Warm Weather Sailor
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Here's some tips regarding unstepping the mast for the trip. First regarding the mast supports. Make a crutch out of 3/4" plywood and 2 x4's for the stern rail and a simple sawhorse for the bow. You might also want a block at the mast step. Make sure these are high enough to go over your dodger as it usually rains during the canal transit. Bolt the aft support to the stern rail with U bolts. The forward horse needs no bolting as it will stay there with the weight of the mast when it is lashed. The aft crutch might need some 2 x 4 braces. Take your drill and lots of long screws for the bracing. Put the mast on the boat butt forward. You can determine the height of the crutch and horse by using a taut line. Lash the mast from toe rail to toe rail and also have some lashing to prevent fore and aft movement as you sometimes get bad pitching if you go across Lake Oneida in an easterly blow.
Do not remove your roller furling headsail. Just lash the foil, with sail, to the mast when unstepping. Similarly just take the main off the mast track, do not take it off the boom. Do not take the sail cover off. Store on deck or coachroof, eastbound on the port side as I like to go starboard side alongside the locks and lock 17 can only be done on the starboard side as it is a side fill lock with no tying up on the north side. Leaving your sails bent on saves a lot of time when stepping and unstepping and you don't have to stow those sails as storage is usually limited when you're heading south.
Many are now unstepping the mast at Sodus as the Oswego Marina have really jacked up their prices the last couple of years. At the eastern end I would get the mast stepped at Riverview Marina at Catskill, Mike, the owner is very helpful. Some do it at Castleton (do it yourself) but I prefer Riverview now.
One problem with shipping the mast is that it is unreliable (and costly). You never know if your mast will be there when you get to the marina.
If you're headed for the Bahamas we'll see you there. Give us a holler. My boat is "Breathless" Ben393 from Toronto.
A handheld will usually do you for getting the lockmaster but I hitch my main set to one of those emergency antennas and it works a bit better. One other thing, when you've got the mast up at Riverview bolt all your wood together in a big bundle and put your boat name on it and write "do not remove" for the return trip. You can store it at Riverview but sometimes others will use your wood so bolt or screw it all together so that it won't be that easy to get at.
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Last edited by Vasco; 08-17-2008 at 10:29 AM.