Back in white

What a relief to get some paint back on the mast! All those sail track screw holes were tapped, fairing done, and some epoxy primer rolled on.

Then we made a composite base for a steel pad eye just below the upper spreader as the terminal for the check stays, part of the running backstay system. After the base cured it got some carbon exterior reinforcement to maintain proper position.

Late today the spreaders were bonded back on and tomorrow they’ll get carbon tape reinforcement.

The surface looks good just in primer, so we’re eager for final paint during the week. Note to the future: the mast surface shows some minor flat spots / deviations. This is due to six added layers of hand layup (vs the original structure’s vac bagging) and overlapping fabrics. We chose not to add the cosmetic-only fairing weight it would have taken for a full-smooth finish.

And since we’ve gone this far with the mast, we decided to tackle an old concern. The mast currently has a 1″ stainless steel pin sticking out the bottom. This pivot-pin is received on deck in a stainless steel box with a delrin cylinder machined out the same size as the pin. The mast would rotate freely around the pin but could not tilt in any direction. The mast builder is also the designer of the Contour 34 tri, and we saw first hand on that boat how this constrained pin had busted the SS deck box welds. So we want to replace the system with a steel ball mounted on the deck and a matching cup inside the foot of the mast. Here are the new parts from Skateaway Design that need to get mounted.

The SS cup will get bolted to a horizontal plate and somehow attached to the mast walls. The white delrin slides up in to the SS cup.
Then the new trailer hitch ball needs to get bolted to the deck plate box. Here it’s just resting on top.

I think we can weld a small plate on top of the box to receive the ball, and drill a large hole on the bottom of the box for access to the big nut that secured the hitch ball to the base box.
We’ll show you the hard part – securing the cup inside the mast – once the current pin gear is disassembled (after we’re done paint prepping with the “rotisserie” function of that pivot pin).

If anyone wants to debate how to secure that cup inside the mast, send your thoughts!


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