it's still in good shape. If the core is rotten, cost will go up but still should be affordable and a chance to replace the core with a material that won't rot.

Pulling the stick is one of the easiest and common procedures for a boat yard. Won't be painless for the wallet but something I wouldn't worry about doing.
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Old 15-05-2019, 21:58   #4
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Re: Keel stepped mast problem

This was a weeks work LOL
Didn't pull the mast just jacked it up a few inches !
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Old 16-05-2019, 02:44   #5
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Re: Keel stepped mast problem

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Saybrook.
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Old 16-05-2019, 09:20   #6
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Re: Keel stepped mast problem

Thank you all! Great information, Iíll keep looking...
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Old 16-05-2019, 09:46   #7
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Re: Keel stepped mast problem

We had a similar issue last fall when we pulled our mast. Easy fix to rebuild the blocking. I’d note you should carefully mark out where the shoe goes to ensure proper placing once done. It’s just time and labor, easily done by yourself if you can remember “one pump hardener, one pump resin.”
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Old 16-05-2019, 09:57   #8
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Re: Keel stepped mast problem

Here is a thought. Never done it, but worth thinking about :-)


To avoid the cost of a mast crane:

1: Clamp a collar around the mast. The collar can be custom made from two laminations of 2 x common lumber to have "ears" that alight thwartships so two little hydraulic jacks can be inserted under them.

2: Slack all stays enough so that when mast is jacked up, say 3 inches, the stays go taut and hold the mast upright.

To get at root of problem:

3: with a suitable saw or cutting wheel, cut the entire top off the fibreglass box that envelops the actual mast step.

4: a) IF the material comprising the actual step that takes the compression of the mast is soft or suspect in any way, dig it all out and clean the "box" of any detritus from this operation.

4: b) is mast step is sound go directly to step 7:

5: Install a "limber" of adequate dimension. A piece of 1 1/2" ABS tubing split lengthwise would be good. This should run fore'n'aft throught the bottom of the box and holes should be cut in the twartships sides/ends of the box.

6: Fill the box with common concrete, screed off the top level with the fore'n'aft sides of the box and let cure.

7: For the sake of appearances fashion a new fibreglass lid for the box over top of the concrete.

8: Let down the mast and re-tension the stays.

This should give you a repair that you will never have to worry about again. Don't worry about the weight of concrete. It's about 140 lbs a cubic foot, so a repair thus executed will only add about the weight of a young teenager to the displacement of the boat.

All the best

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Old 16-05-2019, 10:25   #9
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Re: Keel stepped mast problem

He doesn't own the boat, he's only thinking of buying it.

OP If it is a genuine crack, it's possibly a pretty serious one.
But impossible to tell from a photo!
I'd go with a good torch and have a proper look and try to get surveyor, broker or owner to poke something down inside to get an idea of crack's depth. (Wouldn't do it myself.)
Some cracks can disappear with a bit of a wipe with a rag given it's only a bloody photo. Might just be a rust stain.

No one can really tell how big a job it is nor what the crack represents till it's pulled apart after lifting the mast.
And no matter how it's done lifting the mast is a big job as it will also involve the deck boot.
If I were selling I would get it fixed.
If looking to buy like you are, I would just walk away.

Couldn't tell from the photos whether encapsulated or bolted keel, but if it is a crack, how deep does it go? So very difficult to price such a job, as it will take as long as it takes, and more issues may become apparent as the mast if lifted and the top of that step is cut away.

And then there's that other burning question, wtf caused it to crack? You might go to all the trouble of fixing it and in 12 months time it splits apart again. But it may be really trivial.

Oh, and if I were selling, I'd wipe it clean, fill with epoxy and paint over.
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Old 16-05-2019, 18:04   #10
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Re: Keel stepped mast problem

Thanks everyone I appreciate the help
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