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Vertically Adjusting Mast Step

Discussion in 'Trailer Sailors' started by LeeandRick, Jan 12, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. LeeandRick


    Joined Apr 26, 2015
    375 posts, 116 likes
    S2 26 Mid
    US Lake Havasu
    Maybe I should change my screen name to "AnotherCrazyThought" but you folks gave me a lot of food for thought on my trailer so here goes. In my quest to make a very large trailerable boat (S2 8.0C), as easy and fast to setup as possible, how about a mast step that could be reduced in height to slack the rig tension. This would allow pulling head stay and forward lower pins without adjusting the turnbuckles. I've thought about quick release levers but it is difficult to get one under a roller furling drum so the drum is close to the deck. I'm planning to build a new short tabernacle style mast step that pivots on the same axis with the side stays, to eliminate loosening those turnbuckles, so I could fab other ideas into this project. The ultimate compression load is around 3000lbs before something else breaks. Working load is about 1000 lbs. I already know it's lunacy :banghead: to change something that sorta works so any constructive ideas will be appreciated.:)

  2. topcat0399


    Joined Aug 22, 2011
    990 posts, 67 likes
    MacGregor Venture V224
    US Cheeseland
    Are you using a gin pole?

    I don't know your boat but I never ease the tension on the shrouds
    or unpin them when lowering the mast for trailering.
    The only thing that is disconnected is the for-stay.
    All other running lines are slacked and the whole mess pushed forward
    to the pulpit and everything tied up to the mast.
    I don't neaten anything, it stays as it fell.
    I have found that this is the quickest method for raising and lowering
    even if it is not the nicest looking on the trailer.


    jwilcoxon78 likes this.
  3. LeeandRick


    Joined Apr 26, 2015
    375 posts, 116 likes
    S2 26 Mid
    US Lake Havasu
    I have parallel side stays with fore and aft lowers. Swept spreader and side stays like you have is much easier. I do use a gin pole since I single hand mast raising/lowering. If I could lower the mast forward I could eliminate one of my issues (furler drum height) but my truck camper does not allow going forward.

  4. Jackdaw


    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    8,769 posts, 2,100 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    Race boats do this all the time; it makes the pre-race adjustment of rig tension an all-in-one snap. On simple boats (like this Rocket 22) its a screw jack. It easily supports the rig pressure, and would for your boat as well. Ifs its worth the time and effort; your call.


    Crazy Dave Condon and LloydB like this.
  5. LeeandRick


    Joined Apr 26, 2015
    375 posts, 116 likes
    S2 26 Mid
    US Lake Havasu
    Time and effort is what I have in abundance being retired Jack. I've raced on a boat or two with this setup but the mast was keel stepped and or went through partners of some sort. If I can figure a way to do this in the confines of a mast step/tabernacle setup and make it quick to adjust, it would solve the issue. Using an open end wrench in a box making 1/6 of a turn each pull would be slow. Thanks for the picture and input Jack.

  6. BudGates


    Joined Apr 19, 2012
    1,006 posts, 114 likes
    Macgregor 26d
    US Ridgecrest CA
    Something like this may help.


  7. dscribner


    Joined Nov 9, 2008
    1,328 posts, 40 likes
    Pearson-O'Day 290
    US Portland Maine
    Just get a Johnson Lever and mount it in one of your stays. As soon as you poop the lever, the stays become slack enough to pull the pins. If your boat geometry is similar to mine, as soon as the mast begins to lean, the shrouds become slack and useless. We don't even adjust them once it's up. Raise the mast, throw the lever . . . done!

    waterpirate likes this.
  8. LeeandRick


    Joined Apr 26, 2015
    375 posts, 116 likes
    S2 26 Mid
    US Lake Havasu
    I've had boats where that worked well. This boat has a furler so you can't get to the forestay turnbuckle. It has a Dwyer mast step that hinges a full inch behind the mast which tightens the side stays (spreaders are not swept back) as the mast goes back . I have to drop aft because I tow with a truck camper. Sooo to get the mast down you have to loosen every turnbuckle except the forestay, forward lowers to pull pins, side stay due to mast pivot point, aft lower and backstay to allow mast to move forward to pull forestay pin. PIA! I would need 7 Highfield levers and there associated problems.

    When I build the new mast step I'm doing what the big boats do and put (removable) hydraulic cylinders on both sides of the mast, a hand pump, and shim under the mast. I would go internal cylinder but there is not enough room inside the mast at the base. This will allow me to release rig tension if I'm not sailing for several days (43 year old boats likes this) and pull any pin when shims are removed for mast drop. Yes, I will have a pressure gauge on the hydraulics and a stop on the mast step, that keeps me from going extreme over tension on the rig.

    Dennis Kitchen likes this.
  9. Daveinet


    Joined Sep 20, 2014
    847 posts, 139 likes
    Rob Legg RL24
    US Chain O'Lakes
    I just use the jib halyard and cleat it to the bow pulpit. A couple of cranks on the winch pulls it forward hard enough to remove the tension from the forestay.

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