banner for puddle duck racer boat

Making a Mast for my Puddle Duck Racer

NOTE: The carbon fibre mast was very bendy and eventually it broke. The problem, was the too-small diametre of the mast. This reduced the rigidity of the mast. Eventually the mast flattened out just above the mast step and broke. It took a big gust of wind to break it. If I had made the mast just a half inch wider I expect that the mast would have worked. I made a wooden replacement which is working just fine.

Here are links to other steps of the Puddle Duck Build

My Chosen Rig is a Leg O' Mutton Sprit Sail

The mast will be the carbon fibre mast I made a couple of years ago and never finished.

Since it is only a tube at this point I need to add a base and a top.

I had intended to make a roller at the top but I decided against it. The foam insert I made did not work. Instead I will simply make a wood top and make a hole in this. My Skerry mast is made that way and this works very well.

Making the inserts for the top and bottom of the PDRacer Mast

turning parts lathe

I turned both pieces together on the lathe and separated them after. Since it's awkward to handle the long mast, I cut the slot and top hole before inserting in the mast.

boat mast insert lathe

The inserts went in easily and were glued in using epoxy thickened with sawdust. The top insert also has a layer of glass cloth over the join to help even it out.

I put a slot in the bottom. I can't make up my mind if I want the mast to rotate or not. This way I can stop it or if I prefer the mast to rotate, then just remove the rod in the mast step.

Because the mast is not particularly pretty I expect I will paint it. The epoxy needs UV protection so it's either varnish or paint. I'm still working out my colour scheme.

boat mast bending

The mast is 15 feet high and the sprit is just short of 10 feet. I expect I will want to trim the sprit but I'll wait till I've experimented with a sail. I expect the sail to be about 55 square feet.

I'm trying to figure out how much the mast is going to bend. Here I've tied a rope from top to where the sail will end about deck level. I pushed as much as I could with a short stick. I then ran a slack rope from the 2 points to measure how much it had bent

NOTE: After using the mast a few times it proved to be too flexible. The mast eventually broke at the mast partner in 25kn wind gusts. If I were to build another composite mast I would make it with a larger diameter. This would limit bending. I included some photos and details of the break here. I also build a new wooden mast.

The green tape is not on very straight so it looks like the mast is croocked but the mast bent very nicely. I put marks every foot and noted the deflection. The little stick is where the sprit will be. It's about 4 feet up from the base. The photo perspective distorts the actual position. The bend is just over 3 inches maximum. This will be useful when cutting the sail. I will be experimenting with a polytarp sail until I know what I like and then I will make a more permanent sail. Polytarp work well but stretches out after a couple of seasons.


The mast broke just above the partner and I went on to make a new one.

emails: Christine

This web site reflects my personal ideas and doesn't represent anyone else's point of view.