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doons60 05-27-2009 09:55 PM

How often should I step my mast
We just had some work down at the top of the mast. While doing it the folks at the yard told me I should step the mast at least every three years. We've had the boat for three years and haven't done it yet.
It actually makes sense but have a sneaking suspicion the marina is just looking to make up for lost slips.

paulk 05-27-2009 11:13 PM

We unstep our mast every few years so that we can go over it carefully and examine ALL the fittings, terminals, struts, turnbuckles, and cotter pins. Then we can tape the things that need taping carefully, without losing two or three rolls in drink or spending hours in the bosun's chair developing terminal wedgies. Yards are trying to make money too, but sometimes they're right.

zz4gta 05-28-2009 07:39 AM

Did you ask the marina 'why' you should step your mast?

celenoglu 05-28-2009 08:38 AM

During the time of wooden boats, wooden masts were stepped every year. The aluminum masts do not need care or maintanence very often. The life of shrouds is approximatly 7 -10 years. You do not need to step your mast at all if you are climbing the mast every two or three years and checking it. In case you see some failure you might try to repair it without stepping. In my opinion every type of repair and care can be done without stepping.

BarryL 05-28-2009 08:44 AM


I live in NY, and it gets COLD in winter. Every year my boat get hauled, the rig taken down, and the boat moved to a yard. The reverse happens in the spring.

And, it seems that each year, some nuisance type things happens to the rig. Either some wiring in the mast gets ripped, or I loose some mast wedges, or the mast boot gets torn, etc.

If I didn't HAVE to take the mast down, I would leave it up for some period of time, maybe 5 years? You do need to inspect it though. I check mine when it's down, and again mid way through the season (as best I can from deck level).

Good luck,

tommays 05-28-2009 09:19 AM

Most boats on Long Island get it taken down becasue storage space issues in many yards require then to be moved to off sight areas

BUT if your down at the boat yard in a real winter blow the boats with masts up take a freaking beating

dgr 05-28-2009 12:23 PM

As often as you upstep it :laugher

Here is one datapoint with a deck stepped mast. My mast step being a crumbled pile of white dust may have been prevented had the previous owner unstepped my mast with any frequency (if ever). So, I can say with authority that it should be done sooner than every 37 years.

If someone else was repairing my cabin-roof and building a new mast step, I would expect the cost to hit in the neighborhood of 1000-2000 dollars. That is just a SWAG based on what it's taking me to get there. That money could have easily covered unstepping every 3-5 years for the life of the boat and a couple cases of beer.

DrB 05-28-2009 12:58 PM

Every 3 to 4 years. Less frequent if you routinely go up the mast and do a inspection of the goods up there. The other thing beneficial about unstepping the mast, is it allows you to replace halyards, lights, antennas, windex, etc. and lube stuff easily.

We unstepped out mast last year and the year before (had to because of bridge). Probably won't do this haul out, but may in two more years.


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