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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.
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