Mast damage

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Mast damage

Postby Julian Porter » Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:38 am

I stripped back the mast and re varnished it last spring.
One season of sailing and there is a lot of damage and missing varnish where the gaff jaw contacts the mast, when the sail is raised.
Is this normal? It is certainly bad enough to have to revarnish and I don’t want to have to do that every year.
Maybe the varnish was not good enough quality? Should I replace the leather protection on the jaw it isn’t soft anymore?
Any thoughts would be welcomed.
Julian Porter
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Re: Mast damage

Postby erbster » Sat Dec 26, 2020 2:15 pm

Hi Julian,

I have the same trouble. I have put leather on my gaff jaws and waxed it with walking boot wax, but I’ve not sailed much this year, so I don’t know if it will help.

The problem seems to be worst when the winds are light and there is some swell, so the gaff swings back and forth; when there is more wind, the pressure keeps the gaff pressed in position.

I have been varnishing my mast every winter for this very reason.


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Re: Mast damage

Postby Julian Porter » Sat Dec 26, 2020 2:52 pm

Thanks for that. It’s not only me then.

I will use epifanes varnish this year as I’m told it’s the best varnish I could use.
Other than that fixing strips of oak onto the mast has been recommended.
I might see if I can find a wooden boat builder on the Island to see what they advise.
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Re: Mast damage

Postby erbster » Sat Dec 26, 2020 4:48 pm

The traditional solution is to grease the mast. Did you leather the gaff jaws yourself?


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Re: Mast damage

Postby Julian Porter » Sat Dec 26, 2020 10:16 pm

No I haven’t touched the jaws since buying the boat. How soft should the leather be?


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Re: Mast damage

Postby erbster » Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:27 am

I think it ought to be quite soft. Obviously will harden over time. The leather I bought (from Classic Marine) was very soft compared to the rather hard silicone tubing which had been on the boat since new (I assume).

This is how I did it: https://travellingaurora.wordpress.com/ ... gaff-jaws/


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Re: Mast damage

Postby Julian Porter » Tue Dec 29, 2020 1:16 pm

That’s really useful Thank you
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Re: Mast damage

Postby Chris Wicks » Fri Jan 01, 2021 11:00 pm

Another cause of the problem can be if you attached the throat halyard too close to the gaff jaw. The knot by the jaw can cause wear on the mast. I now tie the halyard a little further behind the jaws i.e. between the bolts that secure the gaff jaws to the gaff. I accept a little wear and do some revarnishing annually. Kaliope is exposed to a lot of sun for at least 6 months a year. I use a Greek varnish with high UV resistance.
Cheers

Chris
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