The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bare Aluminum Mast

The time has come to strip the flaking paint from the mast - all 51 feet of it - while the mast is up!

That's why I bought a Top Climber. It really works, but I still need a bit of practice before I'm as fast as this guy.

I had already scraped the bottom as far as I could reach. Now I actually got into the Top Climber for about an hour and scraped to the lower spreaders. One third down two thirds to go. I'll try not to forget the camera next time. And what a mess of paint flakes all over the deck.

flaking paint on mast
Stairway to heaven.
I've decided to just leave it ugly. I'll take ugly over the hassle of unstepping it, painting it and stepping it again. That's what I did in 2007, and it was absolutely no fun, a waste of time and expensive. Maybe I'll paint it properly, or have a professional do it, when the time comes to downsize.

For those not familiar with aluminum and paint, if paint starts to bubble and flake and you don't scrape it, the water trapped between the paint and the aluminum will begin to cause corrosion and pitting.

Changing the topic, we now have a beach and a drydock at the marina. This is what happens when storm after storm dump tons of sand into your pool.

marina dredging needed
That's pretty shallow, I'd say.
marina beach

I've also started contributing to Cruising Wiki. I've almost completed the section about Peniche.


  1. Nice post, nice links... nice beach!! One hellava winter, eh. Not over yet either.
    And now you got me fretting about my mast. I haven't given it a look-about for weeks even though it's laid down right next to my boat.
    Top climber "looks" easy. What's your say. I prefer a mast step solution, getting up in a flash, but don't like the idea of riddling my already riddled stick with holes. Then again I've only been up once and all I did was hang on, shitless, taking 10min to tie a bowline upside-down (the bowline). I'm considering playing with rope ratlines to break the ice.

    1. Thanks. As for the weather we're supposed to get 20º next week and no rain until then. Perfect for finishing the mast.
      I'm not too keen about mast steps: more holes and windage, and dangerous because you need your hands to hold on - how are going to work if you're holding on to the mast? They're OK if you climb up in a busun's chair and somebody below keeps the halyard line snug. That way, if you slip you're in the chair, and you can sit and work with both hands.
      The best solution, since you take the mast down every year, is to never climb the mast.