Mast top coats of paint finished (for now)

Today was beautiful weather and we were able to get the last coat of paint on both masts (at least for the moment) m

We are not in a rush now to get the masts up. There is nothing to be gained by putting them up in the boatyard for the winter.

We still have a lot to do anyway in terms of chainplates, fittings on the masts, dyneema standing rigging, wiring, lights, wind sensor, aerials, running rigging. None of this will be improved by 6 months of autumn, winter and spring outside in the boatyard.

So most of these jobs can wait until the couple of months before we launch. Until then we can do a lot of preparation (such as mast tangs and splicing) plus ordering everything we will need.

Mast top coat 1

Today has been less certain when it comes to rain than we had hoped.

However, this morning we sanded the masts with 400 grit, then washed and dried them.

In the end we waited until 3pm for painting in the hope of more certainty about it staying dry.

This time rollers are not recommended (or at least need to be followed by a brush). So we went for brushes only.

We changed the way of supporting the masts so that they are “balanced” on the sail track with as few points of contact as possible. We then painted everything else. When it comes to the 2nd coat we will rotate them 180 degrees and so the areas where they are supported will all get one coat. This avoids a long wait between painting sides and reduced the chances of resting the mast on bits that are not fully cured.

One tin is supposed to be enough, it certainly didn’t feel that it would go far enough as we were painting the main mast, but in fact it was plenty for both masts (we are going to get extra paint for the spreaders and mizzen boom all of which we can do in the garage at home).

The results:

Despite the name of the International Paint we are not expecting Perfection in terms of finish 🙂 However, they should be good from a distance and certainly better than they were before we started. Of most importance to us is that we have dealt with all the corrosion and should have a well protected mast for years to come (we can work on any small areas where there are problems over coming years to ensure that the protection lasts).

Should be another part of the boat that will outlast us 🙂 That has to be good for sustainability 🙂

End of holiday mast painting race

Tuesday was the last day of our holiday and so was always going to be busy packing up all the tools and materials that we have been using for just over two weeks.

However, our biggest decision and challenge was where do go next with the painting of our masts.

By Tuesday morning the 2nd coat of two part epoxy primer was nicely cured. It was ready for over-coating although that could wait for upto 6 months. The problem was that this left 1 coat of undercoat and 2 coats of topcoat still to do. These have stricter over-coating times of roughly between 20 hours and 3 days. We figured that finding 3 or 4 days in a row when we could be at the boat with dry weather in the next 6 months was next to impossible (and as temperatures drop the time to be able to over-coat increases).

So after checking the forecast constantly we decided to paint the undercoat on Tuesday hoping that we could come for Friday and Saturday with good enough weather to put on the topcoats.

An extra challenge has been to find the best way to support the masts while painting to give good access and be able to also paint the areas where the supports are.

So Tuesday started with sanding the primer (and filler that had been put on between the primer coats) with 120 grit paper. Then with the masts on their sides we painted the first side before lunch. Then back to packing up.

Eventually we decided the paint was dry enough to rotate the masts and paint the second side. That painting started at about 6.30pm.

We eventually left to go home well after 8pm, which was much later than we wanted (and then the journey was delayed by lots of road works). We decided to buy some sandwiches from a garage on the way rather than taking longer with fish and chips, however, the first two garages we stopped at had completely sold out. Got home just before 11pm.

Still the masts looked good 🙂

The forecast had been a 10% chance of rain so we took a chance in the way we loaded the trailer for home.

As usual a 10% of chance of rain in Beaumaris means it will be dry. However, we got home to a 10% chance of rain which in Manchester means it will rain and it did. Fortunately not too much and the wood protected the tools 🙂

All in all a productive and enjoyable summer holiday. We had time with family, time on the water and have made lots of actual progress on the bow roller, masts, dyneema rigging and starboard settee/sea berth plus lots of sorting out plans for the foredeck, forecabin, batteries, water tanks and more.

More mast progress, filling and primer

Jane has now filled all the areas of the main and mizzen masts where we have removed corrosion.

The plan is to sand the filler and then put the 2 part undercoat on tomorrow.

