.
Subject: Is a kinked or even sheared metal mast a write-off?
not necessarily, says Roger Y-W:
----- Original Message -----
From: Donna Barton (W7978)
Sent: Saturday, September 06, 2008 12:22 AM
Subject: bent metal mast

Uncle Al,

My husband and I recently purchased Wayfarer 7978 from Jack Blodgett.  It is a fine-looking wooden boat. it suffered a blow from a fallen tree, however, and the mast is bent. I've attached some pictures. Do you think we have a chance of using the mast if we are able to straighten it? Do you know of any way to straighten it?







If we have to replace the mast, do you know where we could obtain one? We live in Oregon, so it would be quite a shipping bill if we had to get it from the east coast.

Thanks for your time,

Donna Barton and Florian Bell (W7978)


----- Original Message -----
To: Donna Barton
Cc: Nick Parker (W982) ; Nick Seraphinoff W864
Sent: Saturday, September 06, 2008 11:21 AM

Hi, Donna:
 
Welcome to Wayfarers!! I'm sure you will love the boat - once you get the mast functional!
 
It's hard to tell for sure without looking at the mast "live", but this looks definitely like a kink rather than just a severe bend which means it's doubtful that just bending it back will be a safe option. If you can find someone in the area who does work on aluminum (masts for a preference? we have such a place right here in Oakville, just west of Toronto: http://www.klackospars.com/ - one would hope such a place exists in the Pacific NW what with all the sailing being done there???), you could ask them for advice. I know that a friend of mine took a mast that had broken just below deck level and had it welded. I have little knowledge of such things but I gather they put a short sleeve inside the mast and thus welded the two parts back together. Worth a try if you can find a suitable place with expertise in such matters. Have copied Nick Seraphinoff (W864) in Detroit who has some experience in metal matters, in case he can come up with helpful advice?
 
If, God forbid, you need a new mast, the only North American source I know of is Fogh Marine in Toronto. It might be worth checking with Selden Masts in Sweden who now produce the Proctor mast for Wayfarers. A final option - last resort - might be to get your area Fleet Captain, Nick Parker (W982) (copied) to ask the W's on his mailing list to see if anyone has a wooden mast with which they would part (If you're not going to race, a wood mast will be fine).
 
Good luck, and do keep me posted.
 
Best regards,
 
Uncle Al  (W3854)

PS: Just remembered that Roger Youle-White (W7385) in Seattle has metal working connections, so have copied him, too, in case he has some suggestions.


----- Original Message -----
From: Youle-White, Roger
To: Al Schonborn ; Donna Barton (W7978)
Sent: Saturday, September 06, 2008 2:25 PM
Subject: bent metal mast

Wow Donna!   You must be in some serious racing!   I hate it when you call "Starboard!"  and they don't respond...
 
Well, looking at your pictures, which are very well done and really help to answer your question,  it looks like you have an Abbott mast (as opposed to a Proctor mast).   I will tell you how I managed to repair my Proctor mast, and then I will make suggestions for  your case.   The good news is, if you decide to follow a similar course of action, the weld zone will be stronger than the original material so the end result is not a compromise, instead it becomes an exercise to achieve a final result that is as invisible as possible, which is very possible.  I should also mention that, here in Seattle, we have probably the best welders in the world, no exaggeration, most are certified by Boeing over the years and experts of aluminum aircraft repair.
 
My experience:
My Proctor mast sheared into two pieces just above the goose neck fitting  a few years ago and I managed the repair for about $75.00 and a weekends worth of work.  In my case the shear was perfectly horizontal so, after removing all the fittings (spreaders, halyards, anything that was not riveted and anything that was plastic and within about 3 ft of the future weld zone which gets hot,











I built a large plywood and 2x4 fixture that fit onto my table saw and would slide like a table saw fence, then I used a carbide saw to "dress" the mast to a nice smooth flat and horizontal surface.  that shortened the mast by about 3/16ths of an inch (I was very lucky to get away with so little).  







