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  #1  
Old 09-26-2014
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Masts - deck or keel stepped?

I've seen several boats with deck stepped masts instead of keel stepped. The keel stepped ones look sturdier, but hard to tell if that's the case. Aside from not having the "stripper pole" in the middle of the cabin, is there any other advantage or disadvantage of deck stepped masts?
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Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Masts - deck or keel stepped?

Both masts can be engineered for their application.
A deck stepped mast has "two pin ends".
A keel stepped mast has "one pin end and one fixed end"
Measured in moments of inertia the deck stepped mast will have to have a "stouter" section than the keel stepped mast. Reality is that with the available alu mast sections and the good practice of rounding up in mast calculations both applications will end up with the same section. In that case, the keel stepped mast will be "stronger" due to one fixed end, i.e. mast partners and mast step.

For me it comes down to:
If I wanted an offshore boat I'd like a keel stepped mast. That way if I am ever dismasted I will have a stump sticking up that I can use to rig a jury mast to get me home. A deck stepped mast will leave you nothing.

But this is an extreme way of looking at it.
The boat I owned for the last 15 years had a deck stepped mast. I was very happy with it. There was no water in the bilge from the mast.
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Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Masts - deck or keel stepped?

Deck stepped masts also tend make for a drier boat, as you don't have this huge hole in the middle of the deck that you have to keep sealed.

We've had a deck stepped boat for the last 7 years, so far so good.
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Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Masts - deck or keel stepped?

deck stepped are strong if they have a support post under them
and don't leak
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Re: Masts - deck or keel stepped?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cwhit767 View Post
.....Aside from not having the "stripper pole" in the middle of the cabin......
Well, there are a few pros and cons for each, as mention above already. However, if you ever found yourself in a position to need a stripper pole down below, it would be pretty disappointing not to have one.
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Re: Masts - deck or keel stepped?

Thanks. I've been researching Catalina 310's, but have not been on one yet. From the photos, it looks like it is deck stepped, unless the pole is enclosed within the forward birth bulkhead. In any case, we will be coastal cruisers and weekend/day sailors, so not too worried about being caught out on the "big blue" dismasted, but it is a valid consideration.

I didn't consider the leaking potential of the cutout. I did however, consider the potential need of the "stripper pole", but my wife just rolled her eyes!
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Old 09-27-2014
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Re: Masts - deck or keel stepped?

Guess what? When I saw this thread, I said to myself, "I don't know the answer, but a guy like Bob Perry would". And he was first to respond. Give me a gold star!
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Re: Masts - deck or keel stepped?

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Originally Posted by flandria View Post
Guess what? When I saw this thread, I said to myself, "I don't know the answer, but a guy like Bob Perry would". And he was first to respond. Give me a gold star!
Yet another issue/question Bob has already addressed in detail in his book...

In a perfect world, more folks out there would read it...

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Re: Masts - deck or keel stepped?

Not all manufacturers provided an adequate deck structure and deck to keel support for a deck stepped mast, so look carefully at any boat you are considering for deck compression and deck deflection. Especially if the boat has been aggressively raced.
John
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Re: Masts - deck or keel stepped?

Most Catalina 310's I've seen have in mast furling which are all deck stepped aren't they? I really don't know, just assumed there are no keel stepped furling masts ?
Good news is that deck stepped boats have a compression post in the cabin so stripper pole is included.
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