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23.5 mast stepping

Aug 18, 2019
30
Hunter 23.5 Dania Beach, Florida
I researched (ad nauseam) how to step the mast before attempting it the first time. I’m using a factory crutch attached to the stern, a gin pole, the job halyard, a block and tackle, and two stabilizing cables (one on each side of the mast). My wife and I hooked it all up and with big smiles on our faces I began to pull on the block and tackle that was attached to the eye in the anchor locker in the bow. The mast didn’t budge. We picked up the mast out of the crutch to make sure nothing was binding. Everything was free. I pulled with more force and still nothing. We stopped to research more before forcing anything.

I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t simply a matter of needing more force and with it being my first time me being afraid to apply it. I pulled with enough force that I would’ve dragged a pick up tire across dry grass if there were a rope tied to it. How much force should I be applying when I pull on the block and tackle? (I realize it may be hard to describe.)
 
Jun 2, 2004
605
Hunter 23.5 Calgary, Canada
I'm not very strong (6ft tall at 145 lbs) , and on my H23.5 I can lift the mast with one arm and my body "weight" leaning aft to help. The first bit of raising is by far the hardest, so it helps if there is a person at the stern to help lift the mast the first foot or so (as high as her arms will reach) above the mast crutch. Hmmm, now that I think of it I might pull on the last loop of mainsheet (the loop that exits the cleat at the bottom), between the two blocks, while using the other hand to gather up the slack on the other side of the cleat. This bypasses the friction of that last sheeve and the cleat. Nevermind if that doesn't make sense...lol.
You should use the mainsheet as the "block and tackle". It's a 4-to-1 purchase. The end with the cleat is attached to the U-bolt in the anchor well.
When everything is attached and the gin pole is inserted into the hole, harden the mainsheet and jib halyard (that's attached to the gin pole) such that when both are snug the gin pole is angled aft about 10 degrees. If it's vertical or foreward, the two ends of the mainsheet will be touching before the mast is fully raised enough to pin the forestay.

IMPORTANT: as the mast gets near vertical and the shrouds start to snug, have somebody checking the T-bolts that attach the shrouds to the U-bolts ("chainplates") on the rub rails. They will bind and bend if you don't help them remain vertical. I had to replace all 4 of mine (the previous owner hadn't heard this advice). The white plastic boots that go over the turnbuckles can help keep them upright, but don't rely on that. Keep checking as the mast goes up.

On my boat, I can't get the forestay pin in without opening the forestay turnbuckle to the very last threads, then re-tightening afterwards. I asked about that here years ago and nobody else had this issue. Maybe my shrouds are too tight (too much rake?) but my mast rarely comes down so I didn't ever revisit the tuning of my rig.
 
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Sep 30, 2016
244
Hunter 23.5 Oasis Patoka Lake, IN
As mentioned, definitely use the main sheet and pulley setup. Have a friend help lift the mast initially. They don’t need to be able to lift the mast, just to give it a boost up. The initial pull is hard but it gets easy quick. Lowering the mast is not a problem. And definitely have the mast pole angled toward the mast tip. The pulleys will come together before the mast is fully up if you don’t. And as mentioned above, about 3/4 of the way up check the shrouds that they aren’t binding. They will bend if you keep pulling.
Also note: if you have your boom vang you need to be sure and get the (can’t think of the name right now) thing that the vang attaches to on the mast pin as you insert it.
 
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Aug 8, 2015
11
Hunter 23.5 Lake Nockamixon
I do not need a lot of force to get mine up. I can lift it up and yes, it needs a little force when it is down on the crutch and gets easier as you step it up. It feels like something is off. I have had people video me doing it as they can believe I set the boat up myself. If you go over how you set it up, maybe we can come up with something to help. Maybe not enough force. I do make sure to life either my knees as my back appreciates it so maybe it needs more force than I think.
 
