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Mounting turning block to the base of the mast

Dec 1, 2020
93
CAL 27 Illahee / Brownsville WA
You can easily attach blocks to the mast or the deck. From a practical standpoint you can do anything you want as long as you do it right and make it secure. The only question I would have is that it appears that you have a very nice, clean layout already. Think carefully about whether or not you want to disturb the aesthetic that Cal put into the boat. If it doesn't matter to you, then lead your lines back to the cockpit. What make is your mast?
View attachment 188235
This is my Starwind 27 with a Kenyon MORC mast (please pay no attention to the birdshit). The boat originally had 2 Kenyon halyard blocks mounted at the base of the mast for the main halyard and the genoa halyard (both internal with exits above the boom). In this case, the boat has a pad for the deck organizers and the original had just a pair of 2-sheave organizers (Schaefer). The only control line that came back was the vang. The reefing lines and outhaul were clutched at the gooseneck.

I said, "F-that", I need everything and more going back to the cockpit. I added 2 Kenyon blocks (from Rig Rite - very expensive), and 3 Schaefer blocks to the mast. They are all attached with tapped holes and SS machine screws (as done originally - no pointy ended screws). I also added 2 Schaefer deck blocks. To lead it all back to the cockpit, I drilled another hole for the deck organizer on both sides and mounted a pair of double-decked triples. So the boat now has 2 genoa halyards, 1 spinnaker halyard, main halyard, 2 topping lifts, 2 reefing lines, double-ended vang control, and the outhaul all coming back to the cockpit. There is one slot in the organizer on one side that is open for something else.

None of this compromises the mast or the deck in any way. But I will admit that if I were to do it over, I would use that part that @mermike references. :plus: If you don't want an excessive number of lines cluttering your cockpit, you don't need to go to that extreme.

I found that the machine screws are fine in the wall of the mast, as long as the holes are carefully tapped. The SS steel screws WILL fuse to the aluminum, I had to drill one out of the original installation. If the thread doesn't tap properly, the blocks are at the base and you can easily use a washer and a locking nut for any screw that strips the aluminum at the thread. But you have to wait until the mast is down. I didn't have any problem waiting a few years to fix one of those. Three out of four screws firmly secured did just fine at one block!

The parts are still expensive, any way you go about it. If you want the base plate instead of all the penetrations, I wouldn't hesitate to install the base plate. $750 to take the mast down isn't that much in the grand scheme of it all. Find other reasons to have the mast down if the cost still sticks in your craw!

If you are running lines back to the cockpit, you will have to plan the location of the organizers. My Catalina runs the lines direct from the mast base to the cockpit on a diagonal. It has a mast plate that holds blocks and also a few deck-mounted blocks.

Nobody says that you can't adapt your boat the way you want it. Some may object that it isn't "original", but it's your boat, your choice.
T-Bird - Thanks for the info. Those "pads" you mention and I think are shown in the image here.
Pic_238.jpg



Were these self-fabricated or purchased? You have more lines than I will need, but this type of thing with line stoppers and a single winch on the cabin top is my thoughts on having a spinnaker line for use with an asymmetrical chute eventually. A furler is this Spring project after getting the lines figured out.

What furler are you using? Do you run that line back to the cockpit also or leave it on the mast, since it's up all season I expect. I have two small #8-#12 (?) size winches on the mast. I'm thinking of a Schafer 700 Snap Furler this summer with the new halyard for that staying on one winch on the mast. Then moving the other to the cabin top use. With line-stoppers, do you wish you had a self-tailer on the cabin top or is that not needed?
 
Jan 19, 2010
954
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
I would like to route my halyards to the cockpit for single hand sailing this summer. The cost to have a crane pull the mast simply to put a mast base with holes for the turning blocks was prohibitive when the boat was pulled for paint. I have read that mounting the blocks to the cabin top is a bad idea due to the constant loads and it's much better to let the mast carry those loads.

I have looked for some type of "strap mount" that would wrap around the mast and have some block attachment holes or connection points of some type that would help distribute the load and not found anything like this.

If nothing else is available are turning blocks/SS attachments screwed (or bolted?) to the mast base acceptable?

