My mast is stuffed full of foam? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 09-17-2011
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My mast is stuffed full of foam?

I recently de-stepped my mast to replace sheaves, lights an running rigging.
Today while pulling the new rigging in, I noticed that at the bottom, the mast is stuffed full of pieces of foam. The stuff has gone completely to pot - when you touch it it turns to dust.
It appears that the stuff is only in the bottom section - maybe 6 feet - of the mast.

Question, what's the purpose, should it be in there, and do I need to replace it?

Thanks for any help

Pete
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Old 09-17-2011
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It keeps you floating when you turn over.

Really it is to keep wires from rattling around. Just remove and replace if needed
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Old 09-18-2011
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I agree with badsanta its for noise surpression for happy sleeps and happy neighbours. Replace with possibly low expantion spray foam. happy nappin
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Old 09-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afrinus View Post
I recently de-stepped my mast to replace sheaves, lights an running rigging.
Today while pulling the new rigging in, I noticed that at the bottom, the mast is stuffed full of pieces of foam. The stuff has gone completely to pot - when you touch it it turns to dust.
It appears that the stuff is only in the bottom section - maybe 6 feet - of the mast.

Question, what's the purpose, should it be in there, and do I need to replace it?

Thanks for any help

Pete
You have not indicated whether the spar is deck or keel stepped. In some cases, keel stepped masts have had foam injected in the lower portions, to a point somewhat above the partners/boot, in an effort to prevent water making its way into the bilge. Unfortunately, the practice isn't very effective and may create/cause more problems than not. If the mast is, in fact, deck stepped, the foam may be there in an effort to help silence internal wiring or halyards as others have suggested but, being in the bottom section, will not be particularly effective. There are ways to silence internal wiring but injecting foam is a poor idea given that some day someone will have to re-run wiring.

FWIW...
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Old 09-18-2011
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Thanks for all the replies. The sound proofing makes sense.
My kids came up with what I think is a good idea - I'll run the cables through a few "noodles"......
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Old 09-18-2011
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The main reason for foam inside a mast is to keep it afloat if it gets dropped in the water. Aluminum, having a low specific gravity can be floated pretty easily. Modern foams like polyisocyanurate are "closed cell" foams, not prone to absorption of water but some of the older foams create a problem of saturation and excessive weight exactly where you don't want it. I have thought some strips of foam just slid inside the mast might be a good idea. If you get demasted (dread the thought) it would be nice to have the option of retrieving the mast if it went over to use for some sort of jury rig.
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Old 09-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afrinus View Post
Thanks for all the replies. The sound proofing makes sense.
My kids came up with what I think is a good idea - I'll run the cables through a few "noodles"......
There are tons of uses for noodles in a boat, I used them stuffed under the gunnel of an old dingy as flotation. Also cut 6" lengths from them, run wire through and use it to hold the wire in areas where it's hard to fasten it.
Also work well as feet for a temporary work board to keep from scratching surfaces during project work.
And, if you need it, slit the side and wrap around a board, makes a nice floating table with fiddles.
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Old 09-19-2011
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Someone stuffed foam rubber up the mast to keep the halyards and wires from slapping. Cheap foam rubber is blown from a chemical "pancake batter" and the cheap stuff breaks down from chemical burns in a couple of years. So what you've got there is just garbage, serves no purpose, clean it out and if the halyards are slapping, put in something better.

Floatation uses closed call foam, that stuff was open cell foam.
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