un-step mast with crane/boom truck? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-26-2008 Thread Starter
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un-step mast with crane/boom truck?

my 29' boat is at the east chicago marina , and needs to be packed up in a hurry before i can take it home, some 350 miles away. Its my first boat, and I'm not much of a sailor yet. The marina seems to have many sailboats on the hard with their masts up for the winter, and the marina staff said I should hire a crane from a local crane co. to drop the mast.
Has anyone had experience with this?
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-26-2008
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Yes, it's pretty typical if you don't have a mast raising/lowering system or a tabernacled mast. I'm surprised your marina didn't recommend a crane operator that does this for them.

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post #3 of 13 Old 10-26-2008 Thread Starter
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They recommended one. I''v emailed them with what i know about the lift and my schedule.
What I don't know is how it's actually done.. how do they hook onto the spreaders typically?
will they have the needed equipment? Does it damage the spreaders?
All these questions... Thanks for all your help!
-Paul
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Typically, they'll put a sling around the mast, just above the center of gravity, so that the mast stays upright, but is easy to maneuver and to lay down flat for storage. They should have all the slings, lines, etc needed.

It is a bit trickier for keel-stepped masts, than deck-stepped ones, since the lifting has to be a bit more precise. You'll probably have to be there to detach the standing rigging after the sling is put around the mast.

Label everything... cause, sure as the sun rises in the east... if you don't—come spring—you won't remember which of the shrouds goes where. A simple way to do it is to start at the forestay and go clockwise around the mast and number the stays and shrouds A, B, C, D, and mark the chainplates the same. Then use a sharpie marker and mark the clevis pins with the same LETTER as well.

Get all new cotter pins/rings before spring—DO NOT RECYCLE COTTERS. Get the pins or rings as large as will fit in the hole in the pin, and cut the the cotter pins to 1.5x the diameter of the clevis pin. Round the corners of the cut tips with a file, a tape them to the clevis pin, so you're ready to go in the spring.

Finally, it is probably a really good idea to replace the halyards with messenger lines and to remove the boom the day before and stow it down in the cabin of the boat.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 10-26-2008 at 12:30 PM.
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-27-2008
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Good advice. We have the exact opposite situation in Port Charlotte, Florida when we step the mast on our new-to-us boat that we've never even had in the water. I spent the summer up here in Wisconsin doing a refit on my father-in-laws farm. Totally redid the mast pulling all of the bolts, etc. and coating with Lancote before reinstalling. I'll be getting a crane in at $100/hour, three hour minimum and a local rigger to do the whole job for me. Once the mast is up, it's staying up for the duration. I'm planning on a total cost of around $1000 for boatyard hauling and storage costs, crane and the rigger (the rigger being the majority). Of course we also need to stay in a hotel while getting all of this done!

I'm just getting too old to do some of this stuff myself anymore. By the way, Sailingdog, you've got one heck of a lot of posts! I just noticed.

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post #6 of 13 Old 10-27-2008
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Your marina should recommend someone who has done this many times. The operator and marina staff should tehn be able to assist you.

Mike
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-27-2008
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At a past marina that had a minimal travel-lift several of us would hire a crane operator to come raise & lower the masts. I had a 34 w/deck stepped and my dock buddy had a 36 w/keel stepped. The crane man lived pretty close and charged $60 for one boat or $45 each if we had multiple boats lined up.

He was a rigger and came alone - so you had to supply the extra hands. He also stated flat out that he knew nothing about boats and wouldn't step on one. But, boy, did he know his crane truck. He'd put the mast where you wanted it within fractions of inches just as slick as could be.

By running a HEAVY (3/4") line from the gooseneck to a loop below the spreaders the attachment point could be kept away from the spreaders. We also kept a piece of carpeting to wrap the crane hook and cable weight so it wouldn't scratch the mast. Double spreaders required a little more effort to get the attachment loop near the center of gravity on the mast on those that had a balance oint above the lower spreaders.

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post #8 of 13 Old 10-27-2008 Thread Starter
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crane company wants 165 an hour with a 4 hour minimum.
I'm considering doing it the old fashioned way. Anyone have pointers for lowering the mast by hand?
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-28-2008
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You need to provide boat model info as to mast-step type and size.

If you have a keel-stepped mast, I would say you're out of luck for DIY removal. If your mast is cabin-top stepped then check out this video for the general premise...

YouTube - Taking the Mast Down

I would suggest that your boat at 29' may be at the limits of craneless mast removal.

BTW, your local crane company quoting you that price is outrageous!!!!!

"There's a wind in my sails that protects and prevails." - "Six Months in a Leaky Boat", Split Enz
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If your mast is deck-stepped, you can often make an A-frame to lower it with... if it is keel stepped, you're borked. The quote is a bit outrageous... I'd call around... also, if you have any friends with companies that have bucket trucks, like sign companies and such, they can often do it for a boat your size using the bucket.
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Originally Posted by modul8 View Post
crane company wants 165 an hour with a 4 hour minimum.
I'm considering doing it the old fashioned way. Anyone have pointers for lowering the mast by hand?

Sailingdog

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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