Weekend Work – Compression post and Bowsprit: By Erick of Windsong

This weekend I started tackling jobs that had to wait for the mast to come down.  First off is the compression post beneath the mast.  When I purchased Windsong, the post seemed fine, but as I sailed her a large crack started to form in the middle of it all the way down its length.  I knew it would need to be either refurbished or replaced, and I am still unsure of what route to take.

By the looks of it, the post is made of two solid pieces of hardwood laminated together.  The crack is where they are laminated together, essentially separating at the seam.  I would just glue them back together and re-use the post, however, there is a considerable amount of rot at the base.  The rot goes in/up a few inches, and doesn’t seem like something git-rot or some other penetrating epoxy can take care of.  When touched, the rotted area just turns to powder.  I may be able to scarf on a piece of wood on the bottom, but a full replacement is likely.  Any thoughts or ideas regarding what I should do about the post would be appreciated.



View from the head:

The rot

I had my dad come out on Sunday to help remove the bowsprit as well.   Removal wasn’t too complicated, but the thing is a beast and heavy as can be.  We both ended up with some injuries, though he got the worst of it.  Many Downeaster owners say that their bowsprit is laminated hardwood, however, mine is one solid hunk of hardwood.  I know a lot of DE owners have needed to replace it due to rot, and my boat has a ton of wood rot.  I figured this would be part of the replacement items, but after inspection it appears to be pretty solid and free of rot. I may modify how it is mounted, but I at least can keep the piece in tact and reuse it.

Backing board & mounting bolts

Removing hardware

All gone!

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3 comments to Weekend Work – Compression post and Bowsprit: By Erick of Windsong

  • avatar BaronSamedi

    Why is there a gap of about 6 inches between the underside of the bowsprit and the fibreglass “beak” that has ornate carving on it? I see they are all like this but I can’t find anyone who knows why.

  • avatar Groginator

    If the bowsprit were to lay on the deck it would rot it. Also, under severe loads the bowsprit could flex the deck so they choose an area to reinforce to take the downward pressure. Make sense?

  • avatar Groginator

    That area would have been traditionally used for a figurehead which my schooner has as well.

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