I’ve been looking at the mast on my ‘73 41’ Commander. Would it have originally been bare wood with varnish? Or was it painted from the factory?

Can’t help but think a varnished mast would look better.

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I own the same boat, had the same thought. My mast is not wood, it’s fiberglass. Gave it a good sanding and a fresh coat of paint. Looks great!

Joe Marino

On my '73 41' Commander, the first owner sold the mast because it was too tall for a low railroad bridge near the marina. Years later, I found its owner who never used it and bought it back. Because the same low railroad bridge is still in the way, I shortened it, fairly easily. It's basically two fiberglass halves bonded together with a hollow center. A few coats of Interlux Perfection 2 Part Polyurethane matching the hull color and it looks great.

Hopefully you didn't shorten it too much:  per https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=annex_1Intl

"The masthead light of a power-driven vessel of 12 meters but less than 20 meters in length shall be placed at a height above the gunwale of not less than 2.5 meters."

In other places, I've read that the masthead light has to be one meter above the sidelights.  That said, If you're close to either requirement, I doubt anyone is going to board you for measurements.

Not a problem as the previous owner installed a fold-down combo masthead/all-round light on top of the flybridge. It's down all the time, as here on the Erie Canal some bridges are only at 15'8" at high water and that's not good for a 16' tall Commander. Anyway, the light works, though I haven't needed it in 25 years.

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