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Mast head float

Gira Gira

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15 minutes ago, PadrePoint said:

Andy, does 

mean that the top of the sail sleeve is like a “cap” at the top, keeping the sail from falling down — instead of being held up with a halyard?


Yes.  There is no halyard, the luff of the sail has a sleeve that slips over the mast.  The boom is attached to the mast via a gooseneck that can be disengaged and then the mast can be rotated , which wraps the sail around the mast.  This is how you reef the sail and also what you do when you are done sailing.  Most owners wrap the sails up and leave them on the mast for storage.


The top does have a fabric strap over the top which keeps the sail from slipping down.


The picture here is the only one I have, which unfortunately was taken to show the damage to the top of the sail after I turtled and the top of the masts hit the bottom of the lake.  But, you can see the strap mechanism, though torn, extends over the top of the mast.  What I'm wondering and asked Steve is if the B&B masthead float could work in this setup.


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Andy, from looking at the pics on B & Bs website, the float sits over an aluminum shaft. It looks to be about 3/4 but I'll let you know when I get it. If so, I'd trim out that gromet, heat seal the edges and create a bushing for the shaft in the mast. The only tricky part is that if I remember on the Sea Pearl the masts fit inside the hull so you would have to make it removable. 


I'd put it on the mizzen so it's more central. Seem like a great addition to "WildCat". I hope you are having fun with her, we had some amazing times. 



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Here are some shots with a ruler… thus only approximate measurements.  This is the float on the mast adapter, to be installed into the top of my mizzen mast:



Bottom bushing for the CS15 mount:



Bottom bushing for the CS17 mount:


Basic plan of the mount at the top of the mast:



The two inserts going into the top of the mast… note the lip. 


Top view:



The top of the mounting tube with the hitch pin:



PVC insert:


And something my brother-in-law sent me today ?:


The water around here is going to be hard and white for a while… weeks. But, the fishermen can do the “walk on water” thing. 


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So, Andy, I don’t know what the black thing with a brass-looking grommet is… a cap to the mast?  Is it connected to the sail?  Is the top of the mast round?  Is there a way to adapt the float mount for this?  Or maybe adapt the top of the sail to the float mount so that the mount’s 11/16” aluminum tube extending up from the top of the mast can go through the black thing?


It seems to me if the mount tube can go through the widened black thing’s brass grommet, the sail itself would keep the float mount in place and allowing the mount to be removed if needed. 


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Great pics. Sea Pearls furl by the sail rolling around the mast. That black strap with the grommet is heavily box stitched to the sail and there is a line at the bottom of sail to tension the luff and all that force is supported by the strap. The gromet I believe is just to poke a wind indicator through as I did on the main. I think Andy would be fine enlarging the hole to 3/4 and heat sealing the edges carefully. I'd use a soldering iron as to not weaken the surrounding material. 


As for the mounting, the B & B setup would be perfect, sized to the mast, except the post would have to be removable as the masts sit inside the gunnels during travel. An alternative would be to extend the aft Bullwinkle (mast support).  

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Thanks for the work and thoughts, Steve and Padre!  Steve is correct that the whole mount would have to be removable, as the masts fit in, just barely, to the boat when traveling.  That's a great feature I wouldn't want to lose.  When I get my boat out of storage I'll have to look at this more closely.


PS--inside joke for Steve.  When we put the boat away I still use those purple koozies on the end of the masts and I say "Cheers, Witches" the boys each time ?

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53 minutes ago, Steve W said:

black strap

Ah, that’s a strap. It looked to me like black rubber for a plug to the top of the mast. (Photos aren’t always easy to figure out.)

Makes sense to me now. 
The mount will be permanent in mine because of the need to put screws in for the halyard fittings. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I’m about to order a masthead float for my Bay River Skiff.  Alan is working up a version that does not include the Starboard fittings.  This is because the top section of my mast is solid wood.  I will be screwing it to the front of the mast.  Not sure if I’ll make the whole thing removable, or leave the metal tube on the mast.  I could embed some threaded brass inserts into the wood.  The same could be done on an aluminum mast with nutserts.

While switching from my old painted trailer to a new galvanized one yesterday, I did a capsize test at the ramp.  (I finally got to be a Ramp Hog, along with all the rednecks who have been doing this to me these many years.)  Anyway, I got to prove to myself that the seat tanks actually do work.  Time to get a masthead float.


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  • 4 weeks later...

@PadrePoint— Yes.  Sleeves are either a sock thanencloses the top of the mast, or there is a webbing strap that goes over the top.  There is no halyard.  Sails are slipped onto the mast from the top down.  The sails are usually furled or rolled onto the mast, instead of taking them lowering them.  Andy B would need a large grommet (3/4” I.D.) added to his sleeve, at least from what I can envision.  
On my boat, I do not have halyards, and the sail is furled.  I just bought the masthead float kit.  I intend to screw the shaft to the forward side of the main mast.  It helps that the top section of my mast is wood, but this could also be accomplished with an aluminum mast.

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I started gluing my mast head float together last night. I tested spray adhesive on some other foam I had and while the adhesive said it worked good for foam, it sort of melted it. I suspect it's the carrier solvent. I tried Titebond III and it worked really good on the test pieces, so I put a thin coat on both joining faces with a chip brush, and then with the tube inserted for alignment pushed the pieces together.


