On December 7, 2008 we pulled the mast on Briar Patch and put it on blocks in Nelson's Boatyard. After 20+ years of an aluminum mast sitting on a steel step in the salty bilge of an aging boat, electrolysis and other nasty natural elements took their toll. The mast step was in dire need of being refurbished. I have read of other similar Pearson 323 boats having the same problem, and that prompted me to take a keen look at what lurks beneath the floor in the bilge of Briar Patch. Owners of other P-323's had been so kind to post their experience in replacing the mast step, and refurbishing the mast. I took heed, took aim, and then took action to do the same.
After pulling the mast and examining the situation, we cut off about 2.5 inches of corroded mast from the bottom. I went to a machine shop (JV Lamar who does great work) in Gulf Shores and had him make a new mast step out of stainless steel. He then made a mast extension block that replaced the 2.5 inches that we had cut off the mast.
While the mast was out, we took the opportunity to sand and paint it to bring it back to like new looks. We primed all bare aluminum with zinc chromate, and then primed with Interlux primer.
We then put 2 coats of Interlux Brightside polyurathane paint for the finish. I talked with an Interlux engineer about our paint strategy for aluminum and he said we were on the mark.
Now all we have to do is tune the mast stays and shrouds, and set the sails.
Thanks to my friends and the professionals at Nelsons and JV Lamar machine shop for their help. Special thanks to a good young friend, Garrett Gozdur who helped me re-wire the mast lights before we set the mast and to Jim Jones who was the "roll" of the roll and tip painting process.
Click on the url below to see the before and after pictures. This yacht is ready to go sailing again!