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Mast Projects

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Mast Projects - John Martin

 It is never easy to work on mast projects, while the mast is rigged and vertical, on the boat.  It takes a capable person willing to ride the Bosun’s seat up the mast, two or three hearty souls to crank the winch, a couple of people standing on the dock, looking up, and some beer to steady the nerves.  We always seem to postpone ‘changing the anchor light bulb’ until next month.  Consider just dropping the mast and doing several mast project.  Boat yard rates are much cheaper for just a mast and no boat.  If launching a boat, you may just want to leave the mast in the boat-yard for a couple of weeks to complete important mast projects.  The following is a list of projects that can be easily accomplished while the mast is horizontal, on saw horses, in the boat yard.

Plan the project well in advance.

Purchase the needed parts and materials well in advance.

Line up tools well in advance.

Line up able-bodied help well in advance.


Make an inspection of the mast and then consider the following for any mast project:


·        Clean

·        Repair

·        Replace

·        Remove

·        Add

·        Install New


Mast Projects Check List


Inspect and clean all light sockets

·        Anchor light

·        Fore deck light

·        Steaming light

·        Spreader lights


Replace light lens


Change all light bulb and record bulb information


Change from incandescent bulbs to LED


Inspect internal wiring


Add noise stopper to internal wiring


Install internal wire chase


Leave messenger line for future work


VHF antenna and VHF coax


TV antenna and TV coax


Radar antenna and coax


Ham radio antenna and coax


Anemometer and other masthead electronics


Wind vane


Light for wind vane (for sailing at night)


Cover exposed wires with UV protection


Masthead Sheaves


Mast blocks


Mast fittings & tangs & spreaders


Replace spreader boots


Add a halyard organizer on deck at base of mast


Install a pad eye on the mast at base of mast


Install a pad eye on the mast at top of mast


Trace a cross-section of the mast base


Measure mast length


Photograph all sides of masthead (put ruler in each photo)


Photograph other mast areas


Photograph all fittings


Install folding mast-steps near mast head (3’ – 4’ from mast head)



·        Flag halyard

·        Spare halyard

·        Spin Halyard

·        Main halyards

·        Jib halyard

·        Other halyards


Check deck area for water damage, below mast step


Add track/fittings for spinnaker pole


Install lazy-jacks


The mast it self – Clean, wax, repair


Sail track – clean and lubricate



SSC/JM/Atlanta/Sept 2012