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Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Spars Estimates and Rebuilding the Masts

We got a rough estimate on new spars for the main mast, just for curiosity's sake, from our friend Andy at Northwest Rigging. Basically, a new tapered main mast from Forespar (keel stepped) and a Leisurefurl boom will cost about $26,000 (the main mast alone was about $15000). Not exactly cheap, but not as expensive as I had anticipated. But, after thinking about it some more, we have pretty much decided to stick with the old masts. I feel better about myself tinkering on the old mast rather than working on a brand new mast. This is as close to a final decision as we have made on this matter. I still may change my mind, but I doubt it. It turns out sparmakers like Selden make parts that will likely match the extrusions of the old masts, including spreaders, mast heels and deck steps. So, having said that... We will have to "rebuild" the original masts. Now, the masts were never used and came with some basic rigging parts (sheaves, tangs, etc) and initial electrical wiring as they did from the factory 30 years ago. All of that will have to be replaced. Given the aged and weathered look of the surfaces, the masts will have to be sandblasted and painted. There is no conduit in the masts in which the electrical runs. The wires essentially "hang" in the mast the entire 50 feet. Which is really surprising for a setup that probably came from the factory. Seems that is a recipe for disaster for wires to "stretch" over time, never mind bouncing around inside the mast, possibly fouling the halyards. As we have no booms for either mast, we are strongly leaning to the Schaefer Boom Furler system. Seems any sort of boom or in-mast furling system gets a bum rap by SOMEONE. But the Schaefer system seems to get the highest marks from comments we have seen on the Internet. And, we talked to a couple locally on their second boat, and second Schaefer boom furling system that they specifically requested with the new boat. We have seen the system up close at boat shows and it appears to be a well engineered product. Whether we choose a boom furler for the mizzen has not been decided. At this time it seems a bit overkill. The advantage of this boom furler system is the "reefability", and on a ketch, the main is the one that gets reefed most often, not the mizzen. So we may go with a traditional boom for the mizzen.


The Incredible Hull said...

Agree with rebuilding the original mast. Installing a conduit should not be a major problem. Use rivets in pairs. You never ever want it to break loose, which happened to me on a 2 week trip down the Caribbean. Like living in a belfry, hell.

The bolt holding the tangs at the top of the mast has to come out. I ran out of time on my last haul but will do it in the future. Keep us posted. Gerry

rj said...

Yeah, I thought it unlikely I would really get new masts, but I "had to look".

Our sloop has pvc conduit it the mast, held by two rivets every couple feet.

I have been thinking about how to optimally run 50 feet of conduit through the mast, position it, and rivet it in place. Not sure the best way to go about it. If you have any suggestions that would be helpful.

I am thinking of running two conduits. One the full length of the mast, the other up to the spreader as that is a typical spot for electric gizmos too.

The Incredible Hull said...

Spurr's Guide P 274 has a lovely sketch on how to install a conduit, looks easy. I suspect that the reality of the task would involve lots of crawling under the mast and cursing, but it should be doable.

I like the two conduit idea.

rj said...

Thanks for the Spurrs reference. I will check that out.

Anonymous said...

Check the manual. The wires run inside a pvc conduit that is pop rivited to the mast.