laser mast step repair

Admiral Hornblower

Super Anarchist
1,174
481
NE Ohio
I bet you saw this coming! Yes, I blew out my mast step and have three days to repair it before a regatta. I already have an inspection port handy as well as polyester resin, fiberglass matt and cloth. The mast step blew out were the step attaches to the hull so all I have to do is re-bed it, (I think). I've already removed most of the rotten material surrounding it.

Any advice?

DSCN4796.JPG DSCN4795.JPG

 

Admiral Hornblower

Super Anarchist
1,174
481
NE Ohio
Usually the force of the mast rips open the deck, like in this pic, but I was able to avoid that by quickly grabbing the mast and supporting it as I drifted to shore.

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Alan Crawford

Super Anarchist
1,374
644
Bozeman, Montana
You got really lucky to NOT damage the deck!

I've done many many reinforcements before breaking the step. One thing I learned to make the job a bit easier is to use fiberglass tape (1.5" wide or similar) instead of cutting strips from a large piece of cloth. This prevents having so many individual strands come off and stick to your gloved (lots and lots of gloves required - double-up so you can keep changing the outer gloves while keeping the ones against your skin intact) fingers.

Consider adding some reinforcement also at the mast tube / deck transition. Most people just focus where the tube is bonded to the hull. 

Remove as much of that bondo that was placed in the hull area that the bottom of the mast tube fits as can be done easily. On many boats I've repaired, the bondo easily comes off in a couple large pieces. 

I've used epoxy and polyester - both work just fine. 

Also, you know this, but will say anyway make sure everything is very dry before starting. 

Finally, once you cut the hole in the deck for the port, take a large plastic trash bag, cover the entire deck around the mast step and anchor the trash bag on the inside of the deck through the inspection port hole with tape. This protects the deck from getting trashed with glass, epoxy / polyester....

Good luck!

 

CaptainAhab

Anarchist
851
230
South Australia
If you want to get it done fast use poly. If you want to use mat use poly. Otherwise it doesn't matter. Do a decent sized fillet so the fiber can roll up the tube.

I've done 3 different Lasers all before they broke. I would do it on any built before 1992.  I had a brand new one when I was a kid and it destroyed the deck. In the States they used to have a Laser mast step deck repair kit. It was a prefabricated tube and deck that bonded on top of the original deck.

 

steveo

New member
Good luck with the repair. You have lots of knowledge right here. Keep us posted with photo's of your progress. I have an old laser too and I'm considering doing the repair proactively.

 

CaptainAhab

Anarchist
851
230
South Australia
Don't go too nutz with it. Keep in mind anything you do will increase the original strength massively. The hull is made from mat. Getting all fussy with fiber angles and well thought out fiber layups with epoxy is a waste of time and money in my opinion. Get in there with a grinder with a 80 grit flap disc and some 80 grit sandpaper. Thicken some resin up with cabosil or high density filler. Make a largish round fillet. Lay mat or 10 oz glass fabric that was cut into 6" wide tape on the 45/45 bias. It will go up the tube better. Lay some 0/90 fabric or mat to spread the load out into the hull. It is definitely a good idea on the older hulls. You should also checkout the the rivets on the mast upper section. Salt water gets trapped under the plastic fitting and corrodes at the splice fitting. Its a good idea to end for end them. I've seen three uppers that sheared off because of the above. 10 minutes and a couple of rivets will prevent that from happening on the old spars.

 

Alan Crawford

Super Anarchist
1,374
644
Bozeman, Montana
 Get in there with a grinder with a 80 grit flap disc and some 80 grit sandpaper. 
I think a grinder is OK in the hands of highly experienced person but since it's hard to see what you are doing through one inspection port, the chances to do. damage with a power grinder could be high. I've done 12-18 mast steps and never used any power tool other than careful use of a heat gun to dry things out. 

 

Admiral Hornblower

Super Anarchist
1,174
481
NE Ohio
Thanks for all the tips guys! I have finished the repair, and to be honest, I probably did go a bit crazy! The mast tube would probably snap before that mast step breaks!( I did it before I read @CaptanAhab's post... Oops!) At least I don't have to worry about it breaking!

 

CaptainAhab

Anarchist
851
230
South Australia
I think a grinder is OK in the hands of highly experienced person but since it's hard to see what you are doing through one inspection port, the chances to do. damage with a power grinder could be high. I've done 12-18 mast steps and never used any power tool other than careful use of a heat gun to dry things out. 
I'm an artist with a grinder & recipro saw. We call the 4" grinders detailers. Obviously its all based upon your skill and comfort level. Powertools makes things go faster, but they also fuck shite up faster. 

 




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