Of course both pieces had to be dressed.  Then using a hand file I put a heavy chamfer on both pieces, the chamfer started within about .02 inches of the inside wall.  Chamfering was easy (with a good file) and took about 20 minutes.  When the two butt ends were put together and, aligned, a deep "V" was formed allowing the weld to penetrate all the way to the inside of the wall which is key to restoring strength. 

 
The next step was to build a fixture used to hold the two mast pieces in a straight line, allow them to be clamped so they do not move and give plenty of room (clearance) around the weld zone so that a welder can do his/her magic.  I will send you a photo of my solution but the idea was to deliver the mast all ready to weld so that the welder does not have to invest any time in setup and can go straight to work on welding.  This meant I was charged $50.00 instead of hundreds.  
 


As for welding, almost every weld shop can handle aluminum but this is "thin wall" project and unless you find a shop with a light duty, thin wall welder, you risk a botched job because normal welders will burn right through the thin material.   I found a welder near Fisherman's Terminal (Ballard Bridge area) who had an industrial TIG welder specifically designed for thin wall.   This fellow had 40 years of experience and he filled the "V" with a beautiful bead of weld that was extended above the outside wall of the mast so that it could be filed flush.
 
After the bead was filed flush I used some industrial scotch bright to polish the weld zone so that you could not see where the weld took place.  After a couple of years this bright finish will oxidize and match the rest of the mast.   In the meantime I put a decal over the zone.
 
Suggestion for your mast:
The dents need to be removed because the mast will have no strength where bends exist.   I am suggesting that you cut the mast twice so that all of the bend and dent zone exists on the middle pieces, which from your picture looks to be about 1 foot long.    I would then take this 1 short piece to an auto body shop and ask them to use a mandrel and dolly to force the dents out and a hydraulic press to straighten it by eye aided with a straight edge (which they will probably have).   Once this is done, follow my experience as noted above.  When you cut your mast it is very important to cut it normal (90 degrees) to the "good" part of the mast so that you do not shorten the mast more than necessary.  With two cuts and care you might only lose 3/8th of an inch, which is nothing.  You will have to raise the sail that much higher.     Notice I never made mention of a sleeve.  A sleeve adds weight and frankly, with a decent alignment fixture, it is not required.  Furthermore, fitting a sleeve will take just about as much time as building the fixture and then you will be stuck with a sleeve inside the mast causing problems for your halyards.  Remember a penetrated weld is stronger than the original material.
 
Help if you need it:
I will fix your mast for you (pro bono) if you pay for the materials and welder's time. Of course there would be no guarantees but I would do the best job I can.  Or you are welcome to stop by and use my table saw (I have a monster), we could chop the mast together, then you could manage the job from there...
 
Roger



From: Al Schonborn [mailto:uncle-al3854@cogeco.ca]
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2008 10:40 AM
To: Youle-White, Roger; Donna Barton (W7978)

Hi, Roger:
 
Have begun the Fall Weekly Whiffles with a vengeance and thus been reminded that I had intended to post your fine article on mast welding not only in the WW (next week 27 Oct.) but also in the WIT - see http://www.wayfarer-international.org/WIT/WITindex2.html where it now sits at http://www.wayfarer-international.org/WIT/maint.repair.ref/mast.repair/mast.repair.html. I have raided the Picasa album you referred us to but am missing (I think) the pic of your "solution" (ref. "The next step was to build a fixture used to hold the two mast pieces in a straight line, allow them to be clamped so they do not move and give plenty of room (clearance) around the weld zone so that a welder can do his/her magic.  I will send you a photo of my solution"). If there is one can you point it out or send it? I'll appreciate your input to confirm that I have put your pics into the right places?
 
Will get to the trailer write-up and the Okanagan report soon - I promise! Am really snowed under right now!! (not literally, thank goodness!!)
 
