How to separate a stuck windsurfing mast
I’ve been windsurfing a few years but I didn’t have my own board. Whenever I wanted to go for a ride, I rented a board from SHQ at Sandringham beach. That was Ok, and I had a lot of fun, but I was confined to a single location. Besides, SHQ only has beginners’ large boards and small sails available for rent, and after some time riding on them started to feel dull.
Therefore, I recently succumbed and bought a second hand board, complete with a mast and a few sails. Now, when I have my own board, I can ride anywhere at any time, and rig whichever sail suits me best. But owning my own board also adds hassle of transporting it, storing, rigging and unrigging.
But probably the most frustrating experience a windsurfer can have is a stuck mast. A modern windsurfing masts are made of glass fiber or carbon fiber and consist of 2 parts: top and bottom, connected together with a ferrule. The parts fit together very tight, and if even a little sand gets into the ferrule, then the mast can become “stuck”, and it will be virtually impossible to separate by hand.
That problem is very common, and Google suggests lots of different solutions: playing a team tug of war with the mast, twisting the two parts in opposite directions using booms as levers, pouncing on the middle point on the mast to flex it to grind the sand, filling it with pressurized water, or even pulling the mast apart with a truck. Unfortunately, the first time it happened to me I was on my own with nobody to help, I didn’t own a truck. So, I came up with my own innovative solution.
I got 4 hose clamps from Bunnings: two 33-57mm to fit around the mast and two 17-32mm. I’ve put the smaller clamps around the side of each of the larger ones.
Then put the large clamps on the mast to each side of the joint point with rubber mats as a padding between the clamps and the mast. I left enough space between the clamps because I didn’t want to clamp down on the ferrule joint itself. Then tightened the clamps as much as I could.
Then I stuck the car jack between the clamps and slowly started jacking up. The smaller clamps' rings provide support for the jack.
After a while I heard a cracking noise but no effect. I released the jack, loosened the clamps and rotated them on the other side of the mast. Then I jacked up again. After a few minutes of that the mast finally started to come apart, and I finally had it in 2 pieces again!