How can I lower the mast by hand? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 26 Old 10-28-2008 Thread Starter
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How can I lower the mast by hand?

I'm looking for advice on how to lower my mast by hand
29 tanzer single spreader, on the hard at a marina 350 miles from home.
what tools do I need to bring?? What equipment setup would you recommend for lowering it? HTis is a one time deal.
I'm looking for an easily made tool (with materials I can buy from Lowes or something)
i will have 3 people (including myself) to manhandle the mast.
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post #2 of 26 Old 10-28-2008
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The only time we removed a mast by hand from a 23' boat, it was done in a marina while the boat was in the water. They had a kind of a gallows next to the bulkhead - boat would be docked under it, and then a manual hoist would be used to raise the mast.

I dropped the mast on smaller boats - but on a 29' it may be a stretch - it gets pretty heavy by then. In general it is done by disconnecting the forestay, giving some slack to shrouds and slowly increasing backstay length (usually using some sort of a winch). Mast base also has to support that - i.e. have a pivot. if there is no pivot, mast base can be damaged unless the mast is lifted upwards.

YMMV
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post #3 of 26 Old 10-28-2008
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Safest way is to hire a crane.. As brak says, it's a handful, and while it might be lowered using a 'gin pole' if the mast step is an adequately strong pivot point (unlikely) it's a very risky venture that can go horribly wrong.

Ron

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post #4 of 26 Old 10-28-2008
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Faster-

The local crane company quoted him $165 / hour with a four-hour minimum. Making a gin pole/a-frame setup is looking pretty good at this point.

Brak's points about the mast base and a hinge point are good ones... it can be done without a hinge point, but it is much more dangerous to do so.

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post #5 of 26 Old 10-28-2008
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We step are own masts and bigger ones will require a well built gin pole with the right block and tackle to lift the weight easy it could take a 6:1 to make a mast that size easy to handle


The big issue is standing up the GIN POLE in the first place as are pole is 20 feet and it is a handfull to setup with a mast in the way


We have to do it on the water because around here NOBODY will allow land based DIY steping


If you can give some lenth info i can give you a few ideas


After reading your in chicago the 165 X 4 sounds OK for that area , the yards here charge up to 15 dollars a FOOT each way with the bargin being 18 dollars round trip (fall and spring )


Also building a safe ginpole is not going to be CHEEP and if it is a one shot deal may not pay

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Last edited by tommays; 10-28-2008 at 09:17 AM.
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post #6 of 26 Old 10-28-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Faster-

The local crane company quoted him $165 / hour with a four-hour minimum. Making a gin pole/a-frame setup is looking pretty good at this point.
That's pretty harsh... then he needs to do some phoning around. Check into moving companies and outfits that have small truck-mounted "Hyab" type hoists or cranes.. many of them may have the required height at full extension. You don't have to lift a deck stepped mast very high, simply support it at the spreaders while laying it down. Their rates should be more reasonable.

We've hired such rigs in the past for around $100 - 200 to put in masts and launch smaller boats off trailers. The going rate in Vancouver here for mast picking is around $200.

Ron

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".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
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Faster-

In his other thread, I recommended looking at companies with bucket trucks, since most masts on a 29' boat are light enough that a bucket truck could probably handle it as well.

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post #8 of 26 Old 10-28-2008
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Have a bridge nearby? I know someone who used to back his Cal 29 up to a rail-road bridge that crossed a nearby creek after removing the backstay and running the topping lift to a spinnaker turning block. He then used a come-along on the bridge to lift the mast slightly and then set it back down on the pulpit/pushpit.

But he was a madman. I'm pretty sure the rail company would frown on the practice if they caught him.

Same guy decided the best way to deal with a rotting duck carcass in the marina was to douse it with gasoline and toss a match on it. He's no longer in our marina.

Best system I've seen involves two similar sized boats, rafted up on either side of you, and using their halyards and winches to lower the mast. That needs a hinged mast step, however, or a whole lot of careful thought and prior lashings at the mast base; 'cause if that sucher kicks out it will kill whoever's in front of it.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Delirious View Post
Have a bridge nearby? I know someone who used to back his Cal 29 up to a rail-road bridge that crossed a nearby creek after removing the backstay and running the topping lift to a spinnaker turning block. He then used a come-along on the bridge to lift the mast slightly and then set it back down on the pulpit/pushpit.

But he was a madman. I'm pretty sure the rail company would frown on the practice if they caught him.
Bad idea...good way to get arrested.

Quote:
Same guy decided the best way to deal with a rotting duck carcass in the marina was to douse it with gasoline and toss a match on it. He's no longer in our marina.
Well, at least it sanitized the corpse... he's a whack job...

Quote:
Best system I've seen involves two similar sized boats, rafted up on either side of you, and using their halyards and winches to lower the mast. That needs a hinged mast step, however, or a whole lot of careful thought and prior lashings at the mast base; 'cause if that sucher kicks out it will kill whoever's in front of it.
This doesn't require a hinged mast step, since you can tie the mast off a bit above the center of gravity/balance point and then you can lower it fairly easily. As long as the tie off point is above the center of gravity of the mast, it won't kick out at all, since it will be kept upright by gravity.

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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
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #10 of 26 Old 10-28-2008 Thread Starter
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no hinge, as far as I can tell

No hinge on this step.
I will have 3 people total to bring the mast down.
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