Mast Beam Repair

On a number of occasions, prospective owners have asked me what is the weakness of an Alberg 30. Well, there are some minor things that should be fixed (and probably already have been, on most boat). The two that come to mind are the home-made 3/4" through-hulls that Whitby made, and the fact that the chainplate bolts are not as strong as the rigging. These are easily remedied.

Other than that, it's a good, sturdy boat. As with any boat, it's a compromise, of course, so some people will be dissatisfied with some aspect or other. And, as with any boat, things wear out. One of those things that wears out on the older boats is the laminated wood beam that supports the mast step. This often scares new owners, but it shouldn't. It's not that hard to fix.

When the beams first started failing on racing boats with a lot of tension on the rigging, Bob Marshall came up with a rolled aluminum beam to sister the wooden beam. Not a bad try, but not quite adequate in most cases. Bruce Rankin, an engineering professor at the Naval Academy, designed a better fix. This was a pair of aluminum plates, sistered on each side of the beam. I don't know of a single case where this has failed.

You can find some descriptions of this repair in the collaborate section and Randy Katz has written up his repair to Simple Gifts. Also see Jeff Fongemie's repair of SeaGrass I hope that these descriptions help demystify the procedure for you.

This Old Boat book cover This Old Boat by Don Casey

Subtitled "turn a rundown fiberglass boat into a first-class yacht on a shoestring budget," this book is the best introduction I know boat maintenance for the new or prospective owner of a "modern classic" sailboat. Starting with guidelines for selecting a boat, Casey proceeds to fiberglass repairs, cabin and deckwork, spars and rigging, boat equipment, woodwork, electrical, plumbing, refrigeration, painting, canvas work and sails. All of this is described in clear, simple terms perfect for the inexperienced. This is the book that taught me fiberglass work. But don't let it fool you; this book is appropriate for experienced boatowners, too. I still refer to it.

Other books by Don Casey

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