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Big Blue Sheds – Wooden Mast Repair

May 28, 2015

Berthon is known for maintaining and repairing yachts of all shapes and sizes: be they wood, GRP, aluminium, steel or carbon, our shipwrights cover the full range.

So when owner of PHEONIX TRINTELLA telephoned for help with a mast problem, one of our dedicated Yacht Repair Managers was able to say with confidence that we had the skills in-house to deal with the issue quickly and easily.

The photo below shows the rot in the masthead area that was discovered by the owner when he removed a bracket that was now redundant due to an electronics upgrade. He had noticed discolouring around the fitting, but the degradation below was more than just skin deep and would take more than a bit of sanding and varnishing to repair it. The screws that had been used were rusty and had caused the wood to start rotting around them, with soft damp timber the result. In fact, the mast was at risk of total failure.

Berthon Boat Company Wooden Mast Repair

The mast was taken to the Big Blue Shed at Berthon so the work could be progressed without being weather-dependent. The shipwright removed all the remaining fittings, including the internal sheave and masthead, then started the task of removing the rotten wood with hand saw, chisel and plane. A 16:1 scarf joint was created. The photo below shows how much material was removed.

Scarf joint mast repair at Berthon Lymington

A member of the Berthon purchasing team sourced a piece of Sitka spruce from one of our local timber merchants to match the original wood on the mast. The video below shows the piece being put through the planer/thicknesser, then cut to the correct angle to match the scarf on the mast. The piece was then dry fitted to the mast with final shaping. A West System two pack epoxy adhesive was applied to both faces, then the new timber was clamped in place on the mast and left to cure overnight.

The next stage of such a repair is where a traditional shipwright’s skills really come to the fore: the excess material is removed by a plane to shape the rounded and tapered mast section. The video shows chalk lines being put down by the shipwright, using a jack plane to remove larger pieces and to roughly form the mast section, then moving to a smoothing plane to finish the shaping.

Next the masthead was cut in to accept the masthead fitting. A quick sanding and a few coats of varnish, and the mast was back with the owner ready to be stepped.

The whole process took less than 10 hours, showing the skill and expertise that we have in the Berthon shipwright team.

And here is the finished product: a full wooden mast repair, using Sitka spruce, to scarf a new piece into the mast, replacing rotten wood due to water ingress from rusting screws.

scarf joint wooden mast repairTrintella wooden mast repair at Berthon Lymington

If you would like to speak to one of our Yacht Repair Managers about the boatyard services that Berthon offers, such as repairs to your yacht, or regarding yacht refits or general boat repairs please email or call 01590 679222

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