Noticed a crack down the bow side of the mast step. Cut open an inspection port in my deck and used an endiscope. The Fiberglass side of the mast step looks like a rotten tooth. Is the mast step compromised to the point of needing to be replaced or can I get away with patching?
Mine is ground out clean and awaiting glass and resin, but not as bad as yours, tube is still integral. I think you'll have a hard time perfectly matching the "ovoid tube" if you tear it out. Did you "jump the doughnut" and crease/crack the deck as well? If not, I agree, salvage what you got.
I expect @Gouvernail knows best, but FWIW, I would:
- grind it all clean. I cut a second inspection port in my deck for easier access.
- get some hose-clamps, and put one or two around the tube, inside the hull, to re-compress that crack.
- where the hose-clamps aren't, get some glass around the circumference to hold it all back together again
- cure, remove clamps, finish the job.
I had to grind out the whole doughnut and will have to build back up from scratch. I am curious what jigs/setups people have used to to get the tube laterally vertical yet raked just right...
I've never had to fix a cracked tube but have fixed (before they failed) many steps where the tube is attached to the hull in the "donut". The work is not difficult just tedious. While you gather info, start on getting the hull cavity and especially area around the step 110% dry.
This after I broke the step on my first Laser while sailing years ago in the Atlantic. Until that failure, didn't know that this was a weak part of the design (1978 hull).
@Alan Crawford That post makes it look straight forward enough. I was concerned that the cracks would be a structural issue with the stress mast bend would put on the mast step. But it looks like the only affects of the cracks would be leaking. If that's the case. I could sand it down and patch as the article describes. Thanks!
Could also mold a piece with a radius to match the outside of the tube, measure and guess with some pvc pipe then lay in or on depending on what fits, then glue on and clamp with line, tape, hoseclamps whatever and then tie it into the deck and hull with wetglass applied in place. Finish the outside and inside of the radiused section with peel ply to save sanding and prep hassle later.
Decide in advance and prep the patches into the deck and hull because maybe you have a rotten plywood ring around the bottom of the step.
Also, if epoxy drools through the crack into the step, it's a hassle to clean out. So try to block that off before gluing the front of the tube.
Interesting do you suppose it was filled with ice or water that we came ice and then went back to water and back to ice and back to water and back days until it kind of spread the thing wide open ??
Anyway seeing as how it isn’t broken or at least the photo doesn’t show how it’s broken in a manner where it handhes loads that matter, I’d wrap a few layers of fiberglass chop strand mat around it and go sailing
( use small pieces like four inch squares with torn edges. Slow down and do a nice neat job.
If all you can manage is to place one piece and smooth it out before your gloves are a big mess. Then STOP!!!
let it Harden. Sand it smooth with some 60 grit and then place another piece.
Personally?? I would sand the tube with some 60 grit paper. I would wet out a piece of mat consisting of two layers 1 1/2 oz mat on a hunk of cardboard. Then I would pick it up and place it over the crack on the tube side. Then I would use a two inch throw away brush to smooth out the mat.
I would repeat the process about ten times
I buy boxes of fifty 7 mil gloves at Harbor Freight. They cost about a quarter each. Maybe I would use five or six gloves to fix that mast step.
Same deal fir the chip brushes. They cost about $13 for 36. Acetone costs to much to clean the brushes.
If tge bottomnof the tube is broken loose from the hull this isn’t enough to fix the problem. Look at the photos on the Schroth Fiberglass link above. Adding some extra grass around the base while you are in there always makes sense
Brian, if the boat is something you plan on racing again against other lasers, a professional repair is worth your time and $. I don't know if Sturgis does repairs (more of a dealer) out on the cape, but I know Andy Pimental at Jibetech in Portsmouth has probably addressed more laser mast steps than just about any other RI/MA shop in recent history.
Gouv has so much experience that he could make any fiberglass repair sound really straight forward and simple, but if this repair isn't done right you could take the tube and the deck with it the next time you go sailing in any amount of wind. And pretty counts if you ever want to be able to sell the boat in the future.
I recall visiting a childhood acquaintance who was adding carbon to wooden centerboards to make them stiffer. The resin would shrink and bend the wood spectacularly. Later, he ended up working on America's Cup boats.
Yep, cut open for two hatches and clean the outside of the tube as well as you can.
Then wrap 400 or 600 biax tape and epoxy around it a few times. It's going to be messy and you will have to work by feel. It can be done, just be brave. But do it soon before the whole thing breaks lose.
I've brought two Lasers back to life after the mast tubes collapsed. The last one was my son's old freebee boat. It was a real bad break, but the boat is back sailing.