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Removing the end cap from the mast

Debbie

Member
How do you remove the end cap from the mast? And then how do you put it back? It looks like it has pins holding it in place. I have water in my mast and I want to drain it before storing it for winter since it would freeze in there.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Doug's solution is the easiest, but if you want to remove the cap, the little pins can be pushed inward. Just use a nail to push and a hammer. Be gentle and make sure you don't loose the pins once you have the cap off.
If you sail in salty water, it might be a good idea to give the inside of the mast a good rinse.
 

Debbie

Member
Doug's solution is the easiest, but if you want to remove the cap, the little pins can be pushed inward. Just use a nail to push and a hammer. Be gentle and make sure you don't loose the pins once you have the cap off.
If you sail in salty water, it might be a good idea to give the inside of the mast a good rinse.
Then how do I replace the pins to replace the end cap?
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
In reassembly, trying to align the two offset pins can be difficult. Alternatively, tap the cap(s) back in, and use the "mast" holes to guide new drilled holes in the plastic cap(s).

New caps did away with the pins entirely; however, some new caps have resulted in different problems! :rolleyes:

 

Debbie

Member
No need to remove the end cap. Just drill a hole in the middle of the cap. This will allow water to drain whenever you finish sailing.
Also the opening that you place the mast into was filled with water. I’d imaging that a hole in the end cap would allow that water to seep up into the mast...unless that’s what already happening.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Yes, the mast tube will fill with water if you sail in rough weather/waves and the water runs over the deck. If so, getting the water out afterwards is a good idea. I use some tubing and suck it oud; no big deal.
With a hole in the bottom cap, you just rest the mast vertically (away from the hull, obviously); the water will drain out.
 
The mast end cap is not designed to be water tight. Generally you will get water in the mast from regular sailing up to deck level which is the water level in your mast step. (Any more will drain while the boat is upright.) With a small hole in the cap you can drain out the water after your sailing session. One problem with keeping water in the mast is corrosion from the inside which can lead to failure after a period of time.
 

Debbie

Member
The mast end cap is not designed to be water tight. Generally you will get water in the mast from regular sailing up to deck level which is the water level in your mast step. (Any more will drain while the boat is upright.) With a small hole in the cap you can drain out the water after your sailing session. One problem with keeping water in the mast is corrosion from the inside which can lead to failure after a period of time.
So I’m drilling a hole in the end cap at the bottom of the mast- where it goes into the mast step? How big a hole? Does a regular drill work?
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
"Then how do I replace the pins to replace the end cap?"

You might be able to salvage the old pins by easing them out from the inside of the mast with needle nose pliers. If you buy a new cap it should come with new pins, usually taped to the inside of the cap. Drill through the old pin hole with a small diameter drill, usually just a tad smaller diameter than the pin. Then tap in the new pin with a hammer or shove it in with needle nose/vise grip pliers
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Older masts were equipped with two large corks to keep water out of the mast. Lo, over these 50(±) years, the corks will have lost their "fit", and can slide around. Yours may be obstructing the draining of water trapped between them--or what you're hearing is the corks sliding hither and yon! :oops: If there's a weight-shift, then there's definitely water inside. If that's the case, drill a second hole and tilt the mast so the holes are vertical. Trapped water should "glug" out through the lower hole.

If freezing is your primary concern, the mast can be stored indoors or stored flat until sailing season starts again.

When preparing a new mast this summer, I sprayed the interior with waterproof "Pond and Stone" foam, made by Great Stuff, and sealed both caps.

The reason being, is that the mast step can hold about a quart of water, so that's two pounds potential "gain" of unnecessary water-weight inside the mast. That's not helpful when righting from a capsize. (Worse, if it's salt water!)
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
OK, you've definitely got water inside your mast, then. Could it already be ice? ;)

It's not critical where the second hole is in the plastic cap--drill adjacent--but as far away as practical. If this doesn't work, the cap will have to be removed in order to solve this mystery.

Could this new water have "revitalized" the corks' water-holding ability, holding the water inside? :confused:
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
How could drilling a second hole help when one hole did not work? The mast is obviously not air or water tight, so a second hole will not help matters.

It sound like there might be cork in there and the water has made its way past the cork. The only solution to that would be to take off the cap and somehow get the cork out so the trapped water can be released.
 

Charles Howard

Active Member
Just took a mast cap off.. Small nail to tap pins out for the aluminum. Removed cap , pry with small screw driver and remove cork. Took pins out of plastic cap. Put the cap back in , took small drill and ran through the existing aluminum hole and through plastic. Put pins in. Few minutes work. I already had a hole in the cap for drain.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I suppose if you like drilling holes you could drill a hole in the top cap also.

Or put a wet vac on the first hole and see if it will draw water out.

If we were working on that mast, our next step would be to remove a cap, maybe the top cap next.
 

Debbie

Member
Stick a long stiff wire (from a coat hanger or similar) into the hole to see if there is an obstruction, like L&VW surmised.
I drilled the hole larger and the drill bit was filled with cork so that is what is obstructing the water. I’m still not confident that I can get the pins out or back in if I attempt to remove the end cap. Will it damage the mast to leave the water in?
 

Debbie

Member
I suppose if you like drilling holes you could drill a hole in the top cap also.

Or put a wet vac on the first hole and see if it will draw water out.

If we were working on that mast, our next step would be to remove a cap, maybe the top cap next.
I did try a wet vacuum. It sounds like there is less water in there now. Just a bit which I’m hoping will be ok.
 

Debbie

Member
I suppose if you like drilling holes you could drill a hole in the top cap also.

Or put a wet vac on the first hole and see if it will draw water out.

If we were working on that mast, our next step would be to remove a cap, maybe the top cap next.
I am not sure how to get the pins in or out to remove the end caps. I used a wet vac and there is a small amount of water still in there. Will that damage the mast with freezing?
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I am not sure how to get the pins in or out to remove the end caps. I used a wet vac and there is a small amount of water still in there. Will that damage the mast with freezing?
There is advice above on how to do that. If you don’t, freezing water won’t affect the mast - it’s made of strong aluminum. If it’s salt water it would be good to get it out due to corrosion potential.
 
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