Meanwhile I removed all the fittings from the mizzen boom (we have a new main boom), sanded and then painted the 2 part epoxy primer onto the mizzen boom and mizzen spreaders.

Now just some tidying up, wash the dinghy and rest before our last day here for this holiday.

We made it to Puffin Island

We used the excuse of wanting the mast epoxy primer to full cure before using the filler to go out in the Dinghy again.

So a very, very early start (alarms off at 7:30am and straight out as soon as we could to catch the falling tide out to Puffin Island. We bumped into both the SeaCoast Safari and Starida teams getting ready for a busy day doing tours from Beaumaris to Puffin Island and they thought we were made 🙂

This time I found a new technique which helps a lot with the longer walk with the Dinghy at low tide. I tied the two ePropulsion batteries to the very end of the tubes. This brought their weight well behind the axles and made the front much lighter to lift.

Notice the coffee, essential for an early start.

Some pics of the ride out:

Yes we saw a seal 🙂 He swam around us a few times, having a good look.

We managed to land on a very rocky beach just past the lighthouse. We got the dinghy well up using the wheels, then we went to find the Pilot House Cafe where we had a fantastic and huuuge brunch, sitting outside in the sun with a view towards Conwy 🙂 Excellent, highly recommended.

On the trip out I ran the trial version of Navionics on my phone and also OpenCPN on my tablet (with the oeSENC
OpenCPN Encrypted System Electronical Nautical Charts for the UK from o-charts). Navionics is easier to use, but is limited to phones and tablets with communication to dedicated chart plotters. However, our plan is to run our main navigation on a Raspberry Pi and for that OpenCPN is the only option I’ve found so far. Been doing some playing and while the Android version of OpenCPN shows signs of not being fully adapted to mobile sizes and touch screens the actual display is good (especially as the tablet should be a mobile duplicate screen rather than the main navigation system).

After a rest on the beach to check that the tide would be with us all the way back we set off. Getting off the beach was the trickiest task of the trip. We got some water over the bow because we left the wheels on a bit too close to the waters edge (so dipping the bow down). Despite having 30 minutes of battery left we switched to the second one and opened the throttle to 600watts for most of the trip back (and still had loads left when we got back), which was in glorious sunshine.

After all that work we needed a nap 🙂 Therefore we didn’t get any boat jobs done (other than ordering some mast parts off ebay for a huge saving over new items). We have also made a tentative, weather permitting plan for the filler, undercoat and 2 top coats (the challenge being much shorter maximum overcoating times).

So a lovely day 🙂

Gentle mast priming

After getting exhausted yesterday with the epic sand and first coat of epoxy primer on both masts (see Masts are epoxy primed!) today needed to be a lot more gentle.

So we got up late, with plans for some nice brunch, but by the time it gets to 1pm is it really brunch? Anyway fried eggs in harvester baps from the Beaumaris bakery was very nice to eat in the cockpit on a beautiful day.

Then we added the second coat of epoxy primer. We had a long break after painting the first side of both masts so that it would be nice and dry when we turned them over for the second side. That meant time for a late afternoon nap 😊

Very pleased with the results. We are going to give this a bit extra time to cure and get really hard before we do anything else to them. This few days of work has transformed how our masts look and how we feel about them. We have solid confidence that we caught the corrosion in time and that even if there are patches where our technique with the epoxy primer (and preparation) isn’t perfect we can tackle them in small bits.

While this has added a whole load of extra work to what we had planned there is now no reason why these masts shouldn’t give decades of reliable service. That is definitely a win for sustainability 😀

Masts are epoxy primed!

Today has been long and hard work. However, we have managed to sand/grind, wash, clean with acetone and then paint with Epoxy Primer both our masts.

Part of the challenge is that for the primer to stick to aluminium you have to paint very quickly after sanding. At least within 8 hours/the same day. With the amount of sanding preparation our main mast (in particular) needed this was a big ask.

It took a while to find the best technique. It isn’t always obvious how deep a scratch/corrosion pit goes. So I found it best to just tackle the worst with the grinder (using a ScotchBrite pad to avoid metal contamination). Then I sanded using the orbital sander (by keeping one battery on charge while using the other I was able to work continuously). I used 120 grit with with occasional 80 and 240. For any marks that didn’t disappear reasonably quickly I switched back to the grinder.

