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Mast Float Kits


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My local paint store will match any color you bring in.  I’m sure that one near you will do the same, including Lowes or Home Depot.  For something this simple, any alkyd enamel will work.  Rustoleum Marine paint is merely their standard product, minus the rust inhibitor.  It is a good alkyd enamel.  If you paid the big bucks for Kirby’s marine paint, you’d be getting the same thing.

If you buy Epifanes’ two part epoxy from Jamestown Distributors, they will mix any color you desire.  But I know that you guys are wary about using two part poly, for some reason.  It is just about the only thing I’ll use on boats anymore.

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Many years ago I built 8 ft. fiberglass yacht dinghies for a living. One day I decided I wanted to make one "lite red" ---whatever that means. I don't remember what I thought I was making. I added some red gel coat to white, and guess what---got pink. I went ahead and finished the dink, but couldn't sell it. I also raced outboard power boats at the time, and took the dink to a boat race with me just to mess around with, Word spread throughout the pits, and everyone came to see it. They were saying, "I wanna see your pink dinghy." The wives and girlfriends though that was funny and teased me all weekend about my "pink dinghy". How embarrassing!

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Chick, that was a laugh-out-loud story for me. ?  (Even the second read-through ?.)  (OK, even the third read through made me laugh… even as I TYPE this I’m laughing. Sorry, Chick.)


First vote from family is to go with the yellow ‘cause it would be cute and fun. Hard to argue (being that the opinion is my wife’s. ?)   Besides, I like the blue/yellow IKEA-like color combination and the stainless hollowback covers a lot of the yellow of the gunwale. 

And, to explain the origins of IKEA, a recent video by a couple local Wisconsin comedians… check them out: Dude Dad and Manitowoc Minute. Always worth a good laugh. 

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My wife came up with an Amazon order for two 5’ rolls of outdoor use stick-on vinyl in black and white that we will use for making the fish-faces instead of trying to paint those details.  (My hand just wouldn’t paint this as well as my  cutting vinyl with a scissors.)  


We temporarily taped on some cut black paper pieces to see what the yellow float might look like.  (The red float will get white vinyl pieces for the face.)

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  • 4 weeks later...

OK… the two mast floats are done!!




I will name the red one Bruce (for my late brother.)  It will ride on the mizzen mast of  Norma T.


The yellow one, yet unnamed, will ride on my newly purchased boat, Avocet.



I’m asking my three grandkids to name the yellow one.  I planned to let them name both of the floats, but as I got the color on the red one I began wanting to use my brother’s name, Bruce.

If you know the movie Finding Nemo you might remember the friendly shark, Bruce, who led the “Fish are Friends, Not Food” support group.  Yup, my family thought about my brother, Bruce, when they saw that part of the movie. ?

(Film Clip:)


And the funniest experience we had of watching Finding Nemo was on a Disney Cruise, watching the movie in the large theater with hundreds of kids… what a gas.

My kids had chipped in together and surprised my wife and me with airfare and the cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary… (AND their being grown up and able to gift us in this way… I’m starting to think about another Disney adventure when my wife and I treat everyone for our 50th.)  And the best part of the cruise is that they ALL came WITH US on the cruise!!  It was the best gift we’ve ever received.  

The funniest part of watching the movie happened at the end, when the great pathos moment occurs, making the theater all somber and quiet and sad… and a four year old cries out, “DON’T WORRY, HE’LL BE OK!!!”   The mom replied, “Spoiler alert, sorry.”  Nemo is dying… and the audience is splitting-gut laughing.  A great moment  

I’m enjoying skiing right now… but I find myself thinking about using my three new boats (Norma T, Joe, and Avocet) as I head up the chairlift.  Usually I’m alone, but a friend joined me a couple days ago.  Cheers!

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My wife helped me design the fish faces. She then decided they each needed a soft plushy bag to hold them when transporting or stowing them.  She quickly sewed up a couple bags on a recent afternoon and gave them ribbons to tie the ends.  The little bags should help prevent gouges and nicks. And, they have a good ol’ northern Wisconsin look to them.  ?
Thank you, Buddy. 

(Maybe I will be able some day to enlist her sewing skills on a couple tarps for the boats.)


Bruce is peeking out of one of the bags. 



Finally, I just learned why fish are so trim and sleek… they eat fish!  

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  • 1 year later...

Oh no… bummer.

I was just about to turn in for the night and my brain is now focusing on this problem, looking for solutions. 
I have no idea how the white starboard material would do with my wood lathe’s cutting tools and whether this piece as it is would spin decently and true.  Hmmm…

You might consider “eating” the mistake and ordering from B&B new correctly sized starboard pieces.  (I think that is what I’d do because I’m not sure I could fix this..)  It’s some bucks, I know, but I never mind supporting the little B&B business. 

I will do some capsize drills with my family in a couple weeks and can actually try at least one of my mast floats.  I’ll report. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally got around to putting a mast float on Carlita for my recent trip. https://www.sailingforparkinsons.org/home


Did it do me any good? Well I did not need it on this trip, fortunately! I sure would have looked foolish if I had really needed it because, all I needed to get one was to say cut one out for me.  As it turned out, I ended up out in some pretty big weather alone. I got knocked down to 40 - 50 degrees several times and it did make me feel better knowing that it was there. To improve my odds I made sure that every time I went out I dogged every hatch and port to keep all that gear locked in place and as low as I could get it.


It came out at least as light as Nicks. Mine came out a bit tail heavy and I wanted mine as close as I could get to being balanced so that it would take a tiny bit less drag to keep the float pointing exactly into the wind when heeled. I cut a piece of lead and hammered in to the shape of the nose and glued it on. It still came out slightly tail heavy but it is close enough. If I can twist Alan's arm I think that we can get the cut file perfect. Who wants to add lead to a float?


I was going to paint mine yellow for fun but when we had a run of white Awlgrip paint, expedience quickly won.


Could I tell the difference with the float up there? In rough conditions, I imagined that the mizzen top was dancing around a bit more but I could not feel anything.

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@Designer— I agree with you.  Adding lead to a float doesn’t seem to be a logical move.  LOL


I put my float on the main.  Since I don’t have tabernacles on my boat, stepping that mast is a struggle.  I might move it to the mizzen.  At least then I’ll have better footing when stepping that one.

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