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The original mast on my boat had had the same problem when I bought it. It had been caused by corrosion weakening the area around the stainless strap attachment at the base of the mast (galvanic corrosion?). The problem was resolved by attaching the kicker to a shackle attached to the mast step and not to the mast at all. This worked fine, even with high kicker loads, but did leave two ugly holes where the strap had been. I have renewed the mast since and have never had any qualms about applying a full load to the kicker. How hard is a full load? With my 12:1 kicker it is as hard as I can pull it and that is quite hard.