Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Thanked 195 Times in 159 Posts
Rep Power: 10
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.