A win­ter warn­ing about stow­ing un­stepped masts

Yachting Monthly - - LETTERS - Dick Turn­bull

Get­ting ready for the sea­son is stress­ful enough but this year it es­ca­lated dra­mat­i­cally when my Na­jad 361, Lora

Mhor’s in-mast reef­ing main­sail re­fused to hoist be­yond about half-height. I was winched up the mast to in­spect and, for about 30cm be­fore a join in the foil sec­tions, the groove widened and then nar­rowed, and it was cracked. No won­der the sail jammed!

Fran­ti­cally I called our lo­cal sail and rig­ging ex­perts, Owen Sails, who sourced spares, un­stepped the mast, fixed it, restepped and the main­sail was suc­cess­fully hoisted within three weeks, sav­ing my planned trip to Ice­land!

Our rig­ger, John Grant, reck­oned it was caused by wa­ter freez­ing in the groove when the mast was laid next to the boat. When sup­ported by tres­tles at each end, there can be a slight bend in the mid­dle that al­lows wa­ter to be trapped if the groove is not fac­ing down­wards.

I would ad­vise all own­ers to check that their masts, in-mast furl­ing or not, are sup­ported at a slop­ing an­gle and that the groove is fac­ing down­wards. This should stop ice build­ing up in the foil and caus­ing ex­pen­sive dam­age. The up­side? The bill was less than I feared, John Grant was bril­liant, Cr­eran Ma­rine were very help­ful and my in­surer, Haven Knox-John­ston, paid up promptly. Great ser­vice all round.

Stow your mast at a slight slope with the luff groove fac­ing down to avoid dam­age like this

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