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rugila 03-14-2008 05:54 AM

About masts
A couple of questions....

I'm continuing repairs/refurbishment on my 34ft locally built (mainly been doing electrics) and have now got around to looking at the mast. Aluminium, deck stepped.

1. It has elongated holes in the sides about 3ft from deck for the halyards. What usually happens to rainwater or heavy seas when they go into these holes? Does the water finish up in the bilges (running down inside the compression post) or should there be some other hole in the mast just above deck level to drain the water out again?

2. I've never been to the top of a mast, but this is coming up very soon. Some repairs are needed - coax cable, wiring for steaming, spreader and anchor lights, conduit put in etc. So question is - how are aluminium masts normally finished off at the top? I assume they have some sort of cap which is either welded or bolted on to keep out weather etc. I'm just interested in any info about the general practices of boat builders when finishing off mast tops. Welding, bolting, whatever they felt like on the day...?

sailingdog 03-14-2008 07:36 AM

1) The elongated holes are called halyard slots and usually have a cast fitting put into them to protect the line from chafe and help it lead fair. Most masts aren't sealed, so will let the water out at the base. This is often a cause of wet bilges on keel stepped mast boats.

2) Most aluminum masts have a cast or machined piece at the top that holds the windex, anchor lights and masthead sheaves. This piece also is where the tangs for the shrouds and stays connects. It should be held in place by two or more bolts.

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