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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 12-16-2007
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Stepping a mast

I purchased a 1987 Hunter 26.5 two years ago and will need to lower the mast this upcoming spring to rewire the mast lights, install spreader lights, antenna, lazy jacks and work on the halyard sheaves. I have tried to search the internet for info on this model and have found limited if no information on maintenance procedures. The mast is deck stepped w/o a hinge to assist with removal of the mastand is approx. 37' tall ( US SPARS Z-170 ) I thought about aqiuring a crane but the fees in this area are unbelievable and unreasonable. The boat came w/o a trailer so working on land is out of the question till I jion the local sailing club with access to the club trailer.I work for a local fire dept. so man power is not a problem. I would ask chief to use the ladder truck, but ther repercussions isn't worth it. Does anybody have any experience with this type of problem?
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I'd think about using an extension ladder as a gin pole. (e.g. see http://www.tpub.com/content/construc.../14251_179.htm) The mast is probably 100-150 pounds.

The challenge is to lift it at or above its center of gravity so you can lower it under control. If you have single spreaders, just sling it under the spreader bases and you've got it.

Have fun!

Tim
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Find a buddy with a 40-50' mid-heavy displacement boat. Use their spin pole as a crane. Did this with my stick on my Rawson 30. Likely MUCH heavier than your stick. Worked like a charm. Total cost: 6-pack of Heineken. A mast isn't hard to handle when lifted near its CG. Just err on the high side.
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The problem with not having a crane is that the mast doesn't have a hinge pin or point, so using a gin pole is pretty tough.

If you have a friend with 40' extension ladder and a full size SUV or van, and a place you can dock the boat that has a parking space adjacent to it...and preferably a bit higher, you can use the ladder as a crane.

Place the base of the ladder against the front bumper of the truck and run a line through the front windows of the truck up to the top of the ladder. Use a come-along to control the angle of the ladder. Run a line up to a block mounted on the top run of the ladder, and down to the mast.
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I have used an A-frame to raise and lower the mast on several 25-30 boats. It works great, doesn't require the mast to have a hinged base, can be done at the dock and uses a minimum number of people.
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Could you elaborate on the A-frame technique.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
The problem with not having a crane is that the mast doesn't have a hinge pin or point, so using a gin pole is pretty tough.
Not really. Put an extension ladder on the cabin top leaned up against the mast. Run it up to just above the spreaders. Run guy lines down to each toerail and behind the ladder and a block and tackle from the top rung to below the mast spreaders.

Tighten up the block and tackle to support the mast. Undo the standing rigging, have someone hold the mast base then lift the mast off its step. The person holding the mast base swings it sideways and the mast is lowered. Same as that picture, only the mast is the I-beam. No hinge needed.

An A-frame is just two gin poles lashed together at the top. If you've got the material around for one, it works good, too.

Tim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhaley View Post
I have used an A-frame to raise and lower the mast on several 25-30 boats. It works great, doesn't require the mast to have a hinged base, can be done at the dock and uses a minimum number of people.
Thanks for the message but this website won't let me send any messages out to you until I have made 10 posts. I found a website that has pics of someone using scaffolding poles to create the A frame to lower the mast. Now that I've seen pics I get the idea of it. And thanks to everyone else for your input. I'm sure this will be an expensive lesson if I screw this up. So I'll do some more research, take my time, and make sure my insurance is up to date.
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I have a '83 Mac 25 on which I raise and lower the mast by myself. I also do it without a mast rasing system (winches, gin poles, and extention ladders). The only real difference in mine and yours is that my mast is hinged at the bottom. All you would really have to do is figure some way to temporarily hinge the mast which shouldnt be to hard.

If you are setting the mast down towards the cockpit then you could use something as simple as a block of wood as a hing and a little bit of clever rope work and you've got it! You just need to be sure that mast stays touching the block of wood(or whatever you might use) and that the wood doesnt come up from the cabin roof. If you sit down and think about it I think you can enderstand what I am talking about.

The way that I raise and lower the mast by myself is I have two pieces of 2x8 treated lumber with V's cut in one end of each to allow for the mast to rest in. One I have in floor of the cockpit and tied to the back handrail to not allow it to move. The other I have sitting on the floor in the cabin leaning forward and resting against the sliding hatch(when the hatch is all the way open and doesnt slide anymore. I have sitting on the 2X8 that is tied to the handrail and I lift it as high as I can standing in the cockpit and this is the level at which my other 2x8 is cut so I can just set it in the knotch. Then I just climb up on the cabin top and my mast is already half way up and I just raise it into place. Best part is that getting it down is even easier than raising and I use the 2x8's in the same position as when I am raising it.

So just visualize what make some sort of temporary hing and you have got it. With the help of 2 or 3 firemen it should be simple!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrjerabeck View Post
Thanks for the message but this website won't let me send any messages out to you until I have made 10 posts. I found a website that has pics of someone using scaffolding poles to create the A frame to lower the mast. Now that I've seen pics I get the idea of it. And thanks to everyone else for your input. I'm sure this will be an expensive lesson if I screw this up. So I'll do some more research, take my time, and make sure my insurance is up to date.
Just remember. Double, triples, and have someone else check every knot, shackle etc! I was scared to death watching my spar pop up off the step and seemingly float in mid air. Make sure who ever you have help is physically ready too.. and willing to smash their hands/fingers to save the mast! Pretty sure just about everyone on this form would rather have busted up fingers than a bent mast! Proper planing and foresight, engineering principles, and luck will bring you through this! I have seen it go the other way...but I won't curse you by telling you that story! Didn't catch that you were on the hard. Cradles/jackstands/trailers seem to make a boat feel uncomfortable and shaky when working on deck so be ready for that.
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