taking the mast down

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by vidalia, Apr 15, 2019. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,878 posts, 1,838 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    The bare mast may weigh only 100 #, but you have to add the weight of the standing rigging, the spreaders, the running rigging, any wiring, and if you have roller furling add that weight.

    My first boat was 22 ft. with a mast of about 25 ft. I put that mast up once and down once without a gin pole. It was much easier and safer to pay the marina a few bucks and have it done in 10 minutes instead of several hours.

    With my current boat, we were just getting ready to put the mast up (a 55' mast) when the yard worker ran his fingernail along the upper shroud and found a cracked wire. Of course it was the Thursday afternoon before a long Independence Day weekend and the nearest rigging shop was 3 hours away.
     


    jssailem likes this.
  2. Afrakes

    Afrakes

    Joined Jan 15, 2012
    86 posts, 17 likes
    Ericson 28/2
    US Port Kent
    I raise and lower my 40ft. mast, twice every year, alone. I have invested about $1000.00 in gear and that again in design and construction hours to allow me to do this. Regardless it is dangerous and I always do it far away from anyone or anything that might get hurt. I do it because I like to stick to my tight schedule and don't like waiting around for someone else to do a sloppy job. Have the yard do it and get on with it. The price is fair.
     


  3. MitchM

    MitchM

    Joined Jan 20, 2005
    762 posts, 121 likes
    Nauticat 321 pilothouse 32
    US Erie PA
    as a group we used to raise and drop the masts each season on 3 30 ft catalinas and a 1980 seafarer using a gin pole and 4 fellow owners . it was not a job for the faint of heart. we had a custom fitting made to run under the mast spreaders to the block on the gin pole. we installed two temporary rope handles, one at mast foot, one tied to mast top to control the mast swing . we had a man on each rope handle, 1 guy on the gin pole crank and one guy as captain making sure no one else was gonna screw up. . it took us about 3 hours on a calm wind day. this was not a job for tyros.
     


  4. Joe Blizzard

    Joe Blizzard

    Joined Feb 5, 2009
    194 posts, 35 likes
    Gloucester 20
    US Kanawha River, Winfield, WV
    Sometimes I'm thankful that my boat is small.
     


  5. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    411 posts, 81 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    For my trailer sailor I rigged up an ATV winch to raise and lower the mast. I still assist it by hand to help keep that immense amount of stress of of the mast step screws. I've also thought about attaching a line from the mast to the back of my truck and slowly pulling it up. This would obviously require a hand or two on deck.

    I know someone with a Catalina 27 Tall Mast that uses an A frame he built to lower and raise his mast. It's got padded feet to protect and grip the cabin top and I believe there's a bow roller on the top. So long as the wind isnt blowing too hard and there's a couple of hands to assist, he has no problem stepping it in the marina. I'm told everyone is amazed at how easy it is
     


  6. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    3,878 posts, 1,838 likes
    Sabre 362
    113 US Fair Haven, NY
    Stepping a deck stepped mast on a boat is not technically challenging, especially if the boat has a hinged tabernacle or mast step. There are 2 critical issues, 1) stabilizing the mast athwartship so that it doesn't come crashing down over the side and 2) getting the angle of the line lifting the mast so that the force exerted on the line is more vertical than horizontal.

    On smaller boats, the mast can be muscled up high enough to achieve the right angle or on larger boats the spin pole can be used to change the angle or an A-Frame on the foredeck.

    Still, I'd much rather have the yard pick the mast up with a shore based gin pole or a crane. It is faster, easier, and safer.
     


  7. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    411 posts, 81 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    I totally agree. This A frame was done properly. I can't remember if he used a gin pole but he did change the angle somehow
     


  8. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    9,590 posts, 4,306 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    While this is a possible, a hinged tabernacle may not be reinforced to handle any twisting forces. Caution is advised. Rigging the mast gin pole to raise the mast in line and prevent it from leaning either port/starboard is essential to not ripping the tabernacle out.
     


  9. topcat0399

    topcat0399

    Joined Aug 22, 2011
    1,106 posts, 129 likes
    MacGregor Venture V224
    US Cheeseland
    My mast is every bit as heavy as his is and I raise and lower the mast on the water regularly by my self.
    The main sheet and back stay tackle make excellent adjustable baby stays. Here it is half up. Just sayin...