Best regards,
 
Uncle Al  (W3854)


----- Original Message -----
From: Youle-White, Roger
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2008 3:58 PM

Hi Al,  it appears I have miss-filed the photo's showing the alignment/weld fixture.   I have over 30,000 digital pictures, and all are in well defined file folders but it's still a manual process.   Also it is possible I became "involved" in the welding process and forgot to take pictures at that stage (I do that sometimes).  Frankly at this point (about 5 or 6 years later) I don't remember if I took a pic or not.   I will look again this week but if I can't find it here is a text description.  
 
"The purpose of the fixture is to save weld-shop time (money!) that would otherwise be used to aligning the mast, assuming the shop has the resources to align a 20 ft object in such a way that gives access to the weld zone.  Building a fixture ahead of time takes the pressure off, allowing you make sure the quality is built in.  The requirements of the fixture are 3 fold;  (1) To align the two segments of the mast; (2) To allow easy access around the weld zone big enough for a husky welder with gloved hands, arms, chest, to easily lay down a bead of weld without obstructions, getting his/her clothing caught, etc.; (3) the fixture must have sufficient rigidity that it can be transported to the weld sight without affecting the accuracy of it's purpose .   I suppose a 4th requirement, the one that always gets us into trouble , is, to achieve all this as cost effectively as possible.   
 
The fixture looks a little bit like hopeless box kit.      Cut two sheets 4x8 sheet of 0.75 MDS into eight 12 inch x 8ft strips.  MDS is fairly dimensionally stable, but it's not very rigid so by making two boxes held appart by 2x4's (like a box kite) the end result is reasonably rigid.  Start by placing two strips on a semi-flat floor end to end, with a 2ft gap making a 18ft span.  The gap is where the mast welding takes place.   Attach the two panels with two 16ft 2x4 and use glue to make a very strong union.   Assuming you did all this on the garage floor, call this the horizontal assembly.   Now Attach 2 more 6 inch panels to form two vertical surfaces.  Screw into the same 2x4's as used for the horz panels.  You now have a "C" shaped assembly that has a degree of rigidity and will have more when you close the "box" with the last two remaining panels, but not yet.    Put the two pieces of mast inside the "C" and center the weld zone in the middle of the 2 ft gap.  Push the mast so that it is centered between the two "structural 2x4" (not toughing them) and hold the mast pieces in place with some small cheek blocks that you screw into the horz panel.  Stretch a .020 wire along the length of the 18ft fixture, raised up so it is not touching anything and stretch it straight but not so tight as to distort the fixture.  Set the wire up about 1 inches to the  left of the mast.  This wire is the "reference straight line".  Now carfeully move the cheek block until the mast is aligned with the wire both in horizontal and vertical planes.   This may seem difficult but with a bit of fenece you should be able to accomplish this in 15 or 20 miutes, the key to success is buiding some cheek block ahead of time and making sure they are big enough to support the mast so it does not rotate.  Use pan head screws so the cheek blocks do not split and pre-drilled them.  Focus on getting 4 cheek blocks per mast section set so that the mast section is aliged with the mast, then then add  10 or more blocks per mast section to really secure it for transport.  The cheek blocks will not stop the mast from lifting up and out so drill some holes into the panel and using rope, tie the mast to the horz assembly thereby keeping the it firmly in the clultches of the cheek blocks.   Now attach the last two panels to convert the "C" to a 4 sided box.   A 12 inch square box is surprisingly rigid but for transport, screw a 3rd (or even 4th) 8ft 2x4 accross the "gap"  for added stiffness.   As the welder works, he/she can rotate the box on any of the 4 sides to gain good access to the weld zone that is only interuped by the 2x4's located in the corners of the box (away from the mast.   The 3rd (and 4th) 2x4's can be removed prior to welding (if more access is needed).    Only use a welder that has professional high quality light duty (for thin applications) mig welder.  Mig welding is very hot which reduces the size of the heat-affected zone."
 
