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Re: Mast sheeves sticking
On both of the boats that I've worked on the rigging is attached to the masthead, not to the masthead cover. The cover can easily be removed with a few screws for inspection. It is just a thin piece of aluminum mostly there to keep rain out of the mast.
Dropping the mast on your boat should be quite easy with the help of a few people.
Most bosun's chairs make it hard to get your head and shoulders above the masthead for easy inspection. If you can attach leg loops or borrow an ATM Mast Climber or some mast steps they do allow it.
If you've never had the mast down I'd probably take that approach. While it is down you can inspect all of the standing rigging, replace the anchor light with an LED, and do anything else that you'd find beneficial. When I did this on my Catalina 25 we dropped the mast in about an hour (starting at 9am, so it was down by 10:15 or so), did 3 hours of work with the mast down, and had it back up a little bit after lunch time.
My Pearson 28-2 has a considerably heavier mast and I had to have a yard do it with a crane.
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