Welcome to the UKWA Home Page Forums Technical Mast float – which size?

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    Nick Collingridge

    I have been looking at mast floats for my newly-acquired Wayfarer Mk 2, and although I have found a number of references to them being a Good Thing, nowhere have I seen any suggestion of what volume is needed to stop a Wayfarer inverting. The common sizes for the inflatable (Secumar) floats are 20 or 40 litres – which one will be suitable in most weather conditions? Would a 9 litre foam float be sufficient?

    Dave Barker

    Hi Nick,

    This is covered – to an extent – in an article in the Technical section of this website under the heading Capsize Recovery & Buoyancy. Anything is better than nothing, and the conditions, your fitness and the proximity or otherwise of rescue facilities will all potentially influence your decision.

    It’s a good question – let us know what you decide.

    Nick Collingridge

    Thanks for the reply, but it was in fact that article which largely prompted my question! It is not clear about which size it is best to go for.

    Would 20 litres be enough to stop the boat inverting? 8 litres is clearly not enough, while 30 litres was enough until someone tried to “balance along the mast”!

    Assuming one doesn’t expect to be doing something like that, would the boat stay on its side rather than invert with 20 litres? I just can’t work out the answer from what the article says and hence my question.


    Aeroluffspars sell a 35 litre sail head buoyancy bag which I have seen being tested at my sailing club and in calm flat water it was possible to walk out along the mast nearly up to the spreaders.  This amount of buoyancy should be sufficient for most eventualities in a MK 2 boat.  Nine litres on a Wayfarer World or a MK4 would not stop an inversion in strong winds and waves. Nine litres on a MK1 woodie might give you a little bit of time to get onto the centreboard it depends on how heavy, fit and agile you are.  The only way for you to be sure is to get lots of 5 litre bottles and tie them to the top of the mast, capsize your boat and see how it performs. I suppose I ought to say do the testing whilst under the supervision of someone in a support boat but do your own risk assessment.

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