• On September 1st, Maine Sail suffered a major hemorrhagic stroke. One of the most generous members of our sailing community, he has helped thousands. Now it's our turn. Click here to learn more

Replacing standing rigging with mast up

Aug 12, 2014
212
Universal Marine Montego 25 San Pedro, CA
Hi SBO friends,

Some of you may recall my going on 8 year quest to find a rigging professional in the LA / San Pedro/ Long Beach area. My quest continues.

I am sitting outside a well known local boat yard in Long Beach presently. I just captained the boat over this morning to have it hauled and the bottom paint done. For over a monthahead of time, I’ve tried to coordinate with the office here to also get the standing rigging done at the same time.

I was disappointed and very not shocked to learn that their rigging contractor, a well know rigger in this part of the world, decided this morning that he can’t do the work here in the boat yard and instead wants to do it “in slip” which is a story I have heard from him for years now.

The ball park quote to do that work is in the $3200 range for my 25’ sloop with uncomplicated wire rope rigging.

Question for you all - if I get a long ladder and am sufficiently careful, can I just do this myself in the slip?

I am giving up on so called professional riggers in this area. I am cursed somehow.

Thanks in advance for your input.
 
Jul 12, 2011
984
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
Real riggers use a person on a crane to attach all of the rigging at the top, so avoid a person on (questionable) halyard. Probably part of the cost.
 
  • Like
Likes: Whatfiero1
Dec 29, 2008
798
Treworgy 65' Custom Steel Pilothouse Staysail Ketch St. Croix, Virgin Islands
Real riggers use a person on a crane to attach all of the rigging at the top, so avoid a person on (questionable) halyard.
Would be a rare slip where this could be done with a crane!
 
Jul 12, 2011
984
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
I've seen it done on the hard, and in the water at a concrete service dock and in a lifting well, with a small boom-crane. If everything is made up, and depending on how portable their swaging machine is, it's very fast to attach a few intermediate shrouds, and four cap-shrouds/stays at the top. It's just a matter of skilled riggers, careful crane operation, and a low-wind day. Perhaps your experience is different, but the pros I've talked to were nervous about people's halyards, which always made me think - what do they know?
 
Mar 2, 2019
210
Oday 25 Milwaukee
Pardon my confusion . Why would dropping the mast be that difficult ? I will publicly acknowledge using an extension ladder to retrieve a halyard . The boat swayed a lot ! I mean a lot ! I've replaced standing rigging from a pier that was much higher than the water . I just the halyard and pulled the mast over and tied it off . I also had the replacement stay premade and ready to install .
Personally I'd drop the mast ,fast easy and safe
 
Aug 12, 2014
212
Universal Marine Montego 25 San Pedro, CA
Thanks guys. Yeah one challenge I have locally is there is a lack of cranes and mast storage for a non YC member. I'll think of something
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,827
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Thanks guys. Yeah one challenge I have locally is there is a lack of cranes and mast storage for a non YC member. I'll think of something
Join a YC?

One option is to rent a lift, like contractors use to reach upper stories of buildings. With the boat on the hard the top of the mast will only be 35 to 40 feet above the ground. If you have the halyards cut already, the job should only take half a day.
 
Feb 8, 2014
1,300
Columbia 36 Muskegon
25' boat? Just unstep the mast. I'm always surprised at how people cringe at the thought of doing this. And hauling the boat. Here in Michigan we have to haul every fall and many unstep at the same time. One of the yards here even has a power line between the storage area and launch well so all the masts have to come down every time. Winter storage is safer without the windage of the rig. The storage yard I use has a hand operated gin pole crane that my wife and I use to unstep/step almost every year, and we do it by ourselves. It's pretty simple with a single spreader rig, a little more complicated with multiple spreaders. If there's no gin pole around, you'd have to bring in or rent a crane or boom truck or something but that cost shouldn't be too bad, even better if you can coordinate and split the cost with other boats needing the same service. You only need height to reach higher than the spreaders or upper spreaders if more than one and I've seen a yard use their big forklift to do this on shorter rigs. It helps if in the water of course, it's not as high that way.
 
  • Like
Likes: marke14
Feb 8, 2014
1,300
Columbia 36 Muskegon
I also re-rigged my boat a couple years ago. I used Sta-Lok fittings and wire from Riggingonly.com. The cost of the fittings looks expensive at first but when compared to what a rigging shop charges to swage on the standard fittings it's about the same or a little cheaper. My old jaw/jaw bronze turnbuckles were fine so I re-used them, replacement would add about $100 each to the cost, which a rigging shop would also charge you. The fittings and their connection to the wire is rated to be stronger than the swage-on type and has the advantage of being repairable/replaceable in the field. My mast was already down and assembly of the fittings was very easy. I think I had about 4 hours actual working time involved and the only tools needed were a wire cutter (I used a bolt cutter from Harbor Freight), small bench vise, and a couple wrenches. 36' boat, 42' mast, 1/4" and 9/32" wire, 8 wires in all. Cost was about $1320, yours would be considerably less due to the smaller rig. Riggingonly also can do the assembly if you give them good dimensions or ship them the old rigging.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes: marke14

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,306
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
I don't know many yards that don't have a crane or similar to unstep a mast easily. Most who do this, for painting, rewiring, or whatever, just put the mast on saw horses under the boat, out of the way of the travel lift doing boats beside you.
Easy peasy.
 
  • Like
Likes: LloydB
Aug 12, 2014
212
Universal Marine Montego 25 San Pedro, CA
Thanks everyone for the discussion here, it is thought-provoking and I appreciate it very much.

Yeah not looking to join a YC mainly due to the cost, but also due to other factors in certain cases. I'd love to get PHRF rated for singlehanded racing.

I'll admit that most of this is concerning my apprehension around my personally unstepping the mast. I am allergic to neither the work, the cost, or any other aspect of this undertaking. I am highly sensitive to the liability both in terms of injury to others first and foremost, as well as to property damage, should things go sideways if I were to attempt this in-slip in the marina.

I'm sure unstepping the mast will prove to be one of those other experiences in life where in retrospect, the hand wringing and preceding anxiety will prove to have been unwarranted. I just don't have any experience here - as was the same with all other systems when I bought my boat.

I think I'll go to a DIY yard in Wilmington (Eddy's) where I used to berth, and have them unstep the mast. They can store it for me cheaper than any other option around and we can "powerboat" with the boat in the meantime if the impulse grabs us. More likely I would use that intervening weekend free time to paint the mast, remove and replace the deck light, install an anchor light and possibly wind instruments, and replace the spreaders if necessary. All on my labor "dime".

My local sailmaker recommended Consolidated Wire and Rope in Wilmington, who would also duplicate my off-the-boat examples (swaging included), but I will surely also have a look at the Riggingonly shop. The idea of being able to field-replace the wire rope end fittings is appealing if ultimately almost surely an unnecessary safety option especially in my daysailing / occasional weekend/week(s?) long getaways.
 
Sep 24, 2018
1,475
O'Day 25 Chicago
Dont forget to service your masthead and track while you have the mast down. Seems to be a an overlooked item but works so much better after lubing it
 
  • Like
Likes: marke14