Until I removed the heavy conduit from the exterior of the mast I could not examine it properly. Removing the conduit was a tacky business, because the tapes binding it to the mast had perished, causing them to become very sticky. The conduit was also held to the mast with a vulcanized material which was an extremely effective adhesive. I had to vigorously scrape it off with a sharp knife.
I found that rainwater had penetrated the varnish in many places causing slight degradation of the wood and staining. At the foot of the mast there was a small gap between two panels where the epoxy had failed, and elsewhere there were similar, but smaller gaps. None of them were serious, and I shall be able to fill them with epoxy.
Leather sheathing around the mast had opened up through chafing from the boom and sail. I extracted the copper tacks that kept the leather in place and I found that part of the mast was in pretty good shape, except the tack holes did it no favours. I shall have to fill them by inserting cocktail sticks cut flush with the surface of the wood.
After sanding and scraping the mast for approximately four hours, I had it looking fairly smart. I shall do more sanding before coating it with several layers of paint. Varnish looks great, but it requires constant upkeep. Paint is far more protective and is easier to maintain.
Tomorrow I shall look at the steering system to ascertain why it is very stiff to operate. Most probably this is caused by cheap galvanized blocks seizing. I’ll also examine two rowlocks that are mounted on the transom for the yuloh, one of which is jammed.
I’ve had another look at the boom and yard, and I have found that they are not seriously warped.
Well, I’ve made a start at getting the boat as I shall want her.