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agrelon 8th November 2009 06:42 PM

Unblocking a Mast
Sadly my new second hand 100% carbon 430 rdm mast got blocked due to a really tiny amount of sand in the interlocking part. Anyone know any good way to unblock it without a bunch of tough guys lying around? (that has worked in the past :) )

I thought maybe clamping two booms on and twisting, but I thought this might damage the mast...

I can open the top of the mast, so maybe pouring some water in will help...

Roger 8th November 2009 11:21 PM

Hi Agrelon,
Separating a "stuck" carbon mast ferrule can be one of the most frustrating things that can happen in windsurfing.
Here's what I have used on more than a dozen "two piece turned to one piece" masts than others have given up on.
1/ Find 2 elevated sufaces (saw bumpers... tall wood blocks) that will allow you to bend the mast at least 12" (30.5 cm) in the middle.
Put some padding on the elevated surfaces to protect the mast.
2/ Place the elevated surfaces far enough apart that you can bend the mast without the ends slipping off your fulcrum points.
3/ Push down and release the mast (bend it down below the centerline between your elevated surfaces) rythmically many times, and rotate the mast every few cycles.
Listen carefully to the sounds that bending the mast makes.
If you hear "crunching" from the sand caught between the inner and outer ferrules, work more in that area (at that particular angle).
The "crunching" sound is the trapped sand breaking down, and this is what you want.
Break the sand down only in the area where it's trapped, without damaging the other areas of the ferrule by twisting, trying to "wrench" the ferrule apart by "spreading" the sand granules around to other areas of the ferrule by twisting them with booms.
Twisting with 2 or more booms also runs the risk you will "crush" the mast as most masts are not reinforced for "crush" in the areas adjacent to the ferrule.
4/ After working the mast up and down (benidng it) repetitively until you hear the "crunching" sounds go away, try to pull the two halves apart. If you twist the mast
slightly as you pull (only twist it a few degrees, NOT all the way around, and then twist it back and a little beyond the angle at which it was stuck) it may pull apart easily as the sand/grit has broken down and it will not keep the mast stuck together.

If the above does not work, here's a bit more expensive (for the hose and fittings) method that has worked to separate masts that the above did not sucessfully get apart.

Since you can take the top cap off, you can get a short section of rubber or plastic hose
and a couple of plastic reducer fittings, hose clamps, and a plastic cap.
Get a section of hose that fits the top of the mast closely and then use reducers to get a garden hose fitting on the other end.
Use a couple of hose clamps to seal the hose onto the mast the hose onto the hose fitting.
You may need to use a larger hose cap, 2 hose clamps, and a larger diameter section of hose on the base of the mast to seal that end.
This method will push any plugs in the lower section of the mast out the bottom, but it normally does not damage the plugs and you can stick them back in the mast.

Once you have both ends plugged, connect a garden hose and set the mast up on elevated surfaces like the above dry method.
Turn on the water to the garden hose and let the water "flush" the sand from the ferrule joint.
Work the mast just like the dry method, and listen for the crunching sound.
After a while, the water will begin to seep out of the joint, and once it begins to flow a
bit, it will flush out the grit and your mast will come apart easily.
Tips to keep this from happening again:
Use soap (regular bath bar soap) on the outside of the male part of the ferrule.
This will prevent sand from getting into the joint, and lubricate the joint so it will come apart more easily.
Get a roll of vinyl electrical tape, and put about a 1 1/2 wrap around the joint line between the upper and lower sections of the mast.
This prevents all sand and water from getting into the joint, and helps to ensure that your mast ferrule stays full together when you are rigging your sail.
This does not work if you are using cambered sails as the cams will hang up on the tape
Avoid rigging you mast/sail on the sand, but if you must, put the mast base in the bottom of the mast before you get to the sand, and be careful to keep the joint above the sand.
If you drop the ferrule (either side) into the sand, take it to the water and throughly rinse all the sand out of it before putting the ferule together.
Hope this helps,

Ola_H 9th November 2009 03:32 PM

There is an amazing trick you can try. You will need feeler gauge or maybe a set of washers ranging from super thin to a few mm in thickness. This works best with rdms but can work on sdms too.

Follow Rogers first procedure 1, 2, 3. In stage 3, when the mast is bent there will be a slight gap between the upper and lower section. Insert a feeler gauge that just fits this gap. Release the mast. The gauge will sort of get stuck when the mast flexes back. Now twist the mast 180 degrees so that the place where the feeler guage is is up. Press the mast down again. The thickness of the inserted feeler gauge will create a leverage that pushes the mast halves ever slow slightly apart. The best thing is now to have an extra set of feeler gauages (or to take it apart) since you will repeat the process and insert a new gauge in the gap that gets created on the underside when you bend the mast.

Repeat. When you have created a gap of ca 2mm, you will likely be able to twist it apart manually.

I've had mast that 8 people with booms couldn't get separated that I later managed to separate myself with the above method.

agrelon 9th November 2009 04:55 PM

Many thanks to the both of you. I shall get to it on Thursday and shall let you know how it goes.

agrelon 12th November 2009 02:36 PM

Finally. It is unblocked. I used the bend and washer method to start with but it was taking too long so with a friend we tied two ropes, each fixed with 2 knots, to the mast, one on each side of the joint. then we stuck a piece of wood in each and twisted them up. This gave us enough leverage to twist the mast free, but it was still hard work.

As of now I will be paranoid about any grain of sand in my joint.

Ken 12th November 2009 09:21 PM


If you get stuck again while on the beach, grab 5 of your buddies and put 3 guys on each half of the mast. It worked for me. I have done it with two, four and six guys at different times, depending on how bad it was stuck.

nonopr 12th November 2009 09:34 PM

If you grab 5 of your friends how can you put 3 of them in one side and 3 of them in the other side of the mast?

Unregistered 12th November 2009 10:00 PM

Because there`s 6 alltogether !!!

ic_spotz 13th November 2009 12:03 AM

Ford F-150, Straps and a palm tree worked for me!!! I tried all those other methods with no success. A couple of clove hitches on each section of mast... one end to the tree and the other to my trailer hitch. A little bit of pucker factor as I let off the brake and gave it a little gas but it popped apart with no damage.

agrelon 14th November 2009 08:31 AM

Hahaha, I love the truck method. Unfortunately the fastest thing I drive is my board...

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