How critical are mast shims to keeping the mast on center once all the rigging is properly tuned?
I'm asking because all but a couple of the existing shims currently around the mast are loose to the touch and can be easily slid around. The only reason they're not falling out is because they have an L shaped lip on the top of each shim that keeps them from falling down.
There is currently a thick steel plate at the bottom of the mast that's screwed into the deck from above, (where turning blocks are attached). And there are stainless steel 1"x12"'ish brackets on the port and starboard sides of the mast screwed into that plate that seem to keep the mast centered.
My plan is to fill the gap with Spartite
for a water tight seal. But will I need to get new shims that are tighter than the existing ones before I do that. Or can I just get rid of the shims altogether?
If they are necessary... Can I replace them with rubber shims that won't be subject to contraction and expansion from moisture, like the one's I found here at RigRite