We realized we had a problem when I was replacing the float switch on our shower sump. I looked toward the mast and saw what looked like corroded metal sloughing off at the base of the mast. Since there was no inspection panel around the mast, the first thing we had to do was create one in order to determine the extent of the damage.
What we found was disheartening. Spots of our step were paper thin, even worn completely through. A huge pile of corroded iron littered the hull just under the mast. We had just returned from our first overnight trip to Tacoma, and we’d gotten into some heavier winds in places. We couldn’t help thinking of what might have happened, what could happen at any time. We brought in a few friends who have spent their lives around boats, repairing them, building them and sailing them. They confirmed what we knew to be true: we needed to replace our mast step. And possibly the stringers.
It was going to be a big project. And expensive, thought doing it ourselves would save us a boatload of money. Unfortunately, we found the problem right before we left for a month-long trip to California, which meant most of our summer sailing season was going to be devoted to repairs and not to sailing.
As soon as we could get an appointment with the crane operator, we got to work removing sails, loosening rigging, storing the boom and prepping the boat to have the mast pulled.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our mast step repair project next week!