How much should a mast bend under no load? When does it become a problem?
This is an older model Beneteau first 30 with a cascading backstay system. The mast is an Isomat NG-37. As you can see in the picture from the base of the mast, there is at least 100mm of bend when you hold the main halyard taut.
When I loosen off the backstay the curvature in the mast does not change. So the mast has undergone some permanent deformation. When we're beating upwind with a few waves the mast does not appear to be flexing significantly. Shroud tension seems not to be either super tight or too loose. When going upwind, the leeward cap shrouds are less tight but still have enough tension not to go slack.
Not really sure how this could have happened to the mast. It seems that the PO may have been playing around with the baby stay because it is still hanging there at the base of the mast. The bend is also causing the cap shrouds to rub against the aft part of their slot at the top of the mast. It has obviously been like this for a while as you can see from the galvanic corrosion. This might not be due to the mast bend and could possibly mean that the spreaders are not original. I'm still trying to piece together the mystery.
Is a bend like this some kind of sign that there was an accident with the mast in the past? Is this amount of curvature just a disaster waiting to happen or is it pretty normal for older masts to take on a bit of bend? Maybe I should jury rig a checkstay around the spreaders and crank the mast back into shape, but maybe that could make the bend pop out the other way instead...