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  #1  
Old 03-05-2007
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Mast Caulking

I have an aluminum mast that goes through the top of the pilot house and has a SS collar that is leaking. The mast was stepped and sealed over 16 years ago and nothing has been done since. I am told I should consider using 3M Strip Caulk re seal and fix the problem. Any thought for or against this?

David
S/V Parrothead
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Old 03-05-2007
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Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice
16 Years !!!

and your mast has never been un-stepped? How do you inspect your rigging? In a Bousun's chair? Where does all the dye drip to. Before you seal it I'd drop it and have a thorough rig inspection. Maybe I miss read but I swear you said "The mast was stepped and sealed over 16 years ago and nothing has been done since."..... I guess if you never leave the dock that's a safe approach..
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Old 03-05-2007
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The other problem with doing that is the mast may be suffering from serious crevice-induced corrosion at the mast partners, where the aluminum and stainless steel can be wet enough to cause serious galvanic corrosion. For your safety and piece of mind, I'd pull the mast and have the area that is at the deck height checked carefully for corrosion.
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If you do pull the mast, look into the spartite system.
pigslo
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I'd second the spartite system for the deck partners wedge/seal.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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Old 03-05-2007
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Here's another cheap and MOST effective way to deal with the mast at the partners.
Buy enough 3 stand nylon to wrap around the mast 4 times. Thickness of the line should exceed the gap between the mast and the deck. (We used 3/4 inch).
Take the first wrap and put it around the mast shoving it down between the partners. (You can use a come-along to the winches to make space for it as you work it around and down.)
Now take a tube of silicon in a caulking gun and load it up over the first wrap.
Make a second wrap and then a third and a fourth, each time layering the silicone in place. You will increasingly rely on the come-along as you push in subsequent wraps.

We did this on our last boat and had ZERO leakage for over 4 years. The nice thing is that the whole thing is flexible and puts equal pressure on all parts of the mast. We were able to eliminate all the wooden wedges doing it this way. Cheap and effective!
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The boat has been in the NW for all its life and didnt sail much. A rig inspection was done by Bryan Toss in Pt Townsend a 3 years ago and everything was fine. Why do I need to pull the mast if there is no corrosion? Now the boat is in the Caribbean and I want to re seal all the through deck fittings and mast. What recommendations does anyone have for resealing these penatrations?
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Example of stanchion base with 1/4 inch bolts in short. Drill each hole out to 3/8". Duct tape over holes from the inside. Mix up a couple ozs of resin. Brush resin inside holes around edges to be absorbed into wood core. Take remaining resin and add high density thickener (quickly before it all kicks). use putty knife to fill holes. After it sets drillout the 1/4 holes for the bolts. Obviously adjust process up or down depending on size of holes but you get the idea, you have created a resin sleeve to protect the wood core from water intrusion and subsequent rot. Don Casey has a book with illustrations you can probably buy from this site named "This Old Boat" that probably does a better job explaining.
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dsbentley-

As much as I respect Brian Toss's abilities...even he can't inspect something he can't see... if the mast wasn't pulled three years ago... and the deck partner has been "sealed" for 16 years, there is a very good chance that there is corrosion there. The rest of the rig may very well be in perfect shape.... but if the mast is weakened at the point where it exits the deck, a very high load area, then the whole rig is in danger of coming down.

Evan Starzinger and Beth Leonard, recently describe a refit of their boat Hawk, which is about 10 years old, where they had cracking at the same location and had to re-inforce the mast heavily to prevent complete failure.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Sailing dog,

Thanks for your advise, when I pull off the SS fitting that is the only metal touching the mast I will see if there is any corrosion apperant. I certainly don't want my mast falling down, but also don't want to pull it out if it's not needed. The mast has very good Awlgrip paint on it and there is no corrosion on it anywhere. Do you think I will be able to see any problems when I remove the SS fitting around the mast? I would like to e-mail you a picture and get your opinion.

Thanks agaid, David
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