    IMG_20180803_190406.jpg
     


  10. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    9,590 posts, 4,306 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Topcat. You are addressing the issue I suggest as needed. You have a couple of significant blocks and tackle to maintain balance. Should one of those blocks blow out it will become a challenge...

    It is all about the geometry.
     


  11. Charlie Jones s/v Tehani

    Charlie Jones s/v Tehani

    Joined Mar 1, 2012
    1,748 posts, 706 likes
    1961 Rhodes Meridian 25
    us Texas coast
    on both my boats I use gin poles, and add baby stays to stabilize side to side. With a 4 part tackle onto the jib halyard. On the 21 I can do it alone, raise or lower, in about 15 minutes, quite easily.

    On the 25, with it's 28 foot wooden mast and a socket to sit the end into, no bolt thru, It takes at least three people to do it safely. Oh, and it lowers forward, so some one on the dock stands by to take the mast head, often from a ladder.
     


    jssailem likes this.
  12. sailme88

    sailme88

    Joined Jan 19, 2010
    194 posts, 64 likes
    Catalina Catalina 34
    US Casco Bay
    Vidalia, welcome aboard. The club that I'm part of has a crane that we use to step and unstep masts. I am the lead person for the crane ops. so I can speak with some authority. You need a person for the head stay, a person for the back stay, a person for the butt of the mast and in. PERFECT WORLD one from each set of shrouds. That's 5 on the deck of a 26 ft boat. In a cradle you can tie control lines onto the shrouds and stays and control them from the ground. This same action can happen at a slip if it isn't too wide. So you'll need a crew... not your brother in law who hates to sail, and not someone who reads SAIL in the dentist's office.
    Now, it sounds as if you haven't done this before or at least have little experience with this boat. Rough lessons could be in your future.
    Take the advise you've been given. Bite the bullet and have the yard take care of it. Another crucial element of this evolution is the securing of the mast for road transport. Good luck !
     


  13. Timm R Oday25

    Timm R Oday25

    Joined Mar 2, 2019
    15 posts, 5 likes
    Oday 25
    Enigma US Milwaukee
    I regularily drop and raise the mast of our Oday 25 by myself . It's a tree trunk . I can drop the mast with the boat in the water . It is far easier and safer to do it when the boat is on the trailer . The system we use can be easily adapted to any deck stepped boat. The important part of our system is we can stop in either direction to attend to errand side stays . Also important is we have a system to keep the mast from swinging off center . Total cost was less than $50.00
    If you aren't willing to do many of the neccesary boat owner tasks that lay ahead ,boat ownership can get expensive .
     


  14. Joe Blizzard

    Joe Blizzard

    Joined Feb 5, 2009
    194 posts, 35 likes
    Gloucester 20
    US Kanawha River, Winfield, WV
     


  15. Project_Mayhem

    Project_Mayhem

    Joined Sep 24, 2018
    411 posts, 81 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Waukegan
    Is there any chance you could share your design?
     


  16. Charlie Jones s/v Tehani

    Charlie Jones s/v Tehani

    Joined Mar 1, 2012
    1,748 posts, 706 likes
    1961 Rhodes Meridian 25
    us Texas coast
    First- Hi Tim- welcome back home. Here's pictures of the rig I use

    The gin pole
    Mast end- fork that straddles mast and has a bolt thru it ginpole mast.jpg

    The outer end- Jib halyard hooks to upper fitting, 4 part tackle to lower
    ginpole end.jpg

    Baby stays
    babystays.jpg

    Mast attachment

    babystay-mast.jpg babystay-mast.jpg

    deck attachment
    babystay-deck.jpg

    And the hoisting tackle- this attaches to fore deck cleat, and the fall can be led back to the cockpit. It has a cam cleat
    so can be stopped at any point

    hoisting tackle.jpg

    and the mast crutch it lands in. It has a roller so the mast can be easily rolled into place
    mast-crutch.jpg

    This iis all on the 21 footer. The 25 is much more difficult, and takes at least three to do it safely
     


  17. BrianRobin

    BrianRobin

    Joined Dec 31, 2016
    252 posts, 94 likes
    Beneteau Oceanis 351
    Ca Charlottetown
    It's not the weight of the mast as much as the length you have to worry about . Standing beside it with nothing holding it up but a couple of people can be un nerving and then you have a wind or breeze come up. Nope, not for me, too much risk for a few bucks saved, we use a crane for our 351 and used our club crane for our old San Juan.
     




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