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Thread: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

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    Default Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Whats the collective wisdom on materials and methods of attachment for these? Any scar tissue, experience or clever ideas?

    Im at the stage where I need to finalize this on my new build, a small yawl. The boat will live on a trailer when mot in the water actively sailing, so I am looking for some method that wont be too tedious to secure the boot at the deck. I have already built and glued on collars at the deck (main and mizzen), for a boot to tuck under/tie on under the lip of the collar. What have people done to fasten the boot at the mast? What about under the collar lip? I was considering a drawstring does this actually work? What materials have people used?
    Alex

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    I used some plastic coated cloth, PVC or vinyl, sewed up into a cone with a drawstring in the hem around the bottom. The mast collar had a decent lip on it for the drawstring to sit under.
    The top end of the cone was was permanently mounted on the mast, cant remember if i used a couple of really big cable ties or just lashed it. There may have been a bit of sealant squirted in before pulling it up tight too.
    Round alloy tube mast on a cabin Pathfinder fwiw. It never leaked, and God knows we had some torrential rain one multi day trip.
    Untying the drawstring to extract the mast after a few days could be a pain, especially if it was cinched up tight. I'd probably use one of those spring loaded plastic cord lock goobers (like on a parka hood) instead of a knot, if I was doing it again.

    Pete
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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Hi Alex,
    I glued up a cone shaped sleeve out of a tire inner tube which was slipped up the mast from the heel before stepping. It had a fairly tight fit on the mast and conformed to it's profile.
    After stepping, the bottom edge was then stretched over the deck collar, sealant was applied around the top edge for good measure providing a waterproof seal.
    Another sleeve made from some canvas lookalike material, of which the name escapes me, was also slipped up the mast at the same time as the rubber one.
    Once the rubber sleeve was in place, the canvas boot was pulled down over the top to protect it from the UV and give the whole thing a bit of a traditional look.
    The canvas boot was lashed at the top and the bottom has an adjustable shock cord sewn into a hem to hold it into the groove of the collar.
    FullSizeRender (59).jpg

    It has never leaked.

    Cheers,
    Mike.
    Focus on the effort not the outcome.

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by epoxyboy View Post
    I used some plastic coated cloth, PVC or vinyl, sewed up into a cone with a drawstring in the hem around the bottom. The mast collar had a decent lip on it for the drawstring to sit under.
    The top end of the cone was was permanently mounted on the mast, cant remember if i used a couple of really big cable ties or just lashed it. There may have been a bit of sealant squirted in before pulling it up tight too.
    Round alloy tube mast on a cabin Pathfinder fwiw. It never leaked, and God knows we had some torrential rain one multi day trip.
    Untying the drawstring to extract the mast after a few days could be a pain, especially if it was cinched up tight. I'd probably use one of those spring loaded plastic cord lock goobers (like on a parka hood) instead of a knot, if I was doing it again.

    Pete
    Pete, thanks for chiming in. Your setup sounds very much like what I had in mind. My mast collars (both main and mizzen) have decent lips, as you note. Glad to hear that it works. Just have to find some suitable cloth.
    Alex

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1902 View Post
    Hi Alex,
    I glued up a cone shaped sleeve out of a tire inner tube which was slipped up the mast from the heel before stepping. It had a fairly tight fit on the mast and conformed to it's profile.
    After stepping, the bottom edge was then stretched over the deck collar, sealant was applied around the top edge for good measure providing a waterproof seal.
    Another sleeve made from some canvas lookalike material, of which the name escapes me, was also slipped up the mast at the same time as the rubber one.
    Once the rubber sleeve was in place, the canvas boot was pulled down over the top to protect it from the UV and give the whole thing a bit of a traditional look.
    The canvas boot was lashed at the top and the bottom has an adjustable shock cord sewn into a hem to hold it into the groove of the collar.
    FullSizeRender (59).jpg

    It has never leaked.

    Cheers,
    Mike.
    Mike,

    Thanks for the explanation and the picture. Double boot system hadn't occurred to me. The canvas probably stops most of the water and the rubber boot stops what gets past it. Kind of like a rain screen wall on a building.

    Just to be clear that I understand, the inside rubber inner tube thingy is only sealed at the mast and relies on the stretchiness of the rubber at the deck collar to be held in place?
    Alex

    It's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.
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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Two observations.
    Why does the mizzen need a mast boot? No one sleeps under the stern deck.

    Mast boots are a faff at the best of times, on a trailer sailer, a lot of faff.
    As the mast comes through the cabin anyway, consider putting in a tube from deck to keel that you can simply drop the mast into, put a drain pipe from the bottom of the tube back into the cockpit bilge.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Hi Alex. Just so you know, I've thought about this problem for exactly ten minutes. So take it for what it's worth...

