I didn't have a lot of time to build the John Welsford Kiwi design in order to have a boat for the Sail Oklahoma Duck races in October 2011. Choosing the KIWI design over the cat box design took me considerably more time to build than 'the cat design which can be built in two long weekends' project.

I am not someone who likes to spend a lot of money on my boats, especially with the expense it would take to go to Oklahoma for the event, so I opted for cheaper material for the mast.

Sadly the weak link was that cheap lumber that failed during my second tack in the first race. In hind site the cheap lumber I picked up for $12 to build the mast was hardly worth the $20 savings over what I have built for the new mast, upgraded to Douglas Fir. Even though I built the original mast out of a triple lamination of planned " material with a few small knots, I don't believe they were the problem. The "white wood" lumber sold by Lowes is just not sound enough to take that kind of stress. The fracture started at the top of the deck where the mast comes through and split along the grain for about 2 feet. I have now built a mast out of clear straight grain Douglas fir and am headed out to test it today.

We are having Small craft advisories so it should be a good test. I have also added reef points to my Poly sail but I am not going to use them for the test.

Pat Johnson