Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ventura mast repair

As I walked across the street to collect up the fire wood I'd been chopping I looked back and caught sight of Ventura sitting there on her trailer.  I had put some white primer paint over the fiberglass repairs so the big blotchy scars were not so apparent.   I had a flash of the sensation of sailing her and all the kindly attributes I could ascribe her, including my surprise to discover that she was a quick little boat that could move along in the lightest air.  I laughed out loud, giggled really.  How many things that you own actually make you laugh out loud, or even smile each time you see them.  My boats do this for me.
So with renewed energy I set to work on the mast repair.

I had cut and shaped the 2 halves of the 18 inch section of mast that I was using for the scarf repair.  Now that they fit inside the mast snuggly I could start the attachment process.  I decided on a pattern for the fasteners.  Each half of the masts would get a total of 22 rivets, all offset so as not to create weak "perforation in the mast.  I drilled out the holes in the mast to the size of the pop rivets, 3/16 inch.  I then fit the sleeves inside, as snug as I could get them to the inside of the mast  and chose one of the rivet placements for the first self taping sheet metal screw to be placed.  I pre drilled the hole, undersize in the sleeve as it was held in place and then drove in the screw.  This had the affect of drawing the sleeve in tight to the inside of the mast.  This allowed me to then drive in the other fasteners and have the sleeve as tight to the inner wall as possible.

Once I finished attaching both sleeve halves to the bottom section of mast it was time to attach the upper section.  Lining up the two pieces as best I could and using length of scrap metal T track set in the sail track to keep it straight and aligned I then continued the process of driving in screws.  These screws are temporary, holding the sleeves in place until I put in the permanent pop rivets.  Using the screws to pull the inner sleeves tight against the inside of the mast and allowing me to remove them and adjust if needed.  The sheet metal screws are a smaller diameter than the pop rivets so that if a hole from a screw needs to be adjusted, the pop rivet will still be able to do it's job.

Even with only a few screws in I stood the mast up and the scarf felt very strong.  I am probably going to coat the sleeves with a TiteBond epoxy, that is supposed to work on aluminum before I rivet them in place.  I figure that even if the epoxy doesn't bond well, it should work as a bedding between the two surfaces.

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