Technical brochures
Sparcraft-us recommendations
© Charleston-Spar


Masthead cables are fitted to all new masts, via a plastic conduit tube. These exit at the masthead, heel and at half height, ready for installation of lighting or other equipment. Check that there is no damage to the outer PVC cover before installation. It is especially important because any electrical discharge can create corrosion, particularly around fittings. We recommend that all electrical work is carried out by experienced specialists who are familiar with the problems relating to salt corrosion and electrical discharge.



When changing or checking halyards always load a messenger line through the mast and sheaves. If halyards are jamming, check if it is twisted with others. A new messenger line can be dropped to clear twists, if required.



Chemical corrosion can take place between alloy and stainless, so it is very important to introduce a chemical barrier between spars and fittings. Corrosion will take place under the fitting often where it cannot be seen so use a zinc chromate paste, silicone or butyl rubber layer for any new fitting. When using fastening, stainless screws are strong but check for corrosion regularly. Cut them to the correct bury length otherwise they may snag or damage halyards. Monel rivets are strong, with less possibility of chemical reaction with the alloy. When drilling, take care not to drill into the electrical conduit.



It will be necessary to work aloft at times to carry out maintenance. If you are unhappy aloft get a crew member who is experienced to undertake the work. Don't put off the work ! Check your equipment, starting with the Bosun's Chair and halyard. You will need to be comfortable aloft otherwise it will be difficult to concentrate. The halyard must be in good condition particulary around the shackle and top three feet. A second halyard must always bee connected for safety. Never rely on snap shackles as these can snag and release. Use a deep bag for your tools, remembering that any tool dropped may injure someone below, or the deck. A messenger line can be useful for longer jobs, enabling tools to be raised and lowered. Use an experienced assistant who is familiar with winches. Climb with your feet and hands as your assistant winches with at least three turns around the drum. This is faster and more efficient. Make sure that your assistant makes off the halyard end to a secure cleat, or ties it off around a winch.
Trim your height so that you can work efficiently and tie yourself to the mast with a short line to lock yourself in position.
Your assistant should follow your progress, warning of passing waves which magnify the yacht's movement at mast height. Instructions should be shouted clearly. When lowering, make sure that the halyard tail is clear and ease the halyard around the winch drum. It is important to have a good footing and to be watching the person up the mast. The safest and most comfortable way down is slowly and smoothly.