    How about inverting the idea? Permanently fix the boot to the cabin top and use a lashing to hold it to the mast. The lashing keeps dry by tucking up under a fixed collar on the mast. This arrangement has the advantage of having surfaces designed to shed water... not unlike shingles on a roof or exterior house wall.

    mast boot.jpg

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    Mike,

    Thanks for the explanation and the picture. Double boot system hadn't occurred to me. The canvas probably stops most of the water and the rubber boot stops what gets past it. Kind of like a rain screen wall on a building.

    Just to be clear that I understand, the inside rubber inner tube thingy is only sealed at the mast and relies on the stretchiness of the rubber at the deck collar to be held in place?
    Yes, that is correct, Alex.
    The canvas cover also contributes.
    Makes mast removal easy, the boot can be slipped off without breaking the seal around the top edge.

    Cheers,
    Mike.
    Focus on the effort not the outcome.

    "Don't take life seriously. Either way, you won't make it out alive."

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Two observations.
    Why does the mizzen need a mast boot? No one sleeps under the stern deck.

    Mast boots are a faff at the best of times, on a trailer sailer, a lot of faff.
    As the mast comes through the cabin anyway, consider putting in a tube from deck to keel that you can simply drop the mast into, put a drain pipe from the bottom of the tube back into the cockpit bilge.
    Fair questions, but:
    1. Mizzen mast steps offcentre into a locker that I would rather keep dry if I could (locker bottom is below cockpit sole).
    2. Main mast steps on the hull bottom which is lower than the cockpit sole. I do have a drain down at the mast step to drain anything that does get down there to below the cabin floorboards and I have both electric an manual bilge pump there, but again, I would rather keep the water from getting in there in the first place
    Alex

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Hi Alex. Just so you know, I've thought about this problem for exactly ten minutes. So take it for what it's worth...

    How about inverting the idea? Permanently fix the boot to the cabin top and use a lashing to hold it to the mast. The lashing keeps dry by tucking up under a fixed collar on the mast. This arrangement has the advantage of having surfaces designed to shed water... not unlike shingles on a roof or exterior house wall.

    mast boot.jpg

    Jeff

    Hmmmm, worth thinking about.

    My first thought is that it would be difficult to get sufficiently far up under a collar affixed to the mast to tie the boot off, unless the collar were unattractively wide. But, maybe I can figure out some other way of doing the same thing
    Alex

    It's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.
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    http://www.alexzimmerman.ca

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1902 View Post
    Yes, that is correct, Alex.
    The canvas cover also contributes.
    Makes mast removal easy, the boot can be slipped off without breaking the seal around the top edge.

    Cheers,
    Mike.
    Thanks for the follow-up, Mike.
    Alex

    It's only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.
    - Joseph Conrad, An Outcast of the Islands

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Hi Alex. Just so you know, I've thought about this problem for exactly ten minutes. So take it for what it's worth...

    How about inverting the idea? Permanently fix the boot to the cabin top and use a lashing to hold it to the mast. The lashing keeps dry by tucking up under a fixed collar on the mast. This arrangement has the advantage of having surfaces designed to shed water... not unlike shingles on a roof or exterior house wall.

    mast boot.jpg

    Jeff
    Have you tried that one, Jeff? It looks like threading a long stick down through the flexible boot could be a bit of an issue? But I like the fact that it could then be tied shut for trailering and not leave a hole on the deck.

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Why not a compression post and ditch the boot? Shorten the mast for handling and storage and trailering - gotta be a win-win.

    p.s. And no messin with the boot when you rig. Are you leaving the mast up for the season?
    Last edited by Andrew Donald; 07-29-2022 at 05:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Two observations.
    Why does the mizzen need a mast boot? No one sleeps under the stern deck.

    Mast boots are a faff at the best of times, on a trailer sailer, a lot of faff.
    As the mast comes through the cabin anyway, consider putting in a tube from deck to keel that you can simply drop the mast into, put a drain pipe from the bottom of the tube back into the cockpit bilge.
    Yes, just let lots of fresh water into the bottom of a wooden boat.


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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    Yes, just let lots of fresh water into the bottom of a wooden boat.

    Never heard of rain and cockpits?
    Sheesh.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Donald View Post
    Why not a compression post and ditch the boot? Shorten the mast for handling and storage and trailering - gotta be a win-win.

    p.s. And no messin with the boot when you rig. Are you leaving the mast up for the season?

    I had that very conversation with Tad Roberts, the designer, during the design process. Tad pointed out that a deck stepped mast requires heavier scantlings and a tabernacle that adds more undesirable weight, up relatively high, in what is, after all, a fairly light boat. In addition, he also points out that if your mast breaks, you are more likely to lose the whole thing if it is deck stepped, whereas a broken keel stepped mast will likely leave you with a usable stump to help in getting home.

    I trust Tad's judgment and went with the keel-stepped design.

