8.0 mast stepping

Apr 14, 2014
S2 8.0a 26' Cape Coral, FL
I've been searching for a good mast stepping setup/procedure related to the 8.0 but so far, no joy.
Can anyone point me to a good write up or video.
8.0 manual does have a mast stepping section but not very explanative.
Apr 14, 2014
S2 8.0a 26' Cape Coral, FL
Mast is up!

Spent 3 days outfitting a gin-pole system in the unbelievably hot florida sun.
With some help I stepped the mast up fairly easy. Have some tweaks to make in the system so i can do it by myself.
After I got all the standing rigging pinned, i found that the starboard front baby stay is to long by about 2 inches which i find strange. I'm wondering if the previous owner had replace that particular shroud because it looks a little newer.
Should all the baby shrouds be same overall length?
When the mast was down, I removed and re-installed all the stays and may have swapped the babies from one side to the other.
Tonight i will run a tap measure up and see what they all measure from the plate to the deck hold.
Apr 14, 2014
S2 8.0a 26' Cape Coral, FL
Looks like I'm talking to myself here but thats nothing new. After looking at the 8.0a owners manual i find that the aft baby stays are over 2 inches longer than the forward. Looks like i'm gonna have to climb up and switch them around. That should be fun.


Jan 14, 2011
S2 11.0a Holland, MI
You aren't talking to yourself. I owned an 8.0b for many years, but fortunately I had brothers and the three of us managed each spring and fall to raise and lower the mast. We did it at the dock as opposed to on the trailer. Fitted the hinge then used long lines and brute strength to push and pull it into place. Enjoy the boat, I have many happy memories of mine. Gayle Toben


Jun 10, 2004
S2 9.2A Winthrop, MA
Tough in summer. Everyone is busy. Sorry you aren't getting much input. From what I can tell there aren't many 8.0As out there. My advice is not to make the common mistake. It's tempting to ask if anyone has a perfect solution to your problem, but a request like that often garners little response because nobody knows what lengths to cut the gin poles to for a 1976 S2 8.0. If you searched or posted about mast raising on the trailer sailors forum you probably would have gotten a more responsive audience. Looks like you figured it out...as I did when I had a 25 footer...but it was t much fun for me. I only did it once and me system wasn't very good. I am lucky I had a pivoting step and it did get bent up pretty badly. The mast is most unstable when it is almost vertical.
Apr 14, 2014
S2 8.0a 26' Cape Coral, FL
The gin pole system

after doing everything I needed with the mast up, I set the gin pole system back up and easily brought the mast down by myself. I'm pretty comfortable with the system I built. The gin pole (spinnaker pole) has shrouds that attached to 2 2" rings on either side that can be adjusted so they are perfectly lined up with the rear mast base pivot bolt. I also made extra shrouds that come down from the front of the mast just below the spreaders which also end at these 2" rings. The latter are for stability while the mast is coming up. The rings are attached to the toe rails by 2 more shrouds, one forward, one rear on each side to keep the ring on that axis point. I used a 4 to 1 block system with a cam cleat for the lifting on the forward side if the gin pole and another line on the aft side of the gin that ends at a bail I added to the mast at the spreaders so the mast is actually hoisted from about the 1/2 up. I also hooked the jib halyard to the top of the gin pole as a backup. The key to the whole system are the 2" rings. They must be perfectly aligned with that rear mast step pivot bolt.
Once I got the mast down and cradled I measured the baby shrouds and found that who ever setup them up previously had the forward and rear mixed up. This was the reason for the one of the front baby shrouds being to long.
The only issue was the 4 to 1 block system which was going to be my main sheet system. 4 to 1 is just barely usable for lifting the mast so I've setup a harken 6 to1 ratchet block with cam cleat for the main sheet and will use that for the mast stepping as well. The only down side is i'm gonna need about 90' of line for the stepping and I only need about 1/2 that for the main sheet.
I'm thinking I'll just go to home depot and by some line just for the stepping.
all in all, i'm pretty confident I can step by myself - roll the mast back on the aft cradle, pin the base, setup the gin pole and blocks and up she goes. I had to remake the aft roller/cradle. The first one I made was an ill attempt. Instead I used a 2x6 and attached a 12" trailer keel roller to the top. I then used 2 2" stainless ubolts through the 2x6 to the rear pulpit. I wish I would have taken some pics of the entire system and will do so next time I step.


Aug 10, 2012
WD Schock Wavelength 24 Wallenpaupack
I do the S2 7.9 mast myself, different animal of course...

The mast step on the 7.9 is a single pivot pin, and half moon mast base (to provide a smooth pivot)... also the mast is lighter on the 7.9 I think.

But that being said, your observations on needing 6:1 are spot on.

I also use an A-frame... and the spin ring to raise the mast. So its only like 4 feet off the mast deck, pulling from 8 feet off the foredeck.

Anyway, I think the ginpole is better for torque, as I've mangled 2 5/16" eye bolts at the top of my A-frame, I've moved up to 1/2" eyebolt, and have reinforced the A-frame due to the stress on it. But I can still get the mast up even with only the 4:1, but like you said its tough... I thought I'd maybe throw another block at the setup, and make it 8:1.

The 7.9 is a single lower, swept rig fractional, but my prior boat, a Capri 25 is a dual lower masthead, and I can confirm the length of the lowers are different on that design as well.