can you step a mast on 27' Catalina? - SailNet Community

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Old 01-16-2012
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can you step a mast on 27' Catalina?

Good evening:

I have a "practical" question. We're looking at an older 27' Catalina. the primary purpose is to leave it in Flathead Lake (Montana) pretty much all season - move it to the hard for the winter, etc.

It is on the big side for "trailer-able", but it could be done. This is important, because we'd probably plan one long trip to the SanJuan Islands, or into BC around Vancouver island, etc every year.

My question is how difficult would it be to unstep/step the mast by hand? It is much taller than what I've done before. Is this length/height beyond the practical limits of manually stepping? Would it be more realistic to need to plan to use equipment (e..g, crane, yard-arm, etc.) at both ends?

If practical to do this, what resources would you suggest for modifying the mast step itself (pivot point) to enable this to happen?


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Old 01-16-2012
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A high point near the boat while stepping/unsteping the mast might be enough or manual operation. You can use the mast of another boat on the water to carry stepping/unstepping.
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Old 01-16-2012
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It can be done with a tabernacled mast and the proper rigging. The trick on that large a boat is to use the boom as a gin-pole and lower the mast to (or raise it from) the fore-deck/bow, rather than the cockpit/stern. You also have to make sure that the upper shrouds have a pivot point in them exactly in line with the pivot point of the tabernacle (i.e., usually a foot or so above where the shrouds attach to the chainplates), and guy-lines from the shroud pivot points to the end of the boom.

Here's a video of just such a set-up in use on a Nor'Sea 27.
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Old 01-16-2012
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I built a wooden A-frame when I needed to replace the spreader brackets on my 1972 C-27. Getting the mast down was fairly easy with one person hauling on a 2:1 line and another managing the mast onto a cradle on the deck. Fighting against gravity when stepping was quite a bit harder, but it worked and with a couple of modifications could probably be made a lot easier; the most important thing seems to be ensuring that your hoist lifts the mast from its center of gravity.

The A-frame was then disassembled and fits into the engine compartment (we have an outboard).
s/v Laelia - 1978 Pearson 365 ketch
s/v Essorant - 1972 Catalina 27
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Old 01-16-2012
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I just lowered the mast on my Catalina 27 using the a-frame method mentioned above and it worked very well. With 2 people, one guiding the mast down and the other tending the line, it went very smooth and did not take much time. We lowered the mast while on a moooring and neither of us were ever in harms way. Below is a pretty good video using that method.

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