I'll draw up a sketch tonight...
 
Roger

P.S. Just visiting the link you provided, everything looks in order, except the missing picture....    This is a tremendous resource, just keeps getting better and better.
 

----- Original Message -----
To: Youle-White, Roger
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 11:39 AM

Hi again, Roger:
 
I must confess that these latest instructions boggle my mind completely. It's an area where my ignorance is monumental. So I'll just post it as is and give people the chance to put it to good use. Will add the promised sketch if you have time to produce it!!
 
Also look forward to the whole story of the Okanagan Rally that appears to be imminent!!
 
How's the hockey these days???
 
Best regards,
 
Uncle Al  (W3854)


From: Youle-White, Roger
Sent: Saturday, September 06, 2008 11:47 AM
To: 'Al Schonborn'; Donna Barton
Cc: Nick Seraphinoff W864
 
Good morning all,  see my 2 cents worh in blue below....
 
From: Al Schonborn [mailto:uncle-al3854@cogeco.ca]
Sent: Saturday, September 06, 2008 11:05 AM
To: Donna Barton
Cc: Youle-White, Roger; Nick Seraphinoff W864
 
Hi again, Donna:
 
My knowledge in this area is quite limited, so I have again copied Nick and Roger to solicit more expert input. Will also add my two cents' worth in green below.
 
Best regards,
 
Uncle Al  (W3854)

----- Original Message -----
From: Donna Barton
Sent: Saturday, September 06, 2008 12:14 PM
 
Uncle Al,
 
Wow! Thanks for the quick response. And thank you for the welcome.
 
Just for my understanding, what is the safety concern that you have with taking the bend out? Are you concerned the metal is fatigued and will fracture at the dent under sail? yes.
 
Since we live inland, we would be taking the boat out on smaller lakes - would there be that much strain on the mast? small lakes tend to provide gustier conditions than open water, so I think the strain on the mast will, if anything, be greater (at times!) - of course, the small lakes have the advantage of your being closer to shore if anything should go wrongThe rigging takes the strain.  The mast in the zone of your damage is mostly under compression.    That's why, when you over tighten the standing rigging, it pushes down on the keel, the boat gets "deeper" and "narrower".
 
Would the strain come from the sail, or the stays? both: the necessary rig tension puts the mast under compression (downward force as the stays try to push your mast through the floor of the boat), and pulling the mainsail in when sailing closehauled pulls the top of the mast aft - and there may be more forces but you're looking at someone who barely passed physics in grade 11 50+ years ago.   Strain (or stress) follows a "load path", wind induces load on the sail (as you mention) which transfers to the mast and rigging.  The rigging (side stay and forestay) keep the mast from bending, and the mast has very good compressive strength so it does not collapse under compressive load.   The mast is under very little bending load.  If a stay breaks you are supposed to let go the sheets and through in a tack asap before the mast comes down!  If the mast is stepped on the deck the rigging just falls down, if the mast goes through the deck and is stepped on the keel (basically like a Wayfarer)  the mast will bend over because it has almost no strength to counter the huge bending loads.
 
We are thinking of having someone weld a partial 'collar' around the bend joint for reinforcement. Do you think that would work? If someone can weld a collar around the outside, why not go "whole hog" and have them put it on the inside - I hear that this is doable - of course you'd have to break the mast at the kink first. And either way, make sure that your sail groove ends up letting the mainsail pass through that area freely!!   A deep "V" penetrated weld will put more strength back than was there in the first place.  A collar adds weight and is unsightly.
 
Also, I am presuming that the bend needs to be taken out. Could it be sailed as is? No!!!! You really don't want the bend left in - for a number of reasons, but they all pale in comparison with this: any rig tension you put on the system as you tension your jib halyard will make the kink worse and soon complete the break in a mast that depends in being (relatively) straight in order to withstand the forces put on itIf you follow my advice sent earlier the mast will be so straight you will not be able to see the repair, it will be virtually invisible and the mast will be straight as an arrrow.
 
