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Old 11-13-2010, 01:34 AM   #1
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I'm looking at an old boat, one of the things that jump out at me and make me raise an eyebrow is that the mast is sold wood and is for the most part untreated... the top is painted but the rest has been left bare, it's got lots of cracks, some you can stick your pinky in, running with the grain, like any old post will do if it dries out. a lot of the worst cracks have been packed with bees wax and the owner says he just treats her with linseed and wax occasionally and seems unconcerned... the stick is huge, probably 16inches in diameter, on a 37ft boat... the rig is oversized too, all 3/8 and 5/8 galvanized, nicely parcelled but which needs to be replaced...

the question is, is this kind of treatment for a solid mast normal? I've never seen it. Most paint or varnish the mast and they don't have cracks as big as this one... but being as the mass pressures are mainly compression I'm not hugely concerned... mostly just curius...

all input and anecdontes appreicated.
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Old 11-13-2010, 02:05 AM   #2
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It is common to put beeswax or something soft like Dolfinite in the cracks as it can be pushed out w/o damage to the wood. Different ways to treat the wood depending on owner preference. However, measure that mast and rig. The diameter should be something like...8 inches, maybe 10" max...well, 12" would be pushing it big time. Our (69' above the waterline ht) mainmast is 9" diameter hollow spar. What's the type of wire? (7x7, 6x7 w/fiber core, 7x19, 1x19?) 3/8" would be a big large unless something odd like 6x7 w/fiber core IMHO. Suggest you discount the value of the solid mast entirely if it seems oversized for the boat. Someone may have put it onto the boat inappropriately and you may wish to change or replace it.

Good luck.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:19 PM   #3
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We talked about this on the phone the other night but no one else is privy to that conversation so I'll add the info here..

i'm betting your right, that she is 7x7 or 6x7 fiber core.

the current owner said he used lineseed oil and wax on the mast and linseed oil on the rigging... which I've never heard of... an old naval manual I found says to use 50/50 diesel and motor oil.

again, thoughts? what about pine tar on the mast? Any suggestions on the best treatment for old solid masts? I wouldn't want to paint or varnish it as it's never been painted or varnished and has been oiled, so I worry how well varnish or paint would take to her.
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:06 AM   #4
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The mast treatment isn't such a big deal people put all kinds of "stuff" on their masts without a problem--the important thing is whether the cracks go through too far and compromise the mast itself. You might take some pictures of it and send them to Jamie at http://www.thesquarerigger.com/ and ask for an opinion OR reference to a local surveyor who would be able to assess the condition of the wood spars as well as the rig. You may be pleasantly surprised about the condition of the actual wire if the owner has been religiously putting linseed oil mixture on the rigging. Common soup mix for the rigging includes linseed oil/paint/stockholm tar slush if it is parceled and served. The mix depends on the owner.

By the way, Jamie's Tahiti Ketch is for sale--it's up in the SFBay area and I don't know the condition or price.

Here is another one that is in exceedingly good shape and a good price here in San Diego Link

Yes it has a V berth and yes it's really small for a tall guy! But, character, character...

PS Just found Jamie's boat on Yachtworld too HERE
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:34 AM   #5
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I don't think the cracks are too deep, some are pretty wide, but don't go in more than an inch or so and with the mast as oversized as it is I don't think it's a structural problem... next time I get on I'll take some pics of the mast and post them though, just for good measure.

the rig does appear to be in pretty good shape, as you say, both painted and oiled... the owner is fully confident in it but being as it's galvanized, which is cheap I'd just assume replace if for my own peace of mind... actually I partially want to do it just because I would enjoy it... hours of parcelling and installing new rat-lines and baggy winkles would be fun... yeah I know I'm crazy...

Unfortunately I'm not a big fan of the Tahiti Ketch, both are beautiful boats in there own right, and I fully acknowledge their sea keeping abilities. I'm just not looking for another ketch, and as you said, being tall and having a tall girlfriend we end up kicking each other all night.
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