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Old 11-01-2013
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Solo Mast Stepping System

I've been talking with a local machinist about putting together a solo stepping system.

I'm doing a full refit on my small boat, and still assembling the project list, prices, timing, etc; which is why I'm asking for input now.

Here's a link to a video of someone that has what appears to be a very slick self contained setup for the raising assembly, both on and off the water:


The big difference between my boat and hers, is that mine is more heavily rigged: 28' LOA, a 33' ~140 lb mast, 5/16" standing rigging.

I've a cache of bookmarks on various systems and setups I've found, but would like to get your thoughts.

Note:
I do try and search for previous threads on the subjects I post, but the advanced search function on Sailnet tends to give me non-relevant returns. So apologies if this subject was approached - just post a link to the other threads.

Thanks

Last edited by Kielanders; 11-01-2013 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 11-01-2013
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Re: Solo Mast Stepping System

Have you seen this one?

Dave posted lots of details of it over on the Catalina 25 owner's association. I made my own version of the A-frame and it worked great.
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Re: Solo Mast Stepping System

The system shown only addresses the most simple of the issues and should not be used in any sort of wind or with a larger mast. It looks fine, but might be a lot of gizmo for the problem. I used nothing more than a gin pole and a block that took a line back to the cockpit winch for that part. Avoids the need for a winch on the gin pole. Let's call this problem #1.

Problem #2 is that the mast has no lateral stability once it starts to come down. On a large mast the hinge at the base of the mast cannot possibly hold it against the forces of the wind or, worse yet, rolling of the boat if done while floating. The standard solution for #2 is to create a hinge point for side stays that is at the same altitude as the mast hinge point. That keeps tension on the side stays while the mast is being lowered. There are two common ways to do that. One is to cut the side stay and add a ring or other junction at the hinge point. Another is to create a turning block with a large radius, so the side stay can wrap around the turning block without kinking the stainless wire. In either case, the turning point needs to be tensioned forward as the mast tips back.

Problem #3 is where the mast ends up after it's down. Unless you have a really stubby mast or a catboat rig, the mast will normally end up resting on the back rail at a point forward of the center of gravity. That means that when the hinge at the base of the mast is disconnected, the step of the mast will want to go up, with the tip of the mast going down to the water or the pavement. The solution to this is to build a rest point further astern than the end of the boat. The mast will come down on that, resting at a point that is behind the center of gravity. On my mast support I put a rubber roller, like those used on boat trailers, on the frame at the point where the mast would come down on it. Once the mast was on it, I would disconnect the hinge at the base of the mast and walk it forward. The top part (now astern) was sitting on that rubber roller and made it easy to walk the mast forward to it's winter resting cradle rigged on the bow.

It took me a weekend to fabricate my single handed raise/lower system and few sessions to perfect it, but it really helped. I could to the complete job in less than a couple hours totally single handed and worked irrespective of whether it was windy or the boat was floating in a chop. Going up and going down was all totally controlled.

Before I built that system I followed the standard procedure of calling a few guys over to the marina and having several people who didn't really understand the dynamics pulling on lines and pulling off wires. They all had other things to do on the weekend and were in a hurry. I created my system after having a few near incidents, and watching others at the marina drop their masts on the pavement due to confusion and missed communications.
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Old 11-01-2013
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Re: Solo Mast Stepping System

I would like to hear some good solutions as well. Currently using our spinnaker pole and mainsheet block and tackle to raise and lower our mast (as illustrated here: Mast Raising), but the set up is a pain and it is still a bit scary and can have problems. Going to be lowering the mast for the winter using this set up and two other people, which shouldn't be too bad, but I would like to get to the point where I can do it by myself easily. Looking forward to replies!

Edited to add: At the very least I intend to fabricate a better ginpole and retire the bracket and spinnaker pole part of the procedure.
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Re: Solo Mast Stepping System

I can step a J24 mast keel stepped (70 pounds) with simple stuff and one hand tired behind my back

The Cal 29 mast is about the same length and it is deck stepped BUT it is so freaking heavy and so much in the way for winter repairs I have the boat yard do it and store the mast there and take the boat home

It is just the simplest way me to handle that boat
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Old 11-01-2013
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Re: Solo Mast Stepping System

Ed and Ellen Zacko have the answer. I purchased their DVD, "Raise Your Mast ...Yourself" and am in the process of adapting it to our Islander 28.


An informative DVD about how to raise a deck stepped tabernacle mast

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Old 11-01-2013
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Re: Solo Mast Stepping System

My hunter 260 has a 35' mast that I can raise and lower myself.

The mast has struts on either side which run to the deck to keep it from twisting or swinging.
It uses a gin pole which attaches into a hole on the mast. The jib halyard attaches to one side, the mainsheet attaches to the other and is run down to an attachment point in the anchor locker. You use the mainsheet to raise or lower the mast. Some people have modified things to use an electric winch.

Some diagrams:

The mast struts
descrip_47d.jpg

The system with gin pole
general_17c.jpg
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Re: Solo Mast Stepping System

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sublime View Post
My hunter 260 has a 35' mast that I can raise and lower myself.

The mast has struts on either side which run to the deck to keep it from twisting or swinging.
It uses a gin pole which attaches into a hole on the mast. The jib halyard attaches to one side, the mainsheet attaches to the other and is run down to an attachment point in the anchor locker. You use the mainsheet to raise or lower the mast. Some people have modified things to use an electric winch.

Some diagrams:

The mast struts
descrip_47d.jpg

The system with gin pole
general_17c.jpg

Looking at your engineering drawings; this is a Hunter designed system? Was the entire system sold by Hunter? Do the struts need to dynamically lengthen as they travel the raising arc? How heavy is your mast? Perhaps my 140 lbs isn't heavy for a 33' mast, but it was beefier than I expected when first lifting. Do you have any photos available of your install?

Thanks.
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Re: Solo Mast Stepping System

You'll be amazed the first time you do it. According to a quick search, the tall rig mast on a Catalina 25 is 150 lbs. I didn't have the tall rig, so maybe lop off 15-20 lbs. When I used the A-frame, I had 3 wraps around the winch, and even when the mast was most of the way down (i.e., when I should have had most of the weight on the line) I had total control over it.

A few threads:
Association Forum - lowering the mast

http://www.catalina-capri-25s.org/fo...hTerms=a,frame









In hindsight, I probably could have use dyneema to attach the a frame to the chainplate.
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Last edited by jimgo; 11-01-2013 at 11:40 PM.
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Re: Solo Mast Stepping System

The Corsair 750 has the easiest rig stepping system I have used. Basically it is a hinge that slides into place that the mast is pinned into. Then you attach a gin pole to the mast, and crank the whole mess up with the trailer winch. It also uses two side stays to hold the mast center lined as it goes up.

All in all it takes about 20 minutes up or down.

Similar to http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eqsbJn4...%3DeqsbJn475_g but somewhat refined.
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Last edited by Stumble; 11-02-2013 at 12:33 AM.
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