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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 10-16-2011
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Trailer Sailor - Mast Step

The mast step on my boat is bent pretty badly due to a slight mast raising incident. Its a pretty simple design (See attachment) but I would like to beef this thing up a bit so easily and holds the mast a bit more securely when I'm putting it up.

The one thats on there is a bit to wide, so the next one will be about 3/8" smaller giving me roughly 1/8" of play when putting the mast in place.

My assumption is that there are probably better designs out there for mast steps that would help make it easier to put this thing up and down without any assistance.

I've attached a 3d rendering of basically what is currently on the boat.

Anyone have any ideas/changes that could be made to assist with mast raising?
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Trailer Sailor - Mast Step-mast-step.jpg  
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Old 10-16-2011
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My thoughts on this:

1. There shouldn't be any "play" in the mast step - the mast should fit snugly between the cheeks.

2. Why the slots? There should be a single bolt running through the side holes and a wing-nut (preferably) on the other side.

3. The bolt-holes should be at the aft-most end of the cheeks, so that the mast step can open up like a hinge for lowering.

4. The cheeks and base need to be beefed up A LOT from what you've shown - I'd suggest making the entire thing out of cast aluminium.

Do you have any pics of your current set-up - including your mast base - that you could post here? What kind of boat is this for??
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Last edited by Classic30; 10-16-2011 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 10-16-2011
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When the mast is laying down the bolt is at the top of the slot, when you stand the mast up, it is in the bottom of the slot.

The current one is made out of 1/8" stainless. From the pictures I've managed to find it looks lke this is the way the factory had it setup as well.

The more I've thought about it I think I'm just going to stick with this design since it works and just beef it up a bit with some thicker stainless.
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Old 10-16-2011
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Where did it bend? I'd bet that the flat portion against the deck is what bent the most. One of the problems here is that with lever as long as your mast there is almost no limit to how much force you can apply. So SOMETHING is going to break! Now what would you prefer to break? The end of the end of the mast? The deck? Or the easily repaired/replaced deck step? For my money I would prefer it was the step. So maybe you need to reconsider your mast raising lowering technique, and work on making that more bulletproof.
My boat is an Etap 26 with a 37 foot mast that weighs about 100 lbs. I took it down by myself, and will be putting it back up by myself too. I have an A frame made from 2X4s lashed to the toe rails with ratchet binders, and a cable from the top to the bow stem fitting. A worm gear hoist attached to the top of the A frame pulls the mast up using a sling thrown over the spreaders. Excellent control up and down.

Gary H. Lucas
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Old 10-16-2011
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Thislooks like the mast step for a Catalina. If so. Go to Catalina Direct.com and see the nice stainless steel steps with holes for blocks
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Old 10-16-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neoxaero View Post
The current one is made out of 1/8" stainless. From the pictures I've managed to find it looks lke this is the way the factory had it setup as well.

The more I've thought about it I think I'm just going to stick with this design since it works and just beef it up a bit with some thicker stainless.
If it helps, the one on our Hartley 18 was 1/4" cast alloy. I'd think that 1/8" stainless was far too thin for any TS larger than around 16'...
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Ditto what Gary said. While I like re-engineering things to be stronger, sometimes you want a sacrificial link in a system to protect it from much more involved and costly repairs, ie the deck.
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Old 10-18-2011
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Ditto about raising technique. There should be some way to limit the amount of lateral movement as you raise the mast. On my C22, the aft-lower shrouds and sidestays kept the mast from moving much AFTER it was about half way up. While mast was lower, they didn't provide much lateral support. I agree with just beefing it up. If you are going to build a new one, you could also add a tang so you can attach a vang directly, or reefing line, or whatever.
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Old 10-18-2011
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Neo,

This is my tabernacle. It allows me to slide the base of the mast into place without messing with a pin or bolt. It's made of 3/8" thick aluminum but 1/4 would work fine. My previous was similar to yours, made of 12GA SS and got bent pretty badly when the "experts" at the marina stepped it for us. My wife and I can step a mast in 10 minutes or less.
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Trailer Sailor - Mast Step-tabernacle.jpg  
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Old 10-18-2011
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Fine tune your mast raising abilities this should never happen in the right conditions. Don;t beef it up just replace it and get it right,,, good luck
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