How To Prevent Mast Failures

We have had two masts go down recently in Southern California and in both cases the situation could have been avoided.

If you have not reinforced the deck joint under your shrouds this could happen to you (see photo).



Reinforcing the gunnels under your shroud U-bolt attachments is a simple and inexpensive refit.  Simply remove the u-bolts, and epoxy in a piece of ¾” G10 Rod approximately 18″ long.

The headstay is another area that can pull up. We recommend installing a bow tang and refitting your roller furling unit to the tang rather than a U-bolt attached to only the deck and hull joint (see photo).



The other action or lack of action that caused the loss of a mast was not cleating the backstay when the wind and sea built. Most of us rarely use our backstay so when the breeze picks up we forget it is a trimming option. But when the breeze picks up and sea conditions pick up it is absolutely necessary to keep the mast from leaving the boat. An easy solution is to attach a stopper ball or tie knot at a point where the main can clear your backstay and forget about it.

See the link to a Youtube video of an MDR M242 that suffered mast failure in 27 knots of breeze and huge waves:

Other factors to consider are:

– Making sure the backstay is attached with appropriate fittings
– Regularly checking for broken strands on the shrouds and forestay
– Checking the upper forestay mast tang for excessive wear
– Checking the furler eye-bolt for stress cracks

Thanks for listening.

MG Marine, Inc
Denise & Mike George