Thursday, January 31, 2013

REFIT Plan: Mast & Paint Project

This is a post to show what I plan to do with a mast refit. I have some worn areas on my mast that are worn enough to show the aluminum and old manufacturer stickers that are faded and cracked. I'm looking at refinishing the mast similar to how Drake did in this video below.

Basically, the steps he used (mentioned in the video) were:
  • removed all hardware
  • Sanded down to bare aluminum
  • scrubbed it with Ajax and scotchbrite
  • bathed it in alumiprep
  • bathed it in alodine
  • painted with zinc chromate primer
  • painted 5 coats of Awl-Grip 501 primer (alternative currently available: 545)
  • sanded
  • painted 3 coats of Awl-Grip Awl-Craft 2000 paint
While it looks like Drake painted his mast white, I'm looking at doing something different. I'm thinking of painting the mast yellow. Having a yellow mast would definitely allow the boat to stand out if ever at an anchorage. I've seen pictures of other boats (including another Nor'sea) with a yellow mast and I like how it looks. I found this link with info that looks helpful for this process.

I believe there may be rivets that need replacing. I'm also thinking to look over all the mast hardware to see if any need replacing. The ends of the spreaders seem to be degrading and I will look into whether they can be fixed/replaced, which I might look into when I put the boat in the water this year. I wonder if it's possible to have spreader ends with a spring loaded lock to keep the rigging in place. Anyone know?

Here's a picture of one of them, they both look the same.

An addition to the mast I'm considering is to put a mount on the mast for a new radar head. Scanstrut is the main company I found that have mast mounts that would work.

I want to have the hull, waterline and bottom painted differently. For the topsides I'm looking at a dark red like Awl-Grip's "Claret", with a "Federal Yellow" waterline and a black bottom. Then the yellow mast would match the waterline.

This picture I found on an ad on Yacht World show the colors I'm looking at. This burgundy color is my favorite color.

Again, this refit I'm looking to START sometime around 2015. I'll be pretty busy along the way.


  1. I believe you're talking about seizing, so if you do a web search on "spreader seizing" (with and without the word wire you'll get some opinions. It looks like its valuable for the initial rigging, but once the mast is stepped and rig is tuned, the shrouds should be held tight by tension.

    Ben Eriksen has a blog post on mast painting somewhere. I'll link the photo in a separate post. Whenever I switch pages I seem to lose everything I've typed.

    1. Unfortunately, I don't have a good picture of the spreader tips. To me, they look like they're worn/corroded. I've seen info on seizing wire but wondered about replacing them with a spring loaded catch, if it exists, to keep the shroud on the tip track. Could this cause the rigging to have too much play when the mast is up, even if everything is tight?

      Once I go back to the boat again, I'll take a picture of the tip and add it to this post.

    2. I added a picture of the spreader tip. Hopefully this gives an idea of what I was talking about. To me it doesn't look great but I'm sure it's still usable just fine.

    3. Hi Dan,

      Did you have spreader boots on there? That really accelerates the corrosion. The older Nor'seas had round spreader tubes. I am not sure when they went to the aerodynamic profile ones. I picked up a pair of airfoil shaped spreaders for $75 used, but I need to find spreader sockets or brackets that will work.

      You can find spreader extrusions, bases and tips at places like rigrite Unfortunately, there is a lot of poking around because stuff is organized by manufacturer:

      if you can get the spreader tip out of the extrusion, you can probably find one to replace it, like these for example:

      2) It looks like you have a couple of steps out of order from the video. He alodines THEN alumapreps.

    4. I've seen rigrite and need to take measurements to see what would work for spreader tips. I saw a faded sticker saying it is a Forespar mast. There are spreader boots on the boat. Since I bought the boat with the mast down, I'm assuming they were used before.

  2. Dan
    Your spreader end looks structurally sound. I think you will be happy with them after you complete brushing/sanding/prepping and painting.

    You really should use the SS rigging wire on the spreader ends. When a sea is running and you are taking a pounding or when you are underway on the engine with no sails filled and wakes are giving you a beating the wire will keep the rigging in the spreader end. The corrosion due to dissimilar metals (SS and Al) can be reduced by spraying the ends with a lanolin based lubricant.

    I don't know of any spring tensioning system for keeping rigging in the spreader end groove but if one existed you would need to ensure there was no possibility of it tearing your sails. Seizing wire wrapped liberally with sail tape is the system the pro riggers use in the yard I launch at.

    Good luck