Which Sealant Should I Choose?

This is an often asked question which seems to have many different answers. Over time we have tried various sealants and have narrowed it down two primary products as our choice of sealant, 3M’s UV4000 and Boat Life Life Calk.

Boat Life Life Calk

Boat Life’s Life Calk provides a long lasting seal that stays flexible through out its lifespan. We find this product exceptional when it comes to bedding chain plates and stanchion bases, but is suitable for many other applications. Beware that this is a poly-sulfide and although it bonds well to most surfaces, including wood, aluminum and fiberglass, it can cause damage to plastics over time.

3M UV 4000

3M’s UV4000 is our product of choice for bedding almost everything else including deck/mast hardware and fasteners. This product provides an excellent adhesive seal that is great for a marine environment and is suitable as a general sealant in almost every application.

3m General Purpose Adhesive Remover

To clean these products, we first use a putty knife (or our rigging knife) to remove the majority of the mess. Next we will use paper towels and 3M’s General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner to break down any excess goop. Alternatively you can use acetone or mineral spirits as well. The trick is to make sure and do a final wipe using a clean paper towel and some solvent to remove any residual sealant, cloudiness or hazing. This last step will give it that professional, clean look. With bare wood surfaces or on non-skid it may be a good idea to tape off around the hardware to ensure a neat finished edge. DO NOT wait until these sealants have cured as this will surely result in a less desirable look and is more difficult to clean up.

Another Perfectly Installed Mast Boot

As much as I hate to say it, we do on occasion need to use a marine grade silicone sealant. The reason that, “I hate to say it”, is because silicone has to be the most overly and most  inappropriately used product in the hands of boat owners today. Silicone is only to be used for final touches before stepping a mast, i.e. any open electrical holes, cotter pin legs, or ring dings. We will also use use a small amount of silicone and 3M electrical tape to seal the upper ring of a mast boot (as pictured above). If you are sure that you need to use silicone sealant, and it is in the proper application, make sure that it is marine grade… household silicone will not work and may rot and mildew.

marine silicone sealant

Thanks for the read, feel free to leave us a comment or question below!

Posted in Cruisers, Modern Yachts, Product Review, Racers, Rigging, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Keeping Up with the Cup

The 35th Americas Cup will be taking place in Bermuda in 2017. Here it is March 2015 and things are starting to heat up…

Oracle AC 45 Foiling in the SF Bay

Dean Barker, a 15 year veteran at the helm,  was recently devastated with the news that he would be replaced by 24 year old Peter Burling as the skipper of Team New Zealand. The Kiwi’s still want Barker to join them, just not as skipper. However, we think Barker may have some tricks of his own up his sleeve (read here)… Ainslie did it, why can’t he. I think we will see more and more boats being represented by individuals and big sponsors instead of countries as time progresses. I mean, we all know by now that the crews are mostly made up of Kiwi’s. Hence, regardless of what big corporate sponsors are on the side of the boat, New Zealand as a whole has the best sailors in the world (at least IMO).

Check out some of the fun (FAST) footage of Team USA’s Oracle #4, out for some practice a few weeks ago. This is the revamped, foiling, fixed wing version of the AC 45’s of old, lol.

It’s almost starting to look normal to me…

Video courtesy of John Navas Video's YouTube feed.

45.8 knots!?  How much faster will the 72 go (or are they 62’s?) ? Unreal! I have to say, that even though I was a bit of a pessimist about these new spaceship type multi-hulls, mostly because I miss the old, slow mono-hulls of yesteryear, dragging through the water at a measly 15 knots, I am anxious to see more…

Posted in Americas Cup, Around the World, Maritime News, Modern Yachts, Multihulls, Racers, Sailing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rod Rigging

Wally Day Sailor

    In the world of sailboat standing rigging there are three common materials used, stainless steel wire, Nitronic 50 rod, and various types of synthetic fibers, which are becoming more and more popular. I want to talk today about Nitronic 50 stainless steel rod. This specific type of stainless steel is very strong and noble. Rod rigging can provide lower stretch, less windage and reduced weight characteristics than its wire counterparts.

So if your boat is equipped with rod rigging, what maintenance schedule should one adhere to? In order to maintain your rod rigging or any rigging for that matter, it is highly recommended to simply wash and rinse the hardware with soap and water. This in itself      can make a big difference in its longevity. Mast Being unstepped!

The general guidelines for rod head inspection and service are 40,000 – 60,000 miles or 6 years, whichever comes first. Rods, tangs and fittings, generally should be replaced once the rig exceeds 120,ooo NM. This is a generalization that will vary by geographical region and use. Typically (at least in my experience) one will find that they reach the 6 year mark before the 60,000 miles. The rod head service is extremely important and should not be overlooked. In order to inspect/service your rod the mast will need to be un-stepped.

cracked rod head

Rod heads are made by a hydraulic cold press machine that utilizes a series of dies, clamps and rams to press a head onto the rod. The rod heads are responsible for keeping the fitting from slipping off. The rods themselves can last a very, very long time. Much longer than the expected life span of wire. This is due primarily to the type of metal used, how it is treated, and also the construction characteristics of the wire vs that of the rod. Rod cold heads however, are prone to cracking and should go no longer than 6 years without being serviced.

G100 eye dimpled fitting

Typically Rod Marine Eyes Get Dimpled!

With some type of rod fittings the head can easily be accessed, cleaned up and inspected for cracking. However, other types of fittings will be dimpled to lock the fitting and can therefore not be undone to be inspected. In this case you will need to replace the fitting as well as the head for a satisfactory inspection. This does not necessarily mean the rod needs to be replaced. The length lost will be minimal and is usually within the throw of a turnbuckle.

Navtec Rod Stud

Rod Studs Also Typically are Dimpled!

There are instances where the entire rod will need replacing. If the rod has been damaged, bent or kinked, one should replace it. Navtec guidelines talk about it being acceptable to bend the rod back only once if the bend isn’t too severe. Personally, I would get it replaced, because I don’t like ‘if’s’.

Navtec Spreader Bends

Aluminum Spreader Bend

Another situation that would call for rod replacement, is when a head needs to be replaced aloft on a shroud which utilizes a spreader bend. A spreader bend is an aluminum or stainless sleeve that is slipped onto the rod before heading and is bent in place to a designated angle at the point where the rod intersects the out board spreader end. As there is no turnbuckle at the top end of a stay (at least not typically, that would be weird), the loss of length can not be made up. In other words the spreader angle would no longer be the same. Lastly, you would need to replace any rod that simply does not have enough length for re-heading. This is rare but can happen especially if the rod has been re-headed several times.

Navtec C550 Rig Screw Style Turnbuckle

Navtec C550 Rig Screw Style Turnbuckle

Regarding terminals, if using a rigging screw type turnbuckle (see picture) make sure your rigger knows to replace the screw itself. These are also very prone to fatigue and aging. A good school of thought here is, any terminals that look extremely old and worn should be replaced. This should be evaluated on a case by case bases. Remember, it is always recommended to seek the advice of a professional. At least at The Rigging Company, advice is always FREE of charge.

Read here for more info from Navtec on how to maintain your rig!

Have a question or a comment? Just drop us a line below and we will reply.


P.S. –  If you have these tangs aloft ( old model C&C owners), you should have them checked by your local rigger. Certain older models have been deemed unsafe! – Ask us for details.

Posted in Annapolis Sailing, Baltimore Sailing, Cruisers, Modern Yachts, Product Review, Racers, Rigging, Tech Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments