Duct tape on mast bottom

Thread starter #1
I read that you should wrap the bottom of the mast as well as the area where the mast exits the deck in order to give the mast a snug fit and to keep it from trying to rotate. Does anyone do this and does it seem to help?

Yes, I wrap the base, just above the base cap, and at the point the mast exits the mast well. Don't use Duct tape, it just gets messy :p , same for black electrical tape. I use white electrical tape for all tape marks on the mast and spars (goose neck positions on the lower spar, halyard positions on the upper). The white holds up much better than the black (which gets gooey and gets all over everything (spar, sail, hands :mad: ). The white is on its third season without replacement :) , is not gooey or brittle and only shows a little wear on the mast. Don't make the mast too tight, just snug, yet easy to remove. One extra wrap can be too tight. The extra friction of the tape will minimize rotation. Good Luck
I'm no expert but wrapping the mast base with Teflon would be alot like wrapping it with wet noodles. Teflon tape has no stick to it (I may be missing something here) And tyring to stop the rotation is going to cause problems up the mast later on. I thought the whole reason for the mast cleat was to help with the mast rotation? (and compression
). The electric (white tape) is the way to go.
I got this stuff from APS called glide tape or something like that. It is from Japan. It has japanese writing all over the box. I think it is for sliding drawers or something similar. Anyways, it is thick and works great. I wrap some electrical tape first and then one wrap of the glide tape.

I am with Deimel on this one that you do not want to prevent rotation of the mast, just keep it from bouncing around in the step.

Whatever you do....NO DUCT TAPE. unless you are going with the old geezer look from the other thread.
Tim and Jsdeimel,

I agree with both of you about not preventing rotation, just reduceing wobble/play in the well. And no duct/black electric tape. The drawer slide tape has been mentioned in previous posts as an alternative wrap (I forgot to mention it in my last post) and is available from places like Woodworkers Supply and like Tim says, APS.

The mast cleat is also a good idea (I use one). It makes raising the sail easier and reduces the down force of the mast in the bottom of the well. Use the halyard tail to secure the mast to the boat (and as a vang if desired).

Also make sure your bottom cap is in place and secure. Even though the mast only rotates a few degrees, without a cap, the mast will act like a hole saw and start cutting into the mast base


Upside down?
Staff member
I don't get it. The mast can't rotate; it's kept in place by the halyard which runs through the mast cap. What am I missing?

Making a tight fit between the mast and the mast step sounds like a good idea though, assuming it's class legal.

The mast does rotate, just a few degrees. There is enough slack/stretch/give in the halyard no matter how tight you pull it or what no/low stretch line/rope you use. Even without a mast cleat, the mast will rotate. The tape is used as a filler to minimize wobble in any direction, but not rotation. See rule:

3.5.7 Tape, plastic or similar material may be used in the following locations:

1. To fill the gap between the mast and the mast step.
2. On the upper spar to keep the halyard from slipping.
3. On the boom in the area where the gooseneck is attached.
4. On the gooseneck or mast to prevent chafing between these parts.

The white electric or drawer slide tape are both good choices to fill the gap in the mast step. Keeping the step and mast clean and free of dirt and sand will help prevent wear in the step from the rotation of the mast. I hope I have cleared up your confusion.
As a matter of fact I added the mast cleat mainly because of the mast rotation. Since I carry my sail low to the deck the halyard strech you get when the mast rotates would drop the front and I would get the classic 1/2 moon gouge across the deck. Using the mast cleat allows the mast to rotate without affecting the halyard and keeping the boom off the deck.


Upside down?
Staff member
Good posts (thanks supercub and mike4947). I have always tied the halyard to the deck (the old-fashioned way) and wasn't thinking about the cleat on the mast. More importantly, does a 'rotating' mast offer any advantages when racing?

BTW, some Laserites (am I allowed to use the name of that 'other' boat on this forum?) tape their lower mast section to prevent wear on the mast step and to improve the rake of the mast (at least that's what I read).
The Most Noticeable Effect I Notice Is Down Wind On Light Air The Mast Does Not Wobble As Much When A Wave Hits You And You Are Able To Keep The Air In Your Sail. And Yes Teflon Tape Is What Most Of The Top Sailors Use. But That Is Just A Personal Choise For You To Make Of The Many Product Out There.
3.5.9 One cleat of any type may be installed on the mast not more than four (4’) feet from the base, for cleating the line used to tie the ‘Jens Rig’ (Ref. Rule 3.7.3). It may also be used to cleat the halyard. If utilized, there must be some means to securely attach the rig to the hull using the end of the halyard.
That's the rule and you will want to have it 90degs to the hole in the mast cap.
Thanks for the info. I know I'm veering off subject here, but ideally, which way should the mast cap hole be pointing? Port and starboard or fore and aft or somewhere in between?


Upside down?
Staff member
Trout said:
Thanks for the info. I know I'm veering off subject here, but ideally, which way should the mast cap hole be pointing? Port and starboard or fore and aft or somewhere in between?
Port and starboard.