Sorry if these are stupid questions. I have never owned a sailboat before - I have only sailed club boats in the past. your questions are all fine - I do hope you get to enjoy your new "baby" soon!   That's what I like about sailors.  You are green ono this subject (like most sailors would be) and yet you are totally ready to take care of business!    I like your style.    Ruth & I are in North Mill Creek if you want some help.  We can either work together or just drop it off and I 'll sort it out for you.  You can reach me at 206 579-7058 (or email). 
 
Regards,
 
Donna Barton
From: Al Schonborn [mailto:uncle-al3854@cogeco.ca]
Sent: Saturday, September 06, 2008 2:59 PM
To: Donna Barton; Youle-White, Roger

Wow, Roger! I am totally impressed!! This will be great news for Donna and Florian, I'm sure - and it is, vicariously, for me as well. Not to mention that I have learned useful stuff!!
 
Am copying (CWA) West Coast Fleet Captain, Nick Parker, and USWA Pacific NW rep, Tim Koontz, so that they can admire how two of their "flock" will be working so well together.
 
Do stay in touch.
 
Best regards,
 
Uncle Al  (W3854)
 
PS: Nick Parker reports that he is in the process of cooking up a log on the Okanagan event to which I will add your entertaining travel report (and your pictures) as well, Roger. And FYI, I have at least posted Nick's report on his Club Jed event (end of June).

----- Original Message -----
From: Youle-White, Roger
Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 12:46 PM

Hi Uncle Al!  All I can say is you really shouldn't be impressed.  My advice should be entitled, "What to do when you tow your boat down the block and forget to lower the mast first!".  That's what I did.  And it's probably the dumbest thing I have ever done (well that's debatable especially if you ask my wife!).  Plus it was noon on 4th of July and the whole neighborhood was out on the street to witness!   What a lovely bunch of coconuts.  
another case in point
From: James Burns W4594
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2013 9:33 PM
Subject: stress crack in mast

Uncle Al:
 
Hi, my name is Jim Burns. I recently purchased W 4594 from Pat Dolan at Lake Lansing, MI. He told me you helped find the boat for him in 2011. I was looking over the mast when I found a stress crack where the mast was previously modified to attach a magic box. The crack starts at at saw kerf and extends about one half inch into the  side of the mast. this area is about one and one half inches above the deck level. I believe the mast will eventually fail if not repaired. I am looking for ideas on the best way to reinforce this area of the mast. I have not taken photos yet, but I can do that and sent you some if that would help. Looking forward to hearing from you.  Jim W4594


To: James Burns
Cc: Nick Seraphinoff W10864 ; Neil Robb R4162 ; Dan Hockenberry R4180
Sent: Monday, April 29, 2013 8:56 AM

Hi, Jim:
 
I had something similar happen with my previous mast and made a messy attempt at repair by covering the entire area with carbon fibre and epoxy. This worked for about a dozen years of hard use before the mast eventually broke elsewhere at the ripe old age of about 40 years. I have since learned that aluminum can be welded quite successfully, and would thus recommend finding someone local who can do this and get his recommendations.
 
Best regards,
 
Uncle Al (W3854)


From: James Burns
Sent: Sunday, May 05, 2013 12:33 PM

Uncle Al:

Thank you for the repair ideas regarding the stress crack in my mast. I was able to find a local welder with 35 years experience who works with aluminum and  runs his own welding shop. He did ask me about the alloy used in the mast and I called Abbott's and was told they used 6351 to make their Wayfarer masts. He inspected the mast and found less obvious crack on the other side of the mast. He ground out the cracks, welded them and rounded the sharp corner where the mast had been cut. The repair looks good and should be much stronger that before. Thank you for your help.   Jim W4594
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