Today,while sailing on my Cal 2-24 two of the screw heads on my mainsail luff track broke just above my boom, so that the lower track is now pulled away from the mast. Can anybody tell me what I need to do to fix these broken screws? For example, should just take the mast off, and take it to a machine shop to have folks better equipped drill them out? Thank you very much. Ken

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You should be able to center punch the remnants of the bolts shank. Then drill a tiny hole in the center of the bolt. The act of drilling may even thread the remainder of the bolt into the mast where it'll just fall inside. If you drill the hole but the threads remain locked in place then you're gonna have to use an easy-out. Then you've got to chase the threads with a tap and install new screws with some anti-seize on the threads.

Its really not hard to do but you really do want that initial hole as close to the center of the bolt as you can.

s/v Veranda
Thank you very much for the insight. The screws are very pretty little. Can if even expect to drill into the "center" of them?
I know it sounds awkward but you really need to hit the middle as best you can. If you have enough access you can grind the end flat so you can get a better surface to get the centerpunch centered.

There is also a screw extractor that is sold for small jobs like the one you have. It almost resembles a phillips screwdriver bit that you mount in a drill and spin it slowly counterclockwise. Its extremely hard with a very sharp edge and will almost act as a drill and burrow itself into the bolt enough where it'll grab and unscrew the bolt.

I'm pretty sure that they are called Grabit Damaged Screw removers.
Thank you very much. I appreciate you taking time to help me plan my fix. I now just have to buy the necessary tools.
This may be too late to help, but if not, why not leave the broken screws and just drill new holes a quarter inch above or below and insert new screws. Ten minutes and you are done...
Thank you sir:
Great idea. If my first attempt to remove them fails, I will do exactly as you suggest.
If the track has lifted away from the mast and the screw broke at the head, you may be able to sneak the tip of a small needle nose vise grip between the track and the mast and grip the remaining shank of the screw. If you can grab it, get some penetrating solvent on it and try to just rock it back and forth a bit; it should loosen and then back out. If the mast threads are damaged, you might consider putting it back with stainless pop-rivets


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