    The boat will live on a trailer in my side yard between outings, so no possibility to leave the mast up for the season.
    Alex

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    Have you tried that one, Jeff? It looks like threading a long stick down through the flexible boot could be a bit of an issue? But I like the fact that it could then be tied shut for trailering and not leave a hole on the deck.
    Hugh, I have not tried it myself. Like I posted, I spent very little time contemplating the problem. I think my solution is based on how one thinks about houses and how they're designed to shed rain. One always shingles the cladding, flashings, inner tar paper or it's modern kin, etc. My summer home project is a new porch roof. So my thinking is biased to land structures. Alex's mast certainly isn't land based but the principles of shedding water still apply.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Never heard of rain and cockpits?
    Sheesh.
    Of course I have Nick, but you are not talking about cockpits, you are talking about letting fresh water into the bilge to be dealt with by the bilge pumps, which is a very bad idea, strangely for you.

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by lupussonic View Post
    Of course I have Nick, but you are not talking about cockpits, you are talking about letting fresh water into the bilge to be dealt with by the bilge pumps, which is a very bad idea, strangely for you.
    It is a trailer sailer. Does it have a watertight self draining cockpit sole, or just boards on top of the frames?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    It is a trailer sailer. Does it have a watertight self draining cockpit sole, or just boards on top of the frames?

    Watertight self draining cockpit sole - level is above both the floorboards inside the cabin and the bottoms of the adjacent lockers
    Alex

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins



    I think Jeff was headed in a good direction. The permanent "eave" just needs to be wide enough to shed water past the open top of the boot. I put some anchoring rings around the mast to hold up a semi-permanent tight clove hitch, same thing at the bottom but down there you might even get away with some elastic if the retaining groove is deep enough.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Yeah, a bit of a dream that design.

    Wind tends to do funny things to water, it makes it go sideways.

    The cowling needs to be completely covering the top of the boot, and even then, only maybe it works.

    Think salty spray from waves.

    The best design I have seen is a car tyre inner tube sleeved on as the mast is stepped, gooped and lashed hard to the mast, with a traditional canvas boot placed over it.

    Bomber!

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins



    Remember we're talking about a trailered coastal cruiser here not something expected to cross the North Sea or round the Great Capes.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post


    Remember we're talking about a trailered coastal cruiser here not something expected to cross the North Sea or round the Great Capes.
    exactly hence my reply in #13. Steve your picture helps me modify my reply about putting a tabernacle for main mast;.doesn’t need to be very tall if mast is swung forward,. I don’t believe masts need to be keel stepped for this scale of boat. If you break the mast you’re gonna be more worried about survival than a jury rig, besides which why can’t the mizzen mast be stepped in place of main?
    Last edited by Andrew Donald; 07-30-2022 at 12:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    It is a trailer sailer. Does it have a watertight self draining cockpit sole, or just boards on top of the frames?
    Well the exact construction isn't whole of it, but if it is stitch and glue or egg-crate type construction, there often is no path under the sole from cockpit to cabin, so the cabin has a good chance of staying dry.
    Fact is, if you're overnighting in any small cabin trailer yacht, some part of your sleeping bag will be in contact with the mast at some point in the night. It is unavoidable in a space that small, and not having to contend with a dripping mast and a wet fart sack on a rainy night is a big morale booster.
    The mast boot takes all of two minutes to get on or off. For day sails I didn't even bother cinching the base up, so no time penalty whatsoever. They work, are easy and cheap to make, I'm surprised you are so down on the idea.

    Pete
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    Default Re: Mast Boots for Trailer-sailed Boats with Cabins

    Quote Originally Posted by epoxyboy View Post
    Well the exact construction isn't whole of it, but if it is stitch and glue or egg-crate type construction, there often is no path under the sole from cockpit to cabin, so the cabin has a good chance of staying dry.
    Fact is, if you're overnighting in any small cabin trailer yacht, some part of your sleeping bag will be in contact with the mast at some point in the night. It is unavoidable in a space that small, and not having to contend with a dripping mast and a wet fart sack on a rainy night is a big morale booster.
    The mast boot takes all of two minutes to get on or off. For day sails I didn't even bother cinching the base up, so no time penalty whatsoever. They work, are easy and cheap to make, I'm surprised you are so down on the idea.

    Pete
    Pete, My thoughts exactly. It is stitch and glue with no path between the cockpit sole or under the sole to the cabin, so it should be possible to keep the cabin dry. On my previous open sail and oar boat, the canvas boat tent was open a little at the forward end, which would let rain in where it would drain to under the floorboards. Not a significant issue in our normally-dry summer sailing season, but on a trip north, there were a couple of times that I experienced monsoon-like rain overnight. Not only did I have to get up and pump the bilges a couple of times at oh-dark-thirty but the sleeping space felt distinctly damp around the edges.

    Who was it that said that any fool can be uncomfortable sailing but .... (I can't remember the rest)
    Alex

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