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Old 11-04-2021, 11:30   #1
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Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

I am new to this forum, but I hope that the experts here may give me some advice.

I own a Granada sailboat, and recently had a rigger check my mast.

It turned out that the mast is bent in the area around the top spreader (see picture). There is no visible sign of injury, creasing etc to the aluminium. It seems to me that the bend is somewhere between 5-10 cm.

I have owned the boat for three years and I do not know if the bend has been there all the time. I have not noticed it before the mast was taken down.

The rigger inspecting the mast advised to get a new mast, which they could provide. However, a new mast cost more than the boat.

I would greatly appreciate any advice on whether the only alternative is to replace the mast. Is it possible/advisable to "repair" the bend? Is it possible to trim the rig to "equalize" the bend and use the rig as before?

All helpful comments and advice is greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-04-2021, 12:02   #2
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

If you are an America's Cup or Vendee Globe competitor, contact your sponsors about funding a new mast. For the rest of us, this bend is utterly irrelevant.
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Old 11-04-2021, 12:07   #3
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

Bent/broken masts have been dealt with in various ways. One way is to mount “sister plates” on each side of the effected area. Secure the plates with through-bolts to each plate, alternating the sides of the heads. If aluminum pipe of a greater ID than the mast can be found and cut into half length-ways, so much the better. The greater the ID, the lesser amount of chord (cross-section not a diameter) and thus a slightly better fit. If you can find someone to bend alloy plate to the curve (or as nearly so as possible) so much the better.
If the mast has been broken (not your situation) I have seen wooden plugs inserted into the damaged section. None of these solutions are pretty, and add extra weight aloft. If you can sister the bend, the application of pressure when tightening the bolts will remove much ( most? All? ) of the bend. If you achieve this result, you may be tempted to dispense with the sister plates. Be advised that bending the mast in the first place weakened it. Bending it back will weaken it even more.
Now that I’ve told you how to do it, I will now tell you not to. Somewhere- somewhere- there is a salvaged mast for a boat like yours, or very similar. New is really expensive. I’d go for salvage.
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Old 11-04-2021, 12:27   #4
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

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If you are an America's Cup or Vendee Globe competitor, contact your sponsors about funding a new mast. For the rest of us, this bend is utterly irrelevant.
Thank's for the response Sun and Moon. So what you are saying is use the mast as it is and trim the bend away with shroud/sidestays to the extent that is possible?
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Old 11-04-2021, 12:38   #5
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

That’s not what I would describe as a slight bend. The intended use of the boat would dictate my remedy. If you are headed across an ocean or cruising around the world then replace it. If you are a coastal cruiser and will not be caught offshore then I’d use it as is and do what I could to “tune” the rig to compensate as much as possible. This leaves you the option to continue to search for a suitable used mast.
My fear would be that it might fail catastrophically and injure someone at some point.
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Old 11-04-2021, 12:57   #6
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

Think I would be asking for him to try and pull the bend out with the shrouds when its replaced.
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Old 11-04-2021, 13:29   #7
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

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Thank's for the response Sun and Moon. So what you are saying is use the mast as it is and trim the bend away with shroud/sidestays to the extent that is possible?

Yes, exactly. I've never looked at the side bend in my mast while sailing, but it's surely there because the side stays on the leeward side are loose, while the windward side is tight. In the forward/aft dimension, I've read that 2-3 inches of mast bend in appropriate, and I'm guessing the sideways bend under wind load is similar. I'm guessing your bend might well disappear when you restep the mast and tune your rig.
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Old 11-04-2021, 13:32   #8
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

Seems the bend is gentle enough to not have produced any kinks which you confirm is so. Surely with the mast on the ground it would not be too difficult to ease the bend out. After all, it got eased in.

Just a question - does the rigger source/sell/supply new masts?
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Old 11-04-2021, 14:05   #9
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

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Seems the bend is gentle enough to not have produced any kinks which you confirm is so. Surely with the mast on the ground it would not be too difficult to ease the bend out. After all, it got eased in.

Just a question - does the rigger source/sell/supply new masts?
Yes, the rigger sells masts. However, he was open about that some people would try to straighten the mast, but that he would neither recommend nor be part of that.

So I am just trying to get a few second opinions about what is recommended to do in a situation like this, and how serious this bend is. I am not experienced with masts myself.
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Old 11-04-2021, 14:11   #10
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

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ID:	236344 Here is a picture of the boat with the mast in place.
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Old 11-04-2021, 14:13   #11
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

If the bend does not show visible fatigue (striations or cracks), then I would likely try to repair or bolster vs replace. Lesson here re: the rigger who sells masts - don’t ask the barber if you need a haircut.
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Old 11-04-2021, 19:58   #12
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

The rigger can't afford to suggest bending the mast to straighten it - he would be professionally liable if anything happened, and would lose his business if someone was killed by the mast's coming down. Straightening it by bending it back would seem to be a viable interim fix. You'd want to figure out ahead of time exactly how you'd do it, though, and how much beer the six helpers you'd need would want AFTER you got it straightened.
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Old 11-04-2021, 23:37   #13
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

looks fine to me. provided there is no sign of cracking or buckling, just straighten it with rigging tension

cheers,
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Old 12-04-2021, 00:10   #14
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

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looks fine to me. provided there is no sign of cracking or buckling, just straighten it with rigging tension

cheers,
NO NO NO, with such a critical bend you NEED a new mast, new standing rigging and no doubt new running rigging as well, your rigger knows best.


Do yourself a favour and get a second opinion from a rigger recommended by at least three other sailors that you know.
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Old 12-04-2021, 01:20   #15
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Re: Bent mast - replace, repair or use?

Let's think about this: a 50-foot aluminum tube isn't exactly strong except in compression, which is what the standing rigging is designed to do. Heck, adjustable backstays put a healthy bend in the top section of the mast. Where things go wrong is if there's a dimple or crease in the mast at the spreader mounts.

If your current rigger won't lessen/remove the bend, find another rigger.

Good luck

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