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Mast Detail

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Mast Detail

It’s recommended you build the mast first, then sail; all prior to actually constructing the boat itself. The reasons are largely psychological: 1 – The mast is really cheap and easy to build. If you already have a circular saw, two clamps, and some wood glue, you’re out less than ten bucks. 2 – now that you have a mast taking up space in your garage, you have a good excuse to build a sail – which also doesn’t cost a whole lot to make – Maybe thirty bucks. 3 – By the time you have a sail and mast, and you rig it on your mast, you start thinking, “gee, I wish I had a boat to put this on so I could test it out”, and you now have the financial investment to justify the boat to yourself, along with the psychological motivation that you’ve completed the “hard part”, and now you can move on to the easy part – the hull. Doubly easy since you now have some woodworking skills under your belt.

The other major reason for starting with the mast and sail first is that it gives you an appreciation for the strength needed to keep the mast upright, and give you an idea of where your center of effort will be, so you can plan ahead for the centerboard or leeboard placement.

Like I said, making the mast is really cheap and easy to build. A 16’ 2x4 is $9 in my part of town. Take it home, mark off 5 feet from the bottom, measure 2.5” from one side at the 5 foot mark, then at the far end, mark 1.5”, creating a taper. Cut along this taper line with a circular saw, then screw and glue the flat side of the taper scrap to the sides of the mast to strengthen it. This works equally well for 12’ masts as it does for 16’ masts.

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