I'd start by identifying all the components associated with it. I imagine them to be:
, the mast-step (where the mast
sits on the boat), the stays + shrouds (wires that hold up the mast), the chainplates (the places on the boat
where the stays + shrouds are hooked to).
Each component listed above has several items associated with it that you'll want to check out.
The mast: Does the mast itself look good, or are there signs of corrosion
? Are the doohickeys where the stays + shrouds connect to the mast worn in any way (elongated holes, cracks, corrosion) ? A magnifying glass helps when looking for cracks in hardware
. Don't forget to inspect the blocks + pulleys where your halyards run through - is there a lot of play in the blocks? Are the mast attachment points sound, and free of cracks / etc? Are the halyards themselves looking frayed and worn?
The mast step: Is the mast attached at the deck
of the boat ("deck stepped") or does it continue through the deck
and onto the keel
of the boat ("keel stepped")? When sailing, as the stays hold the mast upright, a significant downward force is applied by the mast to the boat. Make sure the support system inside the boat is strong, free of rot
/ whatever. Particularly for deck stepped mast, where there will be various architectural elements inside the cabin
whose purpose is to take the downward force the mast is applying to the deck and distribute it down to the hull
and / or keel
The stays / shrouds: Look for "meat hooks" - wires that have broken and are sticking out. Easy to feel for, be careful not to hurt yourself. Look for corrosion, particularly at the fittings on each end, especially the bottom. Look for cracks in the fittings.
The chainplates: These babies are important, they pop up through the deck and provide the place where your stays + shrouds hook up. Look at where they are actually attached to the boat - are the bolts good, are what they are bolted to (usually some sort of knee / buttress / whatever) sound + free of rot
? Most often the chainplate metal itself corrodes where you can't see it, where it passes through the deck. Removal
is a smart thing to do when you buy an old boat.