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Old 01-14-2012
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neilio is on a distinguished road
Pivoting Mast Step

I have a 1967 Ericson 26 and would like some feedback regarding the installation of a pivoting mast step. I am considering this because I would like to reduce my costs when launching as I would not need a crane to step the mast and also, it would give me access to lights and tackle if the need arises.

What are your thoughts? Am I giving up anything I am not considering or is this a win win?
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Old 01-14-2012
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FYI, the mast is deck stepped.
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Old 01-14-2012
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It's certainly possible to convert a deck stepped mast to a tabernacle setup that will allow lowering and raising - but that's not a lightweight mast section and it will still be a bit of a chore. Don't underestimate the leverage a 30 foot piece of aluminum can exert on someone holding onto the bottom 5 feet.

Using a gin pole setup for raising and lowering (and keeping control of the stick) will pretty much be a requirement..

But the short answer is yes, it's do-able. I don't think you'd lose anything as long as the fitting you choose is well designed.

Examples:

hinged mast setp - Google Search

This one shows a couple of gin pole arrangements as well..

http://www.google.ca/search?tbm=isch...w=1696&bih=829
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Old 01-14-2012
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My Etap 26 has a pivoting mast step, which also houses the gearing for the lifting keel. My mast is 37 feet tall, and I took it down using an A frame strapped to the toe rail on the bow. I tossed a sling over the spreaders and hooked my 4 part main sheet to the top of the A-frame and sling, then disconnected the forestay and lowered away. My boat was in the water at the time too. Once the mast was down I put the sling on the foot of the mast and hoisted it a bit, then went to the stern and lifted that end as I walked it back towards the bow.

Two issues. My main sheet was too short to lower all the way down in one step. I had to tie off and reset the main sheet so the mast would come all the way down. My 4 to 1 main sheet was a little light for the job, a 6 to 1 would have been better. When I put the mast back up though I am going to use a hand worm gear winch that I bought to pull trees back up after a windstorm. It is much more powerful and has 20 foot stroke.

Gary H. Lucas
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Old 01-15-2012
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My Catalina 25 is set up with a pivot mast step. It's very easy to use with an A-frame set up. This video shows the process:
Stepping Mast on a Catalina 25
and here is where you can check out the Catalina step if it will fit you mast diameter:
Catalina Direct
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Old 01-15-2012
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It is likely to work with a smaller ship. It will need a separate gin-pole arrangement, but it should work.

I wish there was one on my 36 ft ship, but it takes 3 or 4 men to lift it and the mast is simply too heavy. Someone would get their head stoved in if it fell.

Happily, to step the mast does not need the beast of a crane necessary to lift the whole ship. Even quite a small crane will do it.
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