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Water in Mast Question

WildRover

New Member
I just purchased my new to me sunfish and I have a question after taking it out for my first time. There is water inside the mast and I can't get it to drain by holding it up or flipped. I assume that I need to drain it to limit corrosion. Can I pop the cap off at either points on the mast? If that's not the case, would drilling a small hole in the bottom of the mast cap work?
 
I would like to know how the water entered the mast in the first place. You could probably do an air test after the mast is drained to locate the problem.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
I would like to know how the water entered the mast in the first place. You could probably do an air test after the mast is drained to locate the problem.
At least two ways:
1. If the bottom cap is not totally waterproof, the mast will fill if water accumulates in the tube. The latter will happen if it's windy and/or you are sailing in waves.
2. A lengthy capsize may get water into your mast because the mast cap or bottom may not be waterproof. A mast cleat provides another potential entry point unless it's sealed really well.

As Breeze Bender mentioned, if you do drill a hole (nothing particularly wrong with that), leave it open.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I second everything Wavedancer said. And it’s hard or impossible to seal the base cap. Silicone won’t do the trick for long, if at all.
 

WildRover

New Member
Thanks for all the responses. I drilled the hole and will leave it open so it can drain in the future. My only concern is the mast will eventually corrode from all the saltwater.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
'All depends on how you store your Sunfish--and you're right to be concerned. :oops:

If your Sunfish sits upright, that hole will allow saltwater in from a mast step that (desireably) 'holds water'.

According to my annoying engineer/sailor/friend expert--"silicone-sealer" is not suitable for sealing if "left wet".

Things to try:

Try CRC's webpage for a corrosion inhibiter, pop both caps, rinse, dry, spray, and use an automotive sealer "against alcohol, fuels, and water" (Loctite, Pliobond, Permatex) to seal both caps. I've had good luck with Shoe-Goo in economically bonding different materials.

A simple coating inside the mast with a liquid oil-based paint, like Rustoleum, might be advisable. (Corrosion that starts inside can penetrate invisibly through to the outside)! :eek: That coating of Rustoleum paint should bring to a halt any interior corrosion that has already started.

Got Nitrogen? Helium?

;)
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
L and VW, the idea is to drain the mast after each sail, not let the mast sit there full of water.

If anyone finds a sealant that is proven to work when sailing in wind and waves for more than a sail or three, pls let us know.
 

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
MHO: Drill a hole in the bottom of masrt cap. Countersink the hole to fit a small flat head screw (brass or stainless.) If tyhere is water in ther mast, remove the screw and blast in a little air from a bilke bump or a can-of-air like you might use on a computer keyboard. Stand the mast up and the water will exit quickly from the bottom cap,

Alan Glos
 

WildRover

New Member
Again, all the advice is much appreciated. I got out on the water again today and drained the mast. I'm heading out now to try my best to rinse it with freshwater. Unfortunately, I think I'll have to drill a larger hole to be effective.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
We have drilled drain holes before, in some cases opening up a small corrosion pinhole.

You'll want to keep an eye on where the bronze gooseneck touches the aluminum spar, maybe put a piece of electrical or gaff tape in between to reduce that dissimilar metal contact point.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
L&VW, the idea is to drain the mast after each sail, not let the mast sit there full of water.

If anyone finds a sealant that is proven to work when sailing in wind and waves for more than a sail or three, pls let us know.
Skip the sealant... :eek:

Drill two holes in the bottom cap, loop a cable-tie for a grip, and remove the cap for each rinse... :)
 
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