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Ask Sail: Mast Splicing

I just purchased a new Seldén mast for my 42-foot sailboat, but was surprised to see a splice in the lower part of the mast. I expected a one-piece extrusion.
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W. Evert, Charlotte, NC

Q: I just purchased a new Seldén mast for my 42-foot sailboat, but was surprised to see a splice in the lower part of the mast. I expected a one-piece extrusion. Is the splice detrimental to the overall strength of the mast?

Win Fowler Replies

A: Splices are usually made by inserting a sleeve that fits exactly inside the extrusion and is secured to each section of the mast with stainless fasteners. The length of the splice is proportional to the size of the extrusion. Seldén ships its extrusions from Sweden in 40-foot containers (for cost and protection reasons), so any Seldén mast supplied here in the United States over 40 feet in length will have a splice. Originally, this was true for all their masts, as their anodizing tank could only accommodate 40-foot pieces, but I believe the company now has a larger tank. I suspect the spliced section is actually the strongest part of the mast. Seldén assures me it has never had a splice fail. Any issue you might have is strictly cosmetic.

Photo by Peter Nielsen

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