banner for puddle duck racer boat

Making a Replacement Mast for my Puddle Duck Racer

broken mast.

The experimental carbon fibre mast broke. The diametre was too small. I got instructions from Michael Storer and built one of his square mast. I had bought plans from him for his Oz Racer and used many of his ideas.

When the mast broke, the boat just sort of stopped and turned around because the rig was in the water. The boat is so stable that I never came close to capsizing.

Cutting the Lumber

lumber cut uplumber cut up

I went to my lumber pile and found some nice pieces of mystery wood. It gets sold as "poplar" but that's a very loose definition of what it could be. Or rather it varies. I think my wood is Tulip Poplar.

The rig for the triangular sprit sail is quite high so I will have to scarf the wood to make it long enough.

Ripped it on the table saw and put the boards through the planer. I added 1 mm to the thickness suggested so the possibly odd lumber will be strong enough. I cut my scarf joints and glue the boards up. I had a couple of extra pieces ready in case something went wrong.

The mast tapers towards the top. I marked the center line and the cut lines. I cut only 2 of the sides that are going to be opposite of each other. I clamped the pieces together and cut the 2 pieces together that way they are the same. I'll cut the other 2 when the mast is assembled. I'll use my router.

Michael Storer suggests some inside blocks so I prepared these too. I used spruce from 2x4 since there is not much stress on these pieces.

The blocks are really useful because they help line up the sides so they are parallel.

Gluing up the mast

gluing the puddle duck racer mast uplumber cut up

It took a bit of time to cut the taper on the 2 sides. I used my jig saw first then my block plane to get to the line. The wood is nice and there are no knots so the planing was pleasant.

I used epoxy to glue the 2 tapered sides on. I was really careful to align the boards exactly on the cutting lines. I only glued one uncut board at a time. I find it easier to control. Once that had set I turned the mast over and glued on the last side.

top piecetop piece

I had prepared a short piece to fit into the top of the mast. This gives a good solid top. It extends into the mast for a few inches and is glued in with thickened epoxy.

bottom piece glued in

I also had a piece for the bottom, which got glued in. I had cut it oversize to make sure the finished dimension would be long enough. It's a big chunk of wood but quite light, made of spruce. I glued the top and bottom pieces in before setting the last side on. That way I could be sure they were well glued in.

router to cut the sides of the mast router to cut a small radius

Once the mast was glued up it was a simple task to cut the remaining 2 sides using a flush cut bit.

I used a very small radius bit on the router to round the edges.

I finished shaping the top of the mast. I just sanded it it and made a smooth hole to allow various lines to be either tied in or a block to be fastened.

base cut to fit on stepmast step

I had to shape the base so it would fit in the existing mast step.

partnerNew Partner

Prepared and installed a new mast partner.


Mast got a few coats of paint. The inside surfaces are all epoxied but I did not epoxy the outside. It looks big on the bench but once on the boat it's a good size.

testing angle

I tested the angle of the mast before finalizing the position of the partner. Seems OK. I can adjust if I need to.

The new mast looks much heavier than it is. It's not hard to put it up.

It's been out a few times and is working just fine.

It took me longer to build this mast than I expected, mostly because I had to think of each step. If I make another it will be much faster and easier.

Sometimes I over think the process and this slows me down.

emails: Christine

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