View attachment 188187View attachment 188188View attachment 188189

and and might use one or two thru-bolts to tie the strap/blocks to the mast with fewer holes in the mast than
So why not make a template of the mast's profile and take that to a machine shop. Have them make a strap ( band) that will wrap around the mast and close tight ( bolted ). The strap should be made from stainless angle iron with predrilled holes to fasten all the blocks through..
 
Nov 21, 2012
283
Yamaha 33 Port Ludlow, WA
This is the mast base halyard organizer on my Yamaha 33. It's made of cast aluminum, clamped and riveted to the mast. I had the broken eye repaired. The missing turning block, pin and sheave were replaced by a machine shop/foundry.

You could probably recreate something similar in 316 stainless if you know a good fabricator.

Halyard Organizer 2018-10-08 3.jpg
 
Oct 26, 2008
5,021
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
T-Bird - Thanks for the info. Those "pads" you mention and I think are shown in the image here.
View attachment 188246


Were these self-fabricated or purchased? You have more lines than I will need, but this type of thing with line stoppers and a single winch on the cabin top is my thoughts on having a spinnaker line for use with an asymmetrical chute eventually. A furler is this Spring project after getting the lines figured out.

What furler are you using? Do you run that line back to the cockpit also or leave it on the mast, since it's up all season I expect. I have two small #8-#12 (?) size winches on the mast. I'm thinking of a Schafer 700 Snap Furler this summer with the new halyard for that staying on one winch on the mast. Then moving the other to the cabin top use. With line-stoppers, do you wish you had a self-tailer on the cabin top or is that not needed?
I went to Rig Rite to search for spar parts. You might want to get familiar with their website. I have a Kenyon mast and their catalog is organized to show all of the parts that go with your mast and boom sections. I have the largest MORC section (4060), which I can tell by the dimensions and the profile picture. When I click on the right mast section, the website shows all the parts that go with the mast. They carry a whole ton of spar makers so when you identify your mast, you can see all the parts that are available. The only dangerous thing is that I think their parts are very expensive. The website doesn't show the pricing, you have to put an order together to get a quote.

In any case, the arrow you drew on the left is the vang bracket that goes with the mast and the boat came with it mounted to the mast. The arrow on the right is pointing at the base of the halyard turning block assembly. The two at the aft section of the mast were original (the scuffed paint pretty much gives that away). I originally had 2 on the mast and I bought 2 more from Rig Rite (at very high cost). I figured I would stay consistent with the original construction, but those blocks were so expensive that I decided 2 was my limit and I added the 3 schaefer blocks that you can see above the bracket. I was able to mount that block in the center with some thumb screw fittings that slid into the sail slot. The 2 on the side for the reefing lines were attached with machine screws and show no sign of stress. Finally, I decided that I had enough blocks mounted on the mast so I secured 2 more Schaefer stand-up blocks to the deck with the matching backer plate that Schaefer sells. I really didn't have any problem drilling thru the deck for those blocks. I also had no problem with the bolts being threaded into the mast section.

The pads I was talking about is really just a raised section of deck where the original organizers were secured. When I put in the triples, I had to drill a new hole on both sides to secure the 3rd bolt for each one.
Deck Organizer.jpg

This image shows the 2 x 3 organizer. You can't really see the deck "pad" where it is mounted. Your boat probably doesn't provide a mounting pad. You can probably mount the organizer directly to your deck, or perhaps find a flat pad surface that can be retrofitted to the deck.surface.

I had a Harken Mark IV (Unit 0)furler installed on this boat. Both of the genoa halyards are led back to the cockpit on this boat, but it is fair to suggest that you wouldn't necessarily want to do this. You can save on line clutter (and line length) if you coiled the line at the mast, since you rarely need to drop the sail. The Schaefer Snapfurl 700 would be a good choice, I'm sure. I had considered it because Schaefer is a good brand.

BTW, I don't have the Starwind 27 anymore, even though I loved sailing it. We moved up in size to a Catalina 320 this past year.

Good luck with the improvements!
 
Jan 19, 2010
954
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
This is the mast base halyard organizer on my Yamaha 33. It's made of cast aluminum, clamped and riveted to the mast. I had the broken eye repaired. The missing turning block, pin and sheave were replaced by a machine shop/foundry.

You could probably recreate something similar in 316 stainless if you know a good fabricator.

View attachment 188265
That is EXACTLY what I was thinking.... Never saw one, but it appeared the way to go...