I let it all dry overnight with a couple of rubber bands holding it together and this morning I glued on the "tail". Tonight if all goes well I'll start with the cloth. My gut tells me to drape one side and wet it out with epoxy, let it get to the green stage and trim, flip and repeat for side two. If anyone has gone before and has any advice, LMK. 

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@Steve W— I imagine, in the grand scheme of things, what we use to glue the foam together isn’t too important.  The fiberglass/epoxy shell is the master bonder here.  I’m with you— glassing this teardrop makes me nervous.  I’m planning to affix the fin first, and bond the whole all at once(a half at a time).  I just hope someone imparts  some wisdom, or shares their experience, before I get to that point. 

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Here is my build-blog for my mast floats:

For the fiberglass job, I cut the cloth to the full circumference to wrap around the fish shape. I then made some guesses on both ends and cut out some wedges or darts so that, hopefully, the glass would cover fully and perhaps with some overlapping… but trying to avoid too much bunching up of the material. The rounded cone shape made me nervous. I guess I finally decided to jump into the glassing project and just did the task the best I could.  I did some cutting and trimming of the glass cloth as I applied the epoxy (I used old scissors.) I thought it went more easily than I expected.

I did the whole float rather than just part at a time.  I did NOT attach he fins when I glassed the floats but kept the opening slit in back clear of epoxy for the fin’s later installation. (I made my own fishy fins… for fun.)

When cured, the glass wasn’t too hard to sand up. I gave fillets to the fins when I glued them in.  I did apply some thickened epoxy to a few places to even things and make a couple small repairs or fill some spots.  Then, coats of primer helped make the surface smoother in preparation for the paint. 










I made the faces from cut vinyl… I think I will paint the red one’s mouth since 2D onto 3D created wrinkles. 
(The red one is named Bruce for my brother, to be mounted onto the Norma T, my CS15; I’m still unsure about the yellow one… but maybe Wrasse-cal (Rascal) for a small Yellow Sea fish that might be food for an Avocet… the name of my CS17 Mk3)

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Last night I glassed my float. I didn't think to take pictures.


I had glued my fin on. I also used a sanding block to knock down a few high spots on the foam. 


I rough cut two pieces of cloth. I clamped the fin in a vice and laid plastic under it, thinking things might get messy. Next I laid the first piece on the non fin half and wetted it out with resin, using a credit card to smooth it out. I trimmed the hole carefully for the PVC pipe. Once done I used a cheap pair of scissors to trim to 1/2 " below the centerline. I probably should have quit then and let it harden. but the glass seemed pretty stuck to the foam so I flipped it and did the other side. I let a bit of the glass run up the tail and the glass is so flexible it made the bend with no fillet. 


Finally I left it in the vice by the tail, cleaned up the mess and went to bed. I had meant to get up and check on things a t midnight, but I forgot to set my alarm and at 5am when I woke up I ran straight down to check. Somehow I got a few bubbles, but I used a heat gun to warm the Epoxy and pushed the bubbles out. I also trimmed the glass that came up the pipe neatly and also the tail. this afternoon I'm going home for lunch to fill in the weave with a bit more epoxy. I am going to assume one layer was the intent as I think there isn't quite enough for a second. 


It seems pretty strong. 





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It must have worked for you, Steve.  It’s a win.  
I had used a heat gun a bit on one of my floats, got distracted for a moment, and kind of made a dimple (The foam semi-melted some at that spot… aieee…)  The wonder of epoxy and a few layers of glass material fixed it. ?

There are plenty of variations on getting a job done.  I often find myself pondering how to do something and come up with all kinds of plans or approaches. Yes, I sometimes use my “pondering” as a means to put it off the task for a while.  ?
But then, ultimately, I simply have to choose to begin (sometimes with significant trepidation.)  In the “doing” is when I discover how I will actually tackle the job.  The “pondering-ideas” might or might not end up being how I actually carry out the task.  
Something that I’ve enjoyed with my recent two boat building projects has been the “pondering time” even if the actual “doing” was different from many of the derived ideas.  And, it’s especially fun when the project ends up well.  I found that building the two mast floats provided that kind of enjoyment. 
No, I don’t plan on another boat-build; I can come up with plenty of other projects.  And, I am married to someone who can think of all kinds of things that “I might make.” Waiting right now are new wooden kitchen countertops and possibly a couple of grandchild desks. 

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Hi Guys,


Just wondering if you oriented the glass cloth "on the bias" with the threads running diagonally across the fish-shape's spine or "straight" with threads going parallel to the spine and other threads going down and around like ribs?


My experience is that laying the glass on the bias will conform to complex shapes well, but that the cloth gets a little harder to handle because it's so stretchy along the diagonal.



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This is the other way you could possibly mount the float to a sea pearl. I did this successfully with my sleeve luff CS-17 when we were first testing the floats but I didn't take any pictures. Basically it's a PVC pipe with a slot on one side sanded nice and smooth that is a snug press fit over the top of the mast and sail. That creates a hollow PVC tube at the top into which you'd install the B&B float and aluminum tube. The whole thing would come off with a tug. Or the PVC could be a slip fit and you add a small grommet at the top of the sail leech and use a short lashing line to the top of the PVC pipe thus preventing it being able to lift off. 
Advantage to this method is no alteration to the sleeve or mast tops heck you wouldn't even have to take the sails off. But it would add the weight of that PVC pipe.

seapearl mast float attachment.jpg

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