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Old 06-12-2014, 17:34   #1
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Mast boot leaks

We noticed when we bought the boat that there was water damage around one of the port deadlights, so we assumed it leaked. Turns out the leak is at the mast step, and travels under the headliner to that area to do it's damage.

So I cut off the canvas that was sewn tight around the mast step, and it is full of some white caulking, but the top of it is not rounded, it allows water to pool, and of course there's a dirty spot where the water pools and cracks where it leaks into the boat.

So my research has given me some ideas, but I'm not sure what to do about the caulking. Do I need to remove it, or I can I just add to it? My idea is (in order)

1) Use something to reseal where the old caulking has failed, and get rid of the depression that allows pooling.
2) Wrap the whole business with 4" atomic tape
3) make a boot out of a truck tire innertube, wrap it around with plenty of overlap, with 2 giant hose clamps and some kind of silicone on the inside before rolling it down over the clamp.

I can post a pic if it would help.

Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2014, 17:53   #2
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Re: Mast boot leaks

The inner tube--hose clamp set-up is pretty standard and can produce a good, watertight joint. It is what I have on my boat, and I have a sunbrella boot over it to protect it from UV. The rounder the mast, the easier it is to get a watertight connection. A rectangular mast or one with channels or grooves in it can be a challenge.

Spartite is a commercial product that many swear by to produce a water-tight seal. Youtube or Defender or someone has a video on it. A lot of folks love it. I'd go on line and check it out.
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Old 13-12-2014, 11:26   #3
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Re: Mast boot leaks

Also, crown any caulking you may use.
Make sure your mast isn't moving around in the hole ( usually because of wedging) as this movement will be most pronounced while sailing and will create areas where it leaks.
A mast collar , under the boot will give an extra seal.



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Old 13-12-2014, 13:55   #4
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Re: Mast boot leaks

It looks like somebody previously used spartite, and it was failing where they left depressions to allow water to pool.

So I put butyl tape over that building it up to be flat, using the heat gun to warm it up a little. Then I used 1" atomic tape to make another waterproof layer above that.

Will likely finish it with the inner tube or something else, bought the fancy mast boot from WM and it had been returned before... opened it up and see why... kinda expensive for what it is... it's going back again.
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Old 13-12-2014, 15:46   #5
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Re: Mast boot leaks

I've never had a truly watertight seal, just one that I could live with
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Old 13-12-2014, 18:37   #6
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Re: Mast boot leaks

Redundancy is key here.
Add layers look for areas that are pooling, throw buckets of water at the boot after you've considered it fixed. Then wait and see. O little food coloring works well to Id. Suspected leaks from the top down ie:Gravity fed.
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Old 13-12-2014, 18:45   #7
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Re: Mast boot leaks

Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
It looks like somebody previously used spartite, and it was failing where they left depressions to allow water to pool.

So I put butyl tape over that building it up to be flat, using the heat gun to warm it up a little. Then I used 1" atomic tape to make another waterproof layer above that.

Will likely finish it with the inner tube or something else, bought the fancy mast boot from WM and it had been returned before... opened it up and see why... kinda expensive for what it is... it's going back again.
I'm assuming you got the "stepped" thing that they sell. It actually works very well, although no better than the inner tube approach. It's really just a convenience product.

In my experience the key is simply to get a good seal between whatever you use as a boot and the mast itself. I prefer silicone since it's a sealant, not an adhesive, and it excels in that respect. Certainly a few hose clamps coupled together to create a large enough clamp are a time tested approach, and it has worked for me but my mast is dead oval. The track profile has been stuffed with butyl rubber and between the two they have not leaked.

The key is that even if the seal looks ok, it may not be. If you have confidence in your boot material, be it the WM product or an inner seal, and you have a leak, remove the whole thing, clean, and reseal, and chances are good that you'll have addressed the issue.
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Old 13-12-2014, 19:03   #8
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Re: Mast boot leaks

Agreed, there are three maybe Four Ways water gets in, 1- down the mast,2- through the seam in the boot if you've got that kind,3- under the boot,4- through leakage internally inside and down the mast interior.
Address all those and yo have a chance at some dry time.
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Old 13-12-2014, 19:47   #9
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Re: Mast boot leaks

I hate mast leaks and rely on redundancy as well. First I use Spartite topped with Lifeseal. Then I have a roll of mast boot tape as the second defense. Then on top of that I have a stepped rubber boot with the clamps. I still need a Sunbrella cover to finish it off and make it pretty.
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Old 14-12-2014, 00:57   #10
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Re: Mast boot leaks

I have never done this myself but I remember reading about people having good results wrapping with an ace bandage and painting it with either whip it or liquid electrical tape I can't remember which.
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Old 14-12-2014, 04:58   #11
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Re: Mast boot leaks

I've used the mast tape and it held up well for several years before leaks started again. Also used a sunbrella boot which lasted for several years. Now I have a universal fit "stepped" mast boot which seems to be holding up well. Also I've replaced the hose clamps with cable ties and sealed the top of the boot well with caulk.
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Old 14-12-2014, 06:04   #12
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Re: Mast boot leaks

Instead of using an inner tube for a mast boot, try to connect with a Roofing contractor that does flat roofs. EDPM roofing material is a rubber membrane that is made to withstand UV rays, scraps are usually large enough for mast boots, and with a six or twelve pack, you might even get that almost empty can of adhesive, or some of the other components that would help you make a water tight seal that will hold up in the sun.
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Old 14-12-2014, 06:11   #13
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Re: Mast boot leaks

Hi,
Forgive me to whoever's work I'm plagiarizing but -roof seal-. simple as that. I read this an tried it a year ago and it works nicely. Actually it's called "siliconised elstomeric roofing seal". kool seal is a common brand. I taped off above the top edge of the existing mast boot tape and bolow it on the collar. 'Put on two coats and that did it. Sealed all the little gaps and it looks nice too. I suspect it would seal any substrate.
Good luck. 'Nice day for a daysail here in Fla. so wish me fair winds,
Dennis

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Old 14-12-2014, 12:33   #14
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Re: Mast boot leaks

Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisDW View Post
Hi,
Good luck. 'Nice day for a daysail here in Fla. so wish me fair winds,
Dennis
Fair winds and following seas, brother!

Well here's an update for those of you that were following along. The atomic tape failed the 24 hour inspection, so took it off (it popped right off).

Used hose clamps and inner tube to make a mast boot, tested it with the hose and it works, it's supposed to rain tomorrow so we'll see if it stands the true test.

The atomic tape would have worked if I could get bigger tape, I heard of 4" tape existing but could only find 2" tape online and 1" tape in the big box stores. I tried 1" tape, but 2" tape might have worked, you have to be able to do it with one long piece. The 1" tape would bundle up at the base of the mast, 2" might have worked.
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