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Homemade mast stepper

Apr 11, 2017
Catalina C22 Solomon's Island, MD
Took the collective advice and cut down the ears and the excess length of the bolts to hopefully prevent hang-ups. Thanks to everyone.
I'm a little concerned about the "wet noodle" effect of the furled jib. I'm planning to attach the main sheet to the forestay and have my wife assist with the lowering by keeping some tension on that while I manhandle the mast.
As far as baby stays: I hadn't planned to use them, unless that seems like a big mistake.
I don't think you'll have too much problem at all - as with that method you describe, the wet noodle will be drawn tight, and held in tension by the main sheet - or whatever block and tackle you connect to the bottom of it. If you use a mast raising method that does not inherently draw the mast up and down by tension on the forestay - that's more where you can run into the floppy problems.

I use a different method, with a winch temporarily attached to the mast, and a shock-cord "rubber band" keeping tension on the forestay. It sounds more complicated than it is, and both methods have their advantages. The biggest thing to watch out for is shrouds catching on some protrusion during the process - but if that happens, just back the mast down a little bit, and have someone (or yourself) un-hang it, and then go back up.

Also watch out for the bottom turnbuckles on the shrouds, and make sure they do not become twisted cock-eyed (for lack of a better term) in relation to the chain plates - there is a tendency to bend the bottom "T" bolt, if they are not angling up correctly in the "U" that they lock into. Again, it sounds a little more complicated than it is. If you cut a 5-6" piece of about 10 gauge copper insulated wire, and bend a little "hand hold" on one end, you can temporarily wedge the other straight end under the "T" bolt, between it and the "U," and it will keep the "T" bolt from getting cock-eyed in the "U" when raising the mast.

If possible, try to park the trailer so there is not a strong cross-wind on the mast. Stingy Sailor's video does a good job showing how it should go, and it's easier every time you do it. Just plan everything out ahead, and it will go smoothly.

Also, you generally won't need to manhandle it too much at all, as the mainsheet multiplier effect will do the work lifting & lowering - you just have to watch so the mast does not want to go sideways, or that any shrouds hang up - that's all it is. If the mast wants to go sideways, usually it is because a shroud is hanging up on one side or another.
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Likes: Gene Neill
May 23, 2016
Catalina 22 #12502 BSC
helped a newbie raise one Saturday, similar hand made crutch w/roller, worked out fine, aft lowers and main shrouds connected, wife keeping the forestay taught/straight and outta the way with closeline, once pushed aft on roller and bolted to the step two of us raised it with no issues. Connected forestay and forward lowers and tuned the rig w/Loos gauge....all eze peasy.

I like the recommendations to tie off the crutch forward in a v to help keep stress off the gudgeons, and good you cut off those bolts and shortened the forks....get someone to help you the first time on deck and steady things, go slow too.

I have no handles for my bastards (well maybe one), but it gets little use...seems dremels have taken over much of my serious filing!
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Likes: Gene Neill
Aug 3, 2012
Performance Cruising Telstar 28 302 Watkins Glen
workbench detritus. ;)
So THAT’S what it is called! I will tell my assistant next time I have her tidy up my warehouse.
“Clean the workbench detritus,” I will say as I wave my hand toward the bench. I am sure she will demand a raise. Ugh!
Apr 3, 2015
catalina catalina 22 Carolina beach NC
I must have a very different mast on my 22 ..there is no way you are going to get behind that and lift....i have tried different methods you need two people to put my mast up I attach the for stay to the winch on the trailer ..one person cranks and the other gets behind guides and lifts.