Monday, November 5, 2018

Repairing Renegade's mast. First steps.

Some readers may recall that during my summer vacation I picked up an old Harry Cates-built Cates design Moth Boat.  If not a refresh can be seen here.  Work on this boat has been slow due to either 90+ degree heat or torrential rains.  Now that fall has arrived the temps and the rain are starting to become a bit more tolerable and so I've pulled out Renegade's mast for a spot of repair.

The mast has several problems but the biggie is this split in the luff groove starting at the point where the sail feeds into the groove.  It involves about 18 inches or so of the mast.

Dry run with clamps.

Packing tape to catch resin squeeze out.  Note the good sized gap remaining even with clamp pressure.

Rag on a string to wipe excess resin out of the groove.

I used colloidal silica filler for maximum strength.

The clamps stayed on over night.  I plan to reinforce this repair, taking a tip from a fellow blogger over at the Lingering Lunacy blog, with some fiberglass sleeve. Far less messy than trying to wrap the repaired area with glass tape.  More on that once the sleeve material arrives.

A secondary issue with this mast is that years ago the varnish was removed and the bare wood left unsealed.   The wood is covered with small dots which I assume are mold colonies.  The entire length of the mast is involved.

I decided to test my theory with some household bleach.  This is a "before" shot.

This is the "after" shot.  Hopefully, the damage is limited to the  surface layer of the wood.  We'll see if a good sanding will get me down to sound wood. 


  1. There doesn't appear to be any wood borer in the mast? which is good news.
    I like the photo of the mast on trestles with some upturned boats in the back ground, this shows that in this crazy world someone has got their priorities right.
    Good luck with the mast gluing.

  2. Thanks Alden. I'm still waiting for the correct sleeve material. The company sent me 3 feet of carbon fiber sleeve, which of course is sexy, but I wanted fiberglass since I eventually plan to finish the spar bright and don't particularly want a black area to draw attention to my repair! I plan to try pulling some shrink wrap tubing over the glass sleeve to see if I can eliminate most of the sanding after the resin kicks.