Topic: Mast step removal

If I may be so bold as to offer a suggestion:  rather than remove the mast steps why not trade masts with someone who does not have such steps.  They gain the steps and you gain a stronger mast.  It could also save both parties a lot of work!

Re: Mast step removal

Don't worry about compromising the strength of the mast.  You would have to drill a helluva lot of holes (and all in one place) to weaken it.
When painting my mast last year, there were many holes to fill.  I used West epoxy with aluminum powder added.  The powder is a West product that I got from a friend in the glass biz.  You mix it with a touch of silica into a stiff paste. I over-drilled the holes and then opened them up with a countersink and then added the goop. 

We did a "test" routine first using a piece of aluminum and checked the strength after curing. Beating on ten holes, with a hammer, didn't loosen anything.  I also tried to pop them out, from the back, using a punch and that didn't work.

Re: Mast step removal

After a pleasant summer of sailing my newly acquired boat, I have a few modifications planned with which I need some help/advice.  For the sake of thread clarity, I will enter them one at a time.

The boat has mast steps which are going to be removed.  I sail with my 21 year old son, who is an avid rock climber, and he has no qualms about going up with a bosuns chair, if needed.  The steps occasionally catch the main halyard and obviously add additional weight. And I don't like the way they look.

My question has to do with filling the holes.  I could, I suppose, just replace the screws or bolts in the holes, but I was hoping for something a little cleaner looking that that.  Do I need to be concerned with strength of the rig when filling these holes?  It may be a simple minded question, and not the last, but I have read cautionary suggestions elsewhere about minimizing the number of penetrations in your mast for just this reason.

Please save any well intentioned suggestions concerning keeping the mast steps in place for whomever buys them from me.