Join Date: Apr 2003
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Whether or not to unstep the mast really comes down to whether or not the wire passes through easily. On a lot of deck stepped masts, it's next to impossible to pull a wire through. The easiest way to find out is to send a person aloft to pull while a second person is at the base of the mast pulling on the same wire. If it moves up and down easily, you're golden. But sadly, that isn't likely.
If you are keel stepped, your chances are much better.
Either way, you should keep in mind the added difficulty and time in doing these kind of jobs at the top of a mast. Especially if you are planning to do it yourself and don't have a lot of experience. It is almost certain that you will run into a snag or two.
One more thing. If you do un-step the stick to do this work. Have the rigger remove the Windex (unless you are going to replace it anyway) before they drop it. And have him leave both the Windex and the wind instrument off until the mast is stepped again. It's not that hard to go up and put them on later. And a lot less expensive if they get hung up on the crane cable.