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Old 09-13-2004
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removing stays

I have a 34'' Irwin (1980) and I want to replace the stays, a pair at a time. Im told that it is possible to remove them in pairs (1 starboard 1 port leaving the inner stays) and replace them in pairs without stepping the mast. Has anyone attempted this before? Can the back stay even be removed (with all others remaining in place) without removing the mast? Thx for any thoughts on the issue.
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Old 09-13-2004
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removing stays

Yes, you can replace the rigging while the mast is still in place. With a deck stepped mast when you do remove the fore- or backstay, you need to temporary use the main halyard (or jib halyard for the forestay) to act as a temproary stay and then go up the mast on your other halyard. You also can remove shrouds two at a time in pairs, although it is a good idea when you remove the uppers to stay the upper end of mast with tight lines if you are in a bouncy anchorage.

It is also a good idea to use tape to mark the point on the turnbuckle where the threads (top and bottom) of the turnbuckle enter the screw body so that the rigging shop can exactly figure out how long your shrouds were in the adjusted position. I will say that it is much easier to do this with the mast on the ground and that the cost to remove and replace the mast is not all that expensive. I just replaced my standing rigging on my boat.

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Old 10-01-2004
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removing stays

I replaced my four lowers all at once, then the two uppers, then lengthened the forestay and shortened the aft lowers to replace the backstay, and the reverse for the forestay. Everything was measured and made up ahead of time, my wife helped and we had a dead calm, cool day. Took two trips up the mast to get everything in place, plus one the next day to check and touch everything up.
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