Aug 18, 2019
30
Hunter 23.5 Dania Beach, Florida
Thank you for the reply. We first tried to use the boom vang but it was too short. I think the PO modified it to have less clutter in the cockpit. I then used a two pulley set up that was in a pile of stuff that came with the boat. However, it’s design gives me much less mechanical advantage. That may be why I’m having to pull so much harder. I’ll rig something else up tomorrow that gives more advantage like the vang would and give it a try.
 
Aug 8, 2015
11
Hunter 23.5 Lake Nockamixon
The boom vang would be hard to do it. I use the main sheet. Works pretty well. You are hooked to the jib halyard on other side right?
 
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Aug 18, 2019
30
Hunter 23.5 Dania Beach, Florida
The boom vang would be hard to do it. I use the main sheet. Works pretty well. You are hooked to the jib halyard on other side right?
I’m sorry. I misspoke (mistyped?). I was using the main sheet but it was too short. I’m going to have to lengthen it.
And yes, the jib halyard is on the other side.
 
Aug 8, 2015
11
Hunter 23.5 Lake Nockamixon
I bought the line from the hunter owner store and it worked great. A little pricy but worked out well and was made exactly as needed.
 
Aug 18, 2019
30
Hunter 23.5 Dania Beach, Florida
Sorry for the multiple posts.

Because the two in the above pictures were too short, I went with the rig I found in the pile of stuff. However, it’s only 2:1. I believe therein lies my problem.

I sincerely appreciate the input from all of you. I believe we found the problem.
 
Aug 8, 2015
11
Hunter 23.5 Lake Nockamixon
The second one you posed looks like the one I have. It extends maybe 7 feet or so which is enough to hook it up. That is what I use with success. If it is not long enough, try the line from the store here. First one I have not seen but maybe a replacement for the main sheet?
 
Aug 18, 2019
30
Hunter 23.5 Dania Beach, Florida
The second one you posed looks like the one I have. It extends maybe 7 feet or so which is enough to hook it up. That is what I use with success. If it is not long enough, try the line from the store here. First one I have not seen but maybe a replacement for the main sheet?
My longer one (9 feet) should work then but it didn’t reach.

I believe the PO cut the rope on the one like yours. The whole unit is just over 5 feet long when completely extended.

Here it is extended:
 

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Jun 2, 2004
2,914
Hunter 23.5 Fort Walton Yacht Club, Florida
Make sure the gin pole is about 10 to 15 degrees off of plumb towards the stern. The first couple of feet are a little tough but it gets easier as you go. Someone helping to start the mast up initially helps also if you are doing it on the trailer to park facing downhill.

Pictures of the rig as you have it setup would help to make sure you've got it properly set.
 
Aug 18, 2019
30
Hunter 23.5 Dania Beach, Florida
Make sure the gin pole is about 10 to 15 degrees off of plumb towards the stern. The first couple of feet are a little tough but it gets easier as you go. Someone helping to start the mast up initially helps also if you are doing it on the trailer to park facing downhill.

Pictures of the rig as you have it setup would help to make sure you've got it properly set.
I’ll post some pictures tomorrow during round 2.
 
Jun 2, 2004
2,914
Hunter 23.5 Fort Walton Yacht Club, Florida
My longer one (9 feet) should work then but it didn’t reach.

I believe the PO cut the rope on the one like yours. The whole unit is just over 5 feet long when completely extended.

Here it is extended:
Looks like the line was shortened. I have two block and tackle setups because there is so much extra line after the mast is up and the main sheet is moved back to the boom. It should be long enough that the blocks are attached to the gin pole and the eyebolt in the anchor locker plus about 4 to 6 feet
 
Aug 18, 2019
30
Hunter 23.5 Dania Beach, Florida
Looks like the line was shortened. I have two block and tackle setups because there is so much extra line after the mast is up and the main sheet is moved back to the boom. It should be long enough that the blocks are attached to the gin pole and the eyebolt in the anchor locker plus about 4 to 6 feet

I agree it must’ve been shortened. I have nowhere near that much line.

Is the second one I posted the factory mainsheet? It seems light weight.

When you say you have two, do you use one for mast stepping and the other as your mainsheet?