Going up the mast on a trailerable sailboat? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 24 Old 07-04-2013 Thread Starter
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Going up the mast on a trailerable sailboat?

Hello all, I have been an avid reader of the forum, but this is my first post, so forgive me if I botched this thread!

So I purchased a 1978 Laguna Windrose 22' sailboat about a year ago, and it has been kept in a slip on KY Lake. During my last sail, I noticed that the white light on the front of the mast (running light) was out, and I suspect that the bulb burned out based on the fact that the light on the top of the mast (anchor light) is working fine and it appears that they share the same wiring at the mast step. What I am trying to figure out is if it is safe to go up the mast in a bosun's chair on a mast that is bolted on at the deck to check/fix/replace the bulb and/or fixture or if I should just take down the mast and do it that way.

My concern is that when you take down the mast, you have to unhook the wiring and I might not be able to test it until I put the mast back up (so if my fix doesn't work, I will have to do it all over again).

Of note, I am in good shape (mid 30's) and or slip is pretty calm and protected but it would be my first time going up a mast.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!


Thanks,

Lee
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-04-2013
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Re: Going up the mast on a trailerable sailboat?

Lee-
You can take down the mast, and slide it back far enough to test electrical stuff before you raise it again. Just support it with a temporary crutch, and make sure it doesn't see-saw.

My wife as been up the mast of our Tanzer 22 in a bosuns chair. Looking at the forces generated in sailing compared to body weight, we thought it to be reasonably safe, and used the main halyard. Might have employed a backup, but I can't remember.
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-04-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Going up the mast on a trailerable sailboat?

meboater,

Thanks for the quick and thoughtful response! I had a feeling that it would support my weight (I only weigh about 165 lbs) but I guess I am just trying to figure out the safest and smartest way to go about doing the repair.

I kind of wanted to try going up at least once if for nothing else than the experience, but it may require a few trips based on first figuring out the problem and also to replace the broken wind vane which is a separate and less pressing issue (but another thing on my to-do list). Knowing that, maybe I will go up once to take a look and then lay down the mast as you have suggested to comoplete the job(s).

It is good to know that it is possible though and I always like to have options...


Lee
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-04-2013
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Re: Going up the mast on a trailerable sailboat?

I am far from an expert in the right way to do it, but if your rig is sound, it is a reasonable endeavor. My wife and I are both rock climbers, so are pretty comfortable improvising.

Whithin our first week of sailing, she was up the mast, and I was under the boat with goggles freeing a centerboard.

This guy seems to have thought the whole thing out.

A pictorial, but without a complete redundant backup.
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post #5 of 24 Old 07-04-2013
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Re: Going up the mast on a trailerable sailboat?

22 ft boat it's a no brainier, drop the mast! No reason at all to climb it and test the tip factor!

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post #6 of 24 Old 07-04-2013
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Re: Going up the mast on a trailerable sailboat?

yep, drop the mast. 165 lbs at the top of slender mast on a fractional rig, with only 900 lbs of ballast is a bad idea.

It's 5 o'clock somewhere:


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Re: Going up the mast on a trailerable sailboat?

In addition to the increased safety factor, dropping the mast is likely the better option because you can take your time evaluating the fault and look at it from all kinds of angles. You're also going to improve your odds of not having left the one tool you really, really need back on deck and out of reach (not that that's ever happened to me, of course )
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Re: Going up the mast on a trailerable sailboat?

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Originally Posted by PorFin View Post
You're also going to improve your odds of not having left the one tool you really, really need back on deck and out of reach (not that that's ever happened to me, of course )
Across the fairway from us is a Corbin 39- beautiful boat, great owners, has a circumnavigation under her keel. A serious crusing boat, with folding mast steps all the way to the mast head.
Monday morning, I watch the skipper step, unfold, climb, step, unfold, climb to the masthead, tool bag hanging from his safety harness. He was out of earshot, but i didn't need to hear anything to understand the one-handed tool bag search and the slumping shoulders, and could imagine the resigned sigh as he climbed back down the mast.

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Going up the mast on a trailerable sailboat?

Better to drop the mast in your case. But never go up any mast on a single line without a second line for backup. That is just asking for serious injury.
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-04-2013
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Re: Going up the mast on a trailerable sailboat?

Do it the easy way-- drop the mast, make up a 25' long test lead out lamp cord, put alligator clips on the wire ends, and use your muti meter to find the problem.
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bosun's chair , running light , safety , trailerable

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