Anodized mast?


E38 owner since 2009
Hi there,

we just pulled to mast on our 89 38-200 and the paint is quite faded, especially in the front. It has a Kenyon rig and I was wondering if anybody know if the spars were anodized for the year.


Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
My '85 boat mast was anodized black. Looked like paint, but wasn't. Paint likely has some bubbling going on around stainless fittings, or will scrap off in a test area. Ballenger Spars has a good product to bring back anodizing, but you have to call them to order it.


E38 owner since 2009
Thanks Christian! Our mast is white and I’m wondering if they were still anodizing the white masts in 89. I read about the Ballenger product in the threads and will look into it once I confirm that my mast is anodized. I’m pretty sure it is. Just want a second opinion :)


Well-Known Member
Discovery (1983 E-30+) also has a white (at one time) mast. I just dropped them an email after reading this entry to ask for product information.

Most likely I would have to have the entire mast anodized because it is mostly bare aluminum today.

This most likely will be a prohibitive cost, but asking questions does not cost anything.


Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
There are good threads here about mast painting. It's very expensive by boatyards (8K minimum), but members have successfully done it themselves for little more than time. The trick is to find a workspace. I'm not aware of anybody re-anodizing an old mast.

Tin Kicker

Well-Known Member
Mark -

I used Almag Plating in Baltimore to strip and anodize my corroded window frames before powder coating and they came out looking like brand new parts. They said that they do black Teflon anodizing for the USCG boats and it's the best protection for sea water exposure. The only down sides are a slightly higher cost and you can't paint over the Teflon coating.

However, because a part has to be submerged in a bath to anodize it'll be hard to find someplace with a long enough bath to do a mast.

Chesapeake Coatings (Balt) does have a really long oven if you want to see if they can do the mast. Go in person to check it out and ask if they'll give you a cash price.


The hidden part of the frame was pretty anodized.


(Rub rail repair in process)

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Well-Known Member
Painting aluminum properly is an involved project with some of the early steps under time constraints. I've done it successfully on two masts and I felt the results were worth the effort and expense.

The painting process I used followed LeFiell's protocol (LeFiell was a mast manufacturer). My modifications/additions are in red.
  • Strip all hardware to raw extrusion
  • Tap sheet metal screw holes for future machine screws - no sheet metal screws on finished product
  • Sand lightly with 220 grit for smoothness
  • Soap and water wash
    **The following steps are time critical, must be done within 1/2 hour of each other**
  • Acid wash with Alumiprep 33
  • Apply Alodine conversion coating
  • Apply strontium chromate primer (NOT zinc chromate)
    **End time critical operations**
  • Apply suitable primer for top coat
  • Wet sand primer with 320 grit
  • Apply 2 part polyurethane paint per the manufacturer's application guide
  • Apply minimum 3 coats paste wax
  • Reassemble with NOALOX on all fasteners and silicone rubber gaskets under all foot mounted hardware

The timed operations are to prevent the formation of oxides during the clean raw aluminum period. NOALOX is an anti-oxidant compound used in the electrical industry on aluminum wire connections. It virtually eliminates dissimilar metals problems and is readily available at Home Depot. The silicone rubber gaskets (material available from McMaster-Carr) prevent moisture from collecting under foot mounted hardware like winches and spreader brackets.

Alumiprep 33, Alodine and chromate primer are available at Aircraft Spruce (California, Georgia and Canada).


Active Member
I am a perfectionist by trade, but will share a different mast painting experience for what it's worth.

In the mid-90s a 20 something me bought a 1977 Catalina 30 tall rig that was cosmetically neglected but structurally sound. It fit nicely in my recent college grad budget, and I lived aboard it for 6 years.

The anodized mast was in beyond awful condition... basically a complete patina of corrosion. The aesthetics bothered me a lot. So over the course of a long weekend I took down the mast and painted it. All I did was:
- Strip all the hardware that would come off (required a good impact tool and PB Blaster spray)
- Sanded with 120 grit
- Treated with Alumiprep
- Rolled and tipped on 2 coats of Brightsides one part polyurethane
(Note: I believe these were the brightsides instructions for painting aluminum at the time, no primer was required)
- Re-installed all hardware rebedding with Tef-Gel

22 years later the finish is still reasonably good. The only places where paint is missing is whether the mast was scraped when the boat was shipped back and forth across the country.

Not recommending this approach, but offer it as an example of how mast painting is pretty doable and forgiving.

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
+1 for Brightside (Interlux one-part paint). All my hidden belowdecks are painted with it now, including the bilge. For under lazarette lids and the anchor locker, holds up well (Hatteras off-white, a beige very similar to whatever Ericson used). Dinghy is painted with it, too (white).

It cures rock hard and very shiny. Prep is standard. Goes on in thin coats, so usually two or three required. Painted a boom with it once (black). Excellent result.


E38 owner since 2009
Thanks for all your replies! I figured that the mast was anodized and 99% in good shape. So I did not want to remove the anodization since this just is the best thing that could be on there. I found a paint that's specially formulated for anodized aluminum ( So that's what we used in combination with a 2 component clear coat ( For the areas where the anodization was compromized we used the Alumiprep/Alodine treatment followed by an aluminum primer. Material cost was about $500 and 3 weekends of work. We'll see how long it lasts :)



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Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Anodizing, and Pictures, and Software, oh My !

Not sure why the images show up rotated after uploading. Any thoughts?
There are some recent threads on this problem. The site software iteration has not been able to handle photos u/l from i-devices. Sean is now bringing the software up to date, and this small irritation should soon -hopefully - be history.

I do all of my picture uploads form my desktop computer and have not had this problem, FWIW.

Speculation (no proof) is that the 'meta data' that attaches to images saved from phones and tablets is slightly different than the information the site software looks for.

I can straighten out the images, BTW.

**Side Bar: this mammoth site, with all of its archival material, is managed by Sean. We all chip in, this time of year, to pay his $ out-of-pocket expenses. We do this cheerfully to maintain this little quiet corner of the sailing part of the internet where there is NO advertising or commercial activity at all. Nada. None. Zip.
Personally, I find it refreshing!


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