Highlander Rigging Roundup
"Beef up Your Butt"
By: Mike Perakis
Although the rattling mast butt fitting makes for a pleasant cow bell effect when traveling to and from the yacht club or regatta, it doesn't make for a speedy mast. Most butt fittings are in need of a bit of tweaking and will benefit from a little TLC.
If you take a close look at the butt fitting, you will probably see (or hear) that it rattles on the bottom of the mast. Even though you've tuned the mast, if the butt fitting is loose, the mast won't bend correctly as the butt fitting hits the deck before the mast bends the way we want it to. In the worst case, the fitting actually breaks all of the rivets or screws and falls off the bottom of the mast. This is definitely not cool.
Using a small stainless steel chainplate, you can refit the butt fitting so it NEVER loosens up again. The first step is to drill out all of the rivets or screws and straighten out the bottom edge of the mast with a file. The areas under the rivet holes will have deformed and possibly broken, allowing the slop in the butt fitting. Next, file a slot/groove/recess/divot into the front and bottom of the butt fitting to allow the chainplate to fit flush to the bottom of the fitting. Then, drill hole in the chainplate and mast for two new all stainless steel rivets. Install the butt fitting with new rivets in all of the old holes, bend the chainplate under the butt fitting and drill a hole for a screw up into the bottom of the butt fitting.
You can now get rid of the "Rattle Butt" nickname and start bending you mast the way you want to. See you, but not hear you, on the water.