Re: Mast Painting
We've done our spars three times now over the last 20 years. The first two times we used Sterling and the last time (2012) we rolled and tipped Awlgrip. I'd say the Awlgrip system is easier to use.
This is especially so given that the acid etch and alodine solutions we used to treat bare aluminum are no longer available to the public (where we live anyway). Awlgrip has a product (S6300 Aerosol Wash Primer) that can be sprayed over bare aluminum to prep it. It can then be coated with the 545 epoxy primer from 1 hour to 6 months afterwards. Painting over bare aluminum that has not been converted somehow risks early paint failure.
Our last Sterling job lasted 12 years but was blistering in many places at that point and getting chalky. Blisters were especially bad where I had not sealed out moisture well enough. This time I used 4200 or 4000UV plus UHMW gaskets under all fittings and put TefGel on all threads.
The aluminum base of our 1980 LeFiell mast did not have a standpipe to keep rain water from going down the compression post. I'd strongly recommend ordering a new base from LeFiell with the standpipe. Ours came painted white for about $50. Getting the mast bases off (SS & aluminum) involves taking down part of the headliner to get at the bolts and removing some wood at the top of the compression post in the head. If you want more details on this let me know.
Hope this is of some use.
1980 C37 Yawl (#22)
Lying Lake Union, Seattle