Should I be concerned about this noise?

Shawn Brooks

New Member
Hi All!

Relatively new boat owner and sailor. I've owned my '87 32-3 for about a year now and have really enjoyed it. No major problems with it, but I have noticed a creaking noise when the boat pitches at anchor in 1-2 ft. chop. It's hard to tell where it's coming from as it resonates throughout the hull, but I think it's related to the flexing of the mast.

Here's a video:

I have ruled out an issue with the forestay or backstay attachments to the hull--both solid inside and out, and a recent rigging inspection revealed no issues.

Not sure if the noise is a cause for concern or it's just a sound old boats make. I appreciate any thoughts. Thanks!


Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
You might uncover the mast penetration, from the outside. Remove the cover. Check to see if the old "wedges" are in place and snug. When you put your shoulder to the mast while standing on the cabin top, can you move it at all, in any direction?
There are probably better answers, but that comes to mind initially.


Member II
Sounds like the boom swinging back and forth. Depending on how the gooseneck is arranged, there may be a small nylon/teflon washer that has given-up-the-ghost. Could also be the mainsail/battens rubbing against the mast. Particularly a problem with full length battens.

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
My boat is a symphony of creaking when going hard to windward. I have investigated and now believe creaking is exacerbated by full water tank under starboard cabin bunk (a centralized weight; as water is used the creaking subsides.) Efforts to trace actual location of creaking, and my applications of vegetable oil to various places during days at sea with nothing else to do, have come to naught.

It's the furniture. The tolerance are close and boats flex, and it's the price to pay for wood.


Sustaining Member
Place your hand on the mast below to feel it when it creaks. If you do feel a slight vibration then maybe it’s something to do with the mast. I have a 32-3 and have never heard that sound, but I’ve certainly have heard other sounds that I can’t locate.

Sean Engle

Your Friendly Administrator
When I first bought my boat I had both a rigger and a diesel mechanic go over the rig and the engine - just for my sense of peace.... =)


Over the many years of ownership, our ‘73 32-2 has always had her own score of noticeable creaks and groans while at anchor. (Not unlike, ...yet much less significant than the canned sounds from old sailing ship movies.

“CaryOn’s” are not overly noisy but instead a gentle rhythm (or symphony as Christian Williams put it) that I grew accustomed to and that actually cradled me into my peaceful anchorage slumber.

Ironically - I also found that one slight/tiny extra note thrown of noise into the boats gentle “music” would awaken/alert me like an old wind up alarm clock bell to see if something (or someone) was about or amiss on the boat.

One friend of mine with an old wooden Tahiti Ketch actually used a bit of oil to tune her creaks and groans to a softer level and his liking.

...On the other hand, my wife definitely prefers those creaks and groans to my snoring, as she relegates me from the V-berth to the aft quarter berth. ;-)))