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BristolJonny 06-10-2009 10:18 PM

help unstepping mast in MA
Hi, I am new to the forums, but so far it has been a huge help to me! I'm hoping you guys can help just a bit more... I just had the marina where my boat is kept step my mast last month, and now I'm being transferred to Virginia. I really don't want to pay the yard another $200 to take apart what they just put up!
So... I saw on the Alberg 30 site that some people have set up an A-frame to lower their rig. The mast on my Bristol 27 is smaller than the Alberg, so I think it would be fairly straightforward to unstep. Does anyone in the Buzzards Bay area have one of these A-frames and be willing to help me lower my mast? Please help!!! Thanks in advance, I will pay in beer and lunch :D

JimHawkins 06-10-2009 11:23 PM

You could sail the boat down and avoid both the unstep and re-step charges, and have a great vacation too.

BristolJonny 06-11-2009 07:07 AM

That was my first thought, but unfortunately nobody else liked the idea :( Apparently it is "too dangerous". Hahaha, there's also the time commitment that I couldn't work out. Therefore I need to ship it...

sailingdog 06-11-2009 07:34 AM

Is the mast on the Bristol deck-stepped? If so, rigging an A-frame for it of your own would not be that difficult. It would also save you mast stepping and unstepping fees in the future.

Where on Buzzards Bay is the boat???

JomsViking 06-11-2009 08:02 AM


We routinely step and unstep the mast of the sailing schools H-Boat two man alone without any additional tools.
This requires two things: The mast must be deckstepped, and prefereably hinged in some way - if not, a third person is recommended.
We loosen the stays a little (don't remove them), remove the foreshroud. then one of us lower it using the spinakker or headsail halyards, while the other supports its aft side. You don't want to hold the halyard in your hands, put it around something and let it out slowly but steady, while watching everything is ok.
It is also strongly preferable to be the guy on the halyard, as the other one risks getting beaten on the head by the stick - it is potentially dangerous, so wear a hardhat if you have one :cool:

If your mast is very thickwalled and heavy, it could be too heavy.

Btw the H-Boats mast is around 9.5 meters ~ 31 feet IIRC and relatively lightweight.

bheintz 06-11-2009 08:08 AM

What you could also try to borrow is a Jin Pole: basically a short pole that is raise the mast.

If your Mast is deck stepped the method is to pivot the mast at the step: the Antrim 27 and Chrystler 22 show two different methods.

If your Mast is stepped on the Cabin Sole then the mast is raised vertically above the Partners and slowly lowered into position. Here is some discussion on Jin Pole design for a J24.

If you have any friends that race a Mumm 30, J24, J80, Melges 24, 32 etc. they may have a Jin Pole that they routinely use at regattas. Usually for a few Beers they will be happy to help out.

BristolJonny 06-11-2009 09:03 AM

the mast is deck stepped and I believe approximately 35 feet. I would like to use an A-frame to lower it, as has been shown on the alberg 30 site, but I'm not comfortable dropping a 35 foot pole with only photos on a website to guide me:)
I would be willing to build an a-frame if someboady has experience with lowering a mast in this fashion and is willing to show me. In the future I would like to build a tabernacle like the one that was featured in Good old Boat a few months back.

sailingdog 06-11-2009 09:31 AM

Again, it would help if you said where the boat was. I'm often down in the Buzzards Bay area, often in Marion and Fairhaven, since I spend a lot of time on boats in both places...

BristolJonny 06-11-2009 11:15 AM

oops sorry, I thought it had my location in my profile. The boat is in Westport point at Tripps marina until the 29th when the haulers are going to move it to Virginia. I can take the mast down any time between now and the 29th if anyone can show me how

AdamLein 06-11-2009 12:16 PM

I'm planning on unstepping my mast for maintenance purposes in the next couple of weeks; I'll be using plans found at the FTP archives for constructing and using an A-frame. I priced out the materials the other day -- should be less than $50 and as mentioned above, I'll do all my own stepping and unstepping in the future.

I haven't done the job before but with a couple of able seamen it should be fairly straightforward.

Here's a link to A-frame instructions. They make assumptions about the sort of rigging you've got and of course dimensions, so you may need to make some modifications. I plan to construct mine out of smaller pieces since I have storage issues; I also plan to add some purchase to the lifting system. I think my mast is about 75 lbs.

Here's a link to a YouTube video in which some folks follow the instructions above. They also made some modifications. I'll basically be following the procedure they used.

Good luck; let us know how it goes!

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