Corrosion Control

  • 141. Top Tips Tuesday - Corrosion Control

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    Time flies when you are enjoying yourself! There I was getting kind of used to ‘semi retirement’ just three days work, mainly in the sailloft sometimes working with rigs and bliss, four days tinkering with my own project, when a call came through, "Can you drop everything, go down South this week and do some pattern making on a National Trust historic building, it’s just two days work and don’t forget that you're flying out Sunday afternoon to fit two more of the UV protective sunshields that your sail loft manufactured to another National Trust property". Mount Stewart on the shores of Strangford Loch, the ancestral home of Lord Londonderry, is being ‘fitted’ with a series of sunshields to prevent UV from damaging priceless oil paintings in the galleries below. So when Claire, one of our IT experts, asked when she could expect my draft Top Tips today she was met with an oh...... sugar lumps or worse!

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    Anyway here goes, this time of year it’s worth checking out the mast and boom for any signs of corrosion behind a stainless fitting, be it still standing or removed, likewise alloy stanchions and their bases especially if a stainless bolt or split pin has been used to secure the post to the socket. Correct procedure is to always use a barrier between dissimilar metals such as aluminium and stainless. Tefgel or Duralac are my first choices, however I have also used Forespar Lanocote with success.

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    If you lift out in the winter and then remove the mast, make sure you remove both the standing and running rigging. So many times have I seen stainless standing rigging casually wrapped round a horizontal spar which can result in a ‘line’ of corrosion down the mast! As for wrapping the spar in polythene, its not a good idea. Instead wash down with fresh water then apply (assuming spar is alloy) a protective coat of either Hempel Alu-Protect or Yachticon metal polish. If its lying on a set of trestles or a mast rack its easy to check for signs of corrosion behind stainless fittings. If there are telltale signs of corrosion remove the fitting and if its only mild, clean the surface apply the barrier and make sure your replace and remember, if fastened with rivets use monel not alloy! If the corrosion is more severe, check with the mast manufacturer as to their suggested course of action.

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