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jimmiebuchanan 08-15-2007 03:05 AM

Newbie Needs Mast Unstepping Advice
I just bought my first sailboat. It is a 27 foot 1972 Newport. I am having it shipped the day after tomorrow and so I will be having the mast unstepped before hauling out and stepped after it gets put back in the water. I want to do everything I can to minimize the charges I incur from the boatyards. I'm not really sure exactly how to prepare the mast for being unstepped. I'm guessing I should basically take everything I can off the mast besides the standing rigging and make sure the turnbuckles aren't frozen. Here's where my naivete' really shows. Once they pull the mast, wouldn't it be easiest if I just detached the standing rigging from the top of the mast instead of wasting time trying to pack it secrely to the mast? Also, I need to remove the spreaders so the shipper can put the mast on his truck. Is that a big deal? I don't even know how they are attached or if I am going to need any special tools. The boat is out of town, so I can't look at it and try to figure these things out on my own until I get there. I guess I'm mainly wondering if this sounds like something someone with minimal knowledge and basic tools can do in a timely manner. Thanks in advance for any advice at all.

42ndstreet 08-15-2007 06:29 AM

I bought my first sailboat this year as well. Congratulations and hang on to your wallet. Being new at this also, the one thing I would have done differently is I would have taken LOTS of "before" pictures. I still can't figure out my lazy jacks yet. arrgh...

rheaton 08-15-2007 07:31 AM

You might want to look for a diagram of the spreader design on-line. You might find this at a user group site for your boat, or at the manufactures site. This would hopfully show an exploded parts list. Having this will help you understand this and other systems. Good luck and have fun.

sailingdog 08-15-2007 07:32 AM


If you remove the standing rigging from the mast, make sure that you clearly mark it all properly, so that you can put it back where it came from. Probably, the best thing to do would be to remove each piece of rigging after labeling it very carefully—by removing the clevis pin at each end—leaving the turnbuckles alone. Then coil it up carefully, and put all the hardware associated with it in a ziplock baggie, cable tie the baggie to the rigging and the rigging into a nice, neat coil. Store flat—so it doesn't get kinked.

I would also mark each of the turn buckles, to indicate where they are currently adjusted to, unless you want to pay a rigger to set the mast back up for you. If the turnbuckles get turned during the shipping and aren't restored to their original positions, the tension on the rig will be affected.

Most spreaders are relatively easy to remove, needing only a wrench and a screwdriver. I'd carry one of the bit-driver kits, so that if you have an odd setup that requires a torx or allen head, you will have it.

A minimal tool kit will include screwdrivers—flat and phillips; adjustable wrench; box end wrenches—metric and imperial since they're often mixed on a boat; needle nose pliers—good for the cotter pins; vise grips; hammer and rubber mallet; WD40; plastic ziploc baggies and cable ties—to organize and hold parts; digital camera, notebook and pencil—to document what you do; Sharpie permanent markers in as many colors as possible—to help identify different parts; flashlight and rigging knife—just useful to have; butane lighter—good for heat sealing cut rope ends.

Don't forget to run messenger lines for the halyards, if you're going to be removing the running rigging. I like using 1.8-3 mm spectra line for the messenger lines. It's tough and light and usually very brightly colored.

42nd street-

As for your lazy jacks. There should be several padeyes along the bottom of the boom and either a padeye or block on each side of the mast for the lazy jacks. There should be several pairs of lines and usually stainless steel rings to use as connectors. The longest line goes up the mast to the padeye/block, and then down to a stainless steel ring on each side. Usually, a line will go from the front-most padeye through the ring to another stainless steel ring—if you have more than one short line per side—or to the back to the boom. If you only have one line per side... you're done. If you have a second line, run it from the next aft-most padeye through the stainless steel ring on the end of the previous line and to either next aft-most padeye on the boom—if there are no more lines—or to a stainless steel ring. If there is a third line... un it from the next aftmost padeye through the stainless steel ring on the end of the previous line and to aft-most padeye on the boom. There usually aren't more than three short lines. The shorter lines may be of different lengths, and you may need to play around a bit to figure out which one is first, second and third... but this should get you started on the right path I think.

The setup will look something like this when you're done:


danjarch 08-15-2007 07:37 AM

Masts aren't that hard. You should be able to do every thing with a basic set of tools. Pliers, channel locks, screw drivers, allen wrenches and basic wreches. I'd deffinently take some wd-40 or liquid wrench as well. Taking pictures is fine, but take a note book and make note, draw diagrams, and generaly scetch out what you take apart. As your taking things apart, label them. Use a sharpie and some making tape if you need to. It will prove easier to leave some things ( like the stays ) attached,. just tie them to the mast in a couple of places. The truck driver will help so listen to how he wants it. Once you go to put it back up, just follow your notes as best you can, then make sure everything has a fair lead, and you should be fine. One last peice of advice, put as many of the screws, shackle pins, turn buckle pins, and cotter ring back into the hole you took it out of as your dismantling. This will save you alot of frustration when you go to put it back together. You won't have to geuss which cleaves pin fits the back vs the front stay or try to remeber where you put what bolt.

CapnHand 08-15-2007 07:44 AM

Really all that you have to take off the mast before unstepping it is the sails, the boom and running rigging that's attached to the boom. Some people remove the shrouds and stays (cables) from the mast and coil them, others leave them attached to the mast at the top and secure them with a line. It's up to you but I find that leaving them on the mast is easiest. The turnbuckles will not be seized, no worries.

Taking pictures will help you put the puzzle back together after it's taken apart. Watch the yard hands as they unstep the mast, ask questions but try to stay out of their way, you're paying by the hour.

Removing the spreaders is no big deal, one bolt on each side usually.

When you're stepping the mast, you need 2 or 3 friends to help you. Friends that own sailboats and have done it before. I won't try to explain the procedure here. It's simple if you get it set up correctly before you start, it can be a nightmare if you don't.

SimonV 08-15-2007 08:05 AM

You realy need to Get a paint or draw program up and running.:D

sailingdog 08-15-2007 08:21 AM

LOL... I do have photoshop, illustrator, and few others on this machine..but then I would make the drawings scaled to the monitor I use... and get complaints that the images are too big. :D A 30" monitor tends to warp your idea of what normal sized images are. ;)


Originally Posted by SimonV (Post 180211)
You realy need to Get a paint or draw program up and running.:D

CapnHand 08-15-2007 08:32 AM


Originally Posted by SimonV (Post 180211)
You realy need to Get a paint or draw program up and running.:D

Here you go, compliments of Generous Electric

sailingdog 08-15-2007 09:22 AM

LOL... if you thought Giu's freehand drawings with a mouse were bad... you have no idea how bad it can be. :D

Originally Posted by CapnHand (Post 180228)
Here you go, compliments of Generous Electric

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