Installed a Mast Track and a Mast Ring for my Whisker Pole

JoeV

Administrator
Staff member
I decided to save a little money by installing my own mast track this weekend. First thing I had to do was source my parts. I ordered a 2' long section of track from Defender Marine and a sliding Mast Ring.

Once the parts arrived, I used the track to locate the exact hardware I would need. I went to Speedex for this and was able to locate some Hex-head M8 screws with tapered heads that would fit in the track and allow the car to slide right over them. I would have liked 10mm legnth but had to settle for 30mm screws. This isn't ideal as they would protrude into the mast. I didnt think it would be that big of a deal as the ends of the screws were flat and shouldn't damage any of my halyards running inside the mast.

Next I needed a tap and die set. Again, I sourced this from Speedex, a brilliant 3-stage M8 set. I bought the appropriate drill bit for a M8 tap (6.5mm). I bought some Teflon tape, some silicone, masking tape, 3-in-1 oil and an Allen Key on a T-handle). Once all this was collected, I began the install.

First step was to hang the track using blue masking tape to determine where it would be permanently installed. It was easy to line up on the mast as the centerline of the mast is marked and the centerline of the track is clearly marked.

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With the track firmly held in place, I now knew where to drill the holes in the mast. I used the mast track as a guide and began drilling pilot holes. once the pilot holes were all drilled, I removed the track, switched the drill but to the 6.5mm bit and drilled all the holes for the hardware.

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Once all the holes were drilled, I began tapping them for the M8 threads.

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I began with the number 1 tap. After applying a little oil to the cutting tap, I ensured it was going into the hole straght and sloly tapped the threads in the hole. I repeated this process 3 times in each hole with the #1, #2 and finishing tap.

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Along the way, I did a test fit to ensure the holes were lining up.

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Once I was positive all the holes were perfectly tapped and aligned, I applied Teflon tape to the screw threads. I did this to help prevent corrosion from dissimilar metals (Stainless Steel and Aluminum). Then I installed the hardware.

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I put a thin bead of silicone under the track and screwed it down flush to the mast.

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Once the final screws were installed and the track was snugged up to the mast, I enstalled the sliding Mast Ring and made sure it moved freely along the length of the track.

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Lastly, I cleaned up all the metal shavings, policed up the trash and tools and called it a day!
 

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