As providers of the UK Laser Class Insurance Scheme, Noble Marine are also the largest insurer of Lasers in the UK. We have been made aware that a number of mast posts have failed on Lasers built prior to sail number 100,000. These boats are approximately 25 years old and care must be taken to ensure that when the mast step wears, it is repaired before it gets to a point of failure or weakness.
The damage is usually caused by failure of a wooden reinforcing block, fitted to the base of the mast post inside the hull. This wooden block becomes wet during normal use of the boat and will eventually rot, causing the mast post to fail.
Unfortunately this damage is classed as wear and tear and would not be covered by your insurance policy. The cost of repairing this damage is often more than the value of the boat.
However a simple repair now, could easily avoid far worse damage in the future. Your local Laser supplier may be able to assist with this preventative action or for further advice please contact Adrian Gilkes of Glass Fibre Solutions or Les Bran at Bran Fibre.
It is also good practice, for boats of all ages, to ensure that the mast post is kept clean, free of sand/grit and the end plug is changed regularly. The hull should also be allowed to breathe and dry out between sailing by the simple act of removing the bung on the transom of the boat when ashore, or fitting a small hatch at the front of the cockpit.
This article was first published on YachtsandYachting.com on 16th June 2003
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