Shrink Wrapping a Sailboat - Mast Down
Covering a sailboat mast up can seem like a very daunting proposition at first, but it takes only a couple of more steps than shrinkwrapping a mast down boat. Following the directions below and watching the training video at least twice will minimize any problems.
- Install your strapping fore and aft on the boat from the highest points at the bow and stern. The strapping will be tied around the mast from the stern and then around the mast from the bow (if the boom is left on, it can become part of the support structure aft of the mast, but you must put a 2” x 4” upright under the rear of the boom to give it strength). Pull the strapping tight as you normally would, measure and install your wooden uprights as on a mast down boat, put your lateral straps over the wooden uprights, or boom, and pad them.
- Install the perimeter band following the video instructions.
- Go aboard the boat with a 25’ tape measure. Measure from the mast back to the farthest point aft (top of the stern rail). To this figure add 2 feet which will extend aft of the mast and 4 feet that will drape over the bow (a total of 6 extra feet).
- Now measure from the mast forward (top of the bow rail or pulpit). To this figure add on 2 feet which will extend aft of the mast and 4 feet that will drape over the bow (a total of 6 extra feet).
- Next cut your roll of shrinkwrap the measurement from the mast back. Roll it up and take it onto the boat. Lay the roll over the support structure or boom and open it enough to measure and find the center. Make a 2’ lengthwise slit in the shrinkwrap at the center of the wrap. This slit area will be wrapped around the mast to form a collar. Once you have a collar formed, take the roll of heat shrink tape and go around the collar twice very tightly (do not stick tape directly to the mast as there might be an adhesive residue in the spring).
- Unroll the aft section of shrinkwrap towards the stern (do not unfold its entire width yet; the wind might catch it). Go aft as far as possible, until you run into the aft stays. Now you can unfold the shrinkwrap and have it lay as straight fore and aft, and side to side, as possible. Using your wrap cutting knife make slits in the shrinkwrap up to stays and halyards. They should be as neat as possible. Use strips of heat shrink tape to seal them and then apply heat to warm the adhesives (press tape down firmly to remove all air bubbles).
- Trim and tuck the shrinkwrap under the perimeter band on the boat so that wind doesn’t catch it.
- Now the shrinkwrap piece at the bow can be attached. It is done in a similar fashion as the aft piece. Place the measured piece of wrap just forward of the mast; find the center and slice into it 2 feet. Make a collar around the mast tightly and tape around it. Unroll the wrap toward the bow up to the forestay. Slice the wrap to the forestay and roll it over the bow. Tape the slit together and unfold the shrinkwrap.
- Run a strip of tape from the mast down to each side of the shrinkwrap where the forward and aft pieces meet. Use the heat tool to warm the adhesives in the tape and actually heat weld the pieces of shrink wrap together.
10. Trim and tuck the forward piece under the perimeter band. Shrinkwrap the boat according to video.