Mast Repair Challenges Week 2-3

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As with any major yacht repair job, challenges come up that are unexpected and this mast replacement job is no different. The challenges stem from the fact that the new mast is 1 inch larger in profile front to back. This one inch increase has caused the need to replace the deck collar and the keel shoe. Not only do these items need to be replaced, the fiberglass deck and fiberglass headliner, along with the embedded metal plate, need to be cut to allow this mast to fit into our boat! So, off with the old deck collar, out with the old keel shoe and off to the welding shop and powder coating shop they go. Of course, the mast came with a new shoe and a new deck collar, but these are being machined and worked into our design. Here are the two items we are working with…

The original deck collar needs to be cut larger
The original mast shoe vs the new mast shoe, which will be bolted to the keel

The next challenge this week has been the inspection of the port side chain plate. WHAT?! Did I say, “CHAIN PLATES!” YES, We took out the bathroom cabinets and hull liner to inspect and verify that the welds and chain plates installed in 2013 by the Island Packet Yachts factory were all OK. This meant that I had to remove the teak plugs, unscrew the teak cabinet and remove the  hull liners. The trick to removing teak plugs is to first drill a 1/8″ hole into the center of the plug. Next drive a screw into this 1/8″ hole and, when it hits the screw head, it will pull the plug out of the hole. Very easy to remove all the teak plugs.

Removing teak plugs. #1 drill a 1/8″ hole
Removing teak plugs #2, drive a screw into hole, plug backs out

With the teak cabinet removed, we now could remove the shelf….

Removing the shelf to get to the chain plate

Once the shelf was removed, we could remove the hull liner. This is the whiteboard with the teak trim making the inside of the cabinet look so nice….

The hull is exposed and the chain plate structure can now be examined

Looking up under the deck, we can now see the port forward chain plate. These are NEW chainplates made by Garhaurer Marine and installed by the Island Packet Factory in 2013. We wanted to make sure the welds were not cracked and that the structural fiberglass was not damaged.

Looking up under the deck, the chainplate was fully examined.
The cross welds are perfect, no cracks, the fiberglass down strands fully secured. All looks excellent – we are relieved to have found no damages. Thank Goodness!

While we were in here with the chainplate fully exposed, we decided to add some more epoxy putty around the hull, as suggested by the factory. This was not necessary, but while here, and with everything opened up, why not?  We used Pettit Epoxy Putty.

Extra epoxy putty added around the chainplate.

With the satisfaction that we had zero chainplate damage, we reinstalled the bathroom hull liner, shelf, teak trim and cabinet. This all simply screws together, with zero glue used. It is incredible how the original Island Packet Yacht craftsmen hand cut compound angles and chiseled custom fits for all these trim pieces and supports. I was amazed as I took this all apart. No wonder an IPY costs so much $$$!

The finished bathroom cabinet reinstalled

While working on these inspections by us on the boat, the Mack Sails Team (Jeff) was working on our mast wiring and new mast building.  Jeff is wiring in a new Digital TV antenna and a new VHF antenna, wiring them with LMR 400 wire. This new wire is massive and has very low loss due to the size of the solid center copper core. Of course, this requires LMR 400 end fittings and soldering and crimping to make the proper end fittings. All halyards and lights were installed and wired, along with the blocks needed on the spreaders for the stack pack and flag halyards. The mast is finished and ready for install.

Look at the core size of LMR 400 wire. TV=75 ohm and VHF=50 Ohm.
Building of the masthead
Masthead nearly complete
VHF and Cable TV end fittings for the base of the mast
The end fittings look great

We entertained ourselves with a spur of the moment drive to Miami Beach to attend our 10th Wallcast. These are outdoor symphony concerts in “Soundscape Park” and  are considered the #1 venue in South Beach. We always try to attend these events. With a rental car, we were able to drive down and enjoy the concert along with 1,000 other people….There were pieces by Stravinsky and Debussy, plus Stravinsky’s early work from 1910, “The Firebird.”

The New World Center is right off of Lincoln Road Plaza. A fun venue.
This is about 5:30 pm, 2 hours before the concert. This place will be packed by 7:30. We always take this center spot.
The 7,000 sq.ft. HD projection screen on the side of the wall

The final job we accomplished while waiting for our mast install, was repacking the chainplates. This requires sealing the chainplate tangs with silicone. There are two ways to do this, and we did both.

#1. Remove the cover plate, pick out all the old silicone and inject new GE Silpruf to reseal. The problem with this process is that it breaks your varnish seal around the cover plate. I do not prefer this way.

Resealed chainplate where the cover was removed. Look at the removed varnish as well.

#2. The other way to seal chainplates is to simply apply more silicone GE Silpruf around the tang above the plate. This requires no removal of the plate and it maintains the varnish seal around the plate.

Simply seal the chainplate around the tang. This is what I normally do.

So, we have been working on the rebuild as we await the mast install and new wire rigging. As soon as the deck is cut and the new keel shoe is installed and the wire rigging is made, then the mast will be installed and we can add the boom and our sails. Hopefully, NEXT week we will raise a sail. Until then, we have been enjoying our friends and this dream marina, Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart, Florida.

Radeen’s wonderful Principal and Wife, CHARLES and CONNIE visited, what a joy to celebrate Valentine’s Day together.
World Sailors ED and SUE presented their European Circumnavigation and USA Great Loop travels to a packed crowd here at the marina. AMAZING SAILORS! (Note our Honorary Crew of Angel Louise shirts!)
VANESSA and JIM IP 420 Windrunner had us over for dinner and surprise …. LORETTA and JIM IP380 Plan Sea were there,, too. What a great time!
When I work on Island Spirit, I am in uniform….MACK SAILS…

Installing a new mast that is a new design and a new profile into a 1994 Island Packet Yacht is not an easy task. All we can say is, thank goodness we are not trying to accomplish this in Puerto Rico.  If I had known that the mast profile was NOT the same and that our mast was not an exact replacement, then maybe, just maybe, I would have repaired my original mast in Puerto Rico. But we are here now and we made the decision to replace the mast.

Onward we go….New Mast installing SOON…..thanks for following our misadventures!

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