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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-09-2007
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Stepping mast

Any way to step a "normal sized" mast on a 30 to 40 foot sailboat without using anything that is not already on the boat ? That is, using only only things you have prepared in advance that are ON the boat, is there any way to easily or at least reliably step a big mast ? I guess I am thinking like electric winch and ... (?) And I don't mean like going under a bridge and doing whatever, a bridge is not on the boat, neither is a crane.
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Not enough info.
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Theoretically possible with a tabernacle equipped deck-stepped mast, (but still potentially scary); nearly impossible with a keel-stepped mast at that size.
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I have a 28' boat with a 35' 6" mast that I can step and unstep pretty much any time I want to. The main thing I have to do is pull two pins at the base of the mast and disconnect the forestay.

Keel stepped masts add a order of magnitude of difficulty, as you not only have to raise the mast to the standing position, but have to have some way of lowering it down into the hull. I designed a rig for a smaller boat to do that, and it was a royal pain in the butt... That boat was only 25' LOA or so.... and the weight of the mast was reasonable. On a 30-40' boat, the weight of a keel-stepped mast is going to be too heavy to do safely IMHO.
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You could do a deck stepped mast, but would need some heavy duty equipment. On my Hunter 26, with a 31 foot mast, I could raise and lower it by myself using a ginpole, removable side shrouds and the mainsheet (4:1). That first 45 degrees going up was a mother though.
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It depends on how many people you have to help you. If there are enough to hold the shourds and the stays, and some more to lift the mast itself, well yes it would not be too difficult. By yourself - I think it's a really unsafe manouevre to attempt.
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Thank you all for the responses. I didn't really know if it would be possible or not, but thought that surely you all would know if it was. I will read up on some of the key words in your posts and see if I can make any more sense of it. I'm thinking deck stepped not keel, it's really getting the mast from horizontal to nearly vertical that I guess is the real trick.
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BTW, I can do that on my boat with one line lead to a genoa sheet winch, and one hand on the winch handle...
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The Beezer summed it up regarding that first 45 degrees.
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Land a helicopter on the boat, just touch down, even just one skid. Ok, now it counts as something "you have prepared in advance that is ON the boat".

Now, go pick up the mast with the chopper, lower it down on the boat and step it as usual.

Or why not just use the mast hoist like everyone else?
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Last edited by CapnHand; 04-10-2007 at 01:56 AM.
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