For some reason the starboard side of the mainsail track was much worse than the port side with lots of deep scratches. There were also lots of marks from shackles that must have been allowed to bang the past in several concentrated areas.

Jane hand sanded all the tricky areas like the masthead, tracks etc.

After sanding we washed the debris off with water and a sponge. Fortunately it was still very hot an sunny at that point (about 4:30pm) so it dried off really quickly.

Then a quick clean with Acetone, judging by the cloths we used for that it was well worth doing.

Next came the painting. International Paints give you a 10 minute rest once the paint is all stirred, mixed and then stirred again), this was very welcome 🙂

Fortunately, even by the time we were finishing painting at about 7:00pm it was still warm enough for the first parts to be touch dry, so we were able to rotate the masts and paint the parts that they had been resting on.

Here are a few photos of the progress through the day.

For most of the day we didn’t really think we would get this far. But once you start you are pretty much committed or lots of the sanding will be wasted if the Aluminium is left long enough to oxidise. We had a very late lunch as Jane had to make an emergency run to Toolstation for more sandpaper, by then it didn’t feel like we had more than about 1/2 the main mast sanded.

Anyway, this feels like a huge milestone completed. There were a number of places where we felt that we had caught corrosion just in time, much longer and we would have had corrosion holes in the masts and a much bigger task.

Tomorrow, epoxy filling and then 2nd coat of primer (hopefully).

Mast preparation continued

With a beautiful day we had a nice slow morning with family and then got back to preparing our main and mizzen masts for painting (well we also washed the dinghy and equipment).

We now have all the wiring out of the main mast.

We have put messenger lines in for them all.

We have removed both winches (a single speed Lewmar 8 and a double speed Lewmar 16, neither self tailing) and all other fittings showing any corrosion.

I was a bit annoyed by the winch mounts. The winches has been fitted with bolts that were too long and so instead of beinfg simply bolted to the winch mount some of them has gone into the mast itself. That has caused more corrosion and extra holes.

So everything is off and the masts have had a wash including a wash of the inside with a hose.

We have decided we don’t have to do a perfect job immediately, so we have not removed anything that we still need and that isn’t showing any corrosion eg spreader roots, spinnaker pole track. Similarly we have decided not to remove winches and cleats from the mizzen (upgrades can come later).

Tomorrow, is clean with acetone, sand, clean and get a coat of primer on. Then we can fill holes we don’t need to reuse with thickened epoxy, then we can sand and clean before a 2nd coat of primer. That then buys us some time for the rest of the work as the aluminium won’t be able to oxidise.

Another task has been looking at all the hardware we need to fit to the masts.

We are now looking at re-purposing the existing Lewmar 16ST for our mainsail reefing. Then 2 Harken 20ST for the halyards. If we can find something suitable secondhand then we will go for that instead.

We are only going to fit 3 actual halyards and supporting hardware at the moment (Yankee or Genoa, Staysail, Main) but with messenger lines for 2nd headsail, trysail and spinnaker.

We are also going to upgrade from cleats to Rope Constrictors for these halyards, skipping all the generations of clutches. Rope Constrictors are about twice the price of a standard clutch but they don’t damage the Halyard at all. But a replacement Halyard is about three times the extra cost. We have found 2 sources Ronstan and Cousin Trestec.

We are going to replace the tired halyard exit sheeves with the newer, simpler plates (and go from 2 to 5 of them so we have support for all the halyards we will ever need.

We have decided to simplify the lighting. We don’t have a simple way to fit lights to the spreaders and get the cables into the conduit at the front of the mast. That means keeping the deck light and the steaming light on the mast Deck light is lower than the spreaders, steaming light is above. However, it looks even simpler to get a combination LED steaming and deck light. One less cable to run up the mast.

Anyway, painting and filling is the first priority. All the fittings can wait for a while.


In honour of visitors (always a good incentive to sort things out) we have done a whole lot of tidying up and sorting out.

So we no longer have piles of old bolts and screws in the cockpit and we can see what is on the chart table (we can even see the chart table!)

Only real forward progress was to add a shelf under the galley counter. More progress there can wait until winter.