Observations on Santana 22 Mast Losses

By Steve Seal, 1994

Seal's Spars and Rigging
1327 Sherman St.
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 521-7730

It seems that nearly everyone in the Santana 22 class took my advice on how to avoid mast losses. I know because over the last few years I have hardly built any Santana rigs. I have a fair bit of experience with
Santana 22's. Since 1974, I have built over eighty Santana 22 masts! I have specialized in them for 20 years now, and have built more masts and booms and have more Santana parts available than the factory or anyone else.

The advice I gave in 1974 on what to do to avoid losing a Santana mast is still valid today. Here's a summary:

  1. Chainplates: The standard aluminum chainplates should be replaced with Stainless Steel Chainplates.
  2. Standing Rigging: All Santana standing rigging is made out of 5/32" wire. This wire is adequate on the headstay, backstay and upper stays. It is not adequate on the lower stay. The single lower stay is quite
  3. heavily loaded because the chainplates are so close to the mast on the cabin top, so the lead angle is quite narrow. Also, the lower stay supports the spreader. Because of these two factors the lower stay is considerably more loaded than any of the other stays on the boat, and needs to be upgraded to 3/16" wire.
  4. Turnbuckles: All turnbuckles on Santanas should be upgraded from 1/4" threaded shanks to 5/16" threaded shanks or turnbuckles strong enough for 3/16" wire (even on the 5/32" wire).
  5. Standing Rigging Replacement: As Santanas age it is very important, even with the rigging upgrades mentioned, to replace the standing rigging on a regular basis. I strongly reccomend that the stays be replaced after six or seven racing seasons or not older than eight to ten years, to avoid stay failure (and mast failure).
  6. Insurance: Boat insurance is about the only bargain left in insurance these days. To fully insure a Santana for $5000 costs about $170 a year. It is very important to have insurance because a mast replacement or minor
  7. fiberglass damage due to a collision can run $3000 or more!