Why painted tips on wood masts? - SailNet Community

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Old 03-31-2004
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Why painted tips on wood masts?

Anyone know the technical/traditional reason why the top few feet of wood masts were painted white? Is there an actual proportion or percentage of mast length to be painted?

Just wondering.

Thanks

Paul G.
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Old 03-31-2004
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Why painted tips on wood masts?

The practice of painting the upper portion of the mast is a throw back to gaff rigger days. On a gaff rig, the gaff and parrall beads ride on the lower portions of the mast and would abrade through any paint that was there, and so this portion of the mast was historically covered with various mixtures that served to seal and lube the mast. The upper portion of the mast was typically painted to protect it from the weather. On a gaffer the portion of the mast that would be painted would therefore be roughly 20%-25% of the length of the mast. I know of no rule for Bermuda rigs.

Jeff
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Old 04-03-2004
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Why painted tips on wood masts?

Jeff,

Thanks for the response! That is interesting. I am building new masts for our boat and wondered if it would br appropriate to paint any parts of the new masts .

Paul G
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