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hudi11 04-23-2010 04:06 PM

What to do about a low bridge?
I have relatives who just bought a house on the water with an unused dock, and the family is considering buying a sailboat. However, a nasty bridge with just 11-14 feet of clearance (depending on the tide) stands between the house and open water. Since no sailboat in existence that I know of (not even a sunfish) has a mast that short, is there anything that can be done about this?

A mast that could be raised and lowered while underway?

Would it be possible/practical to tip a small boat over and get it under the bridge that way? Or is that crazy

Any advice/suggestions would be much appreciated as we would love to get a sailboat, yet this bridge poses a serious problem.


Faster 04-23-2010 04:11 PM

Europe is full of low clearance bridges and many of the sailboats there have masts in 'tabernacles' that facilitate easy lowering and raising... there's even a week-long regatta somewhere in England where the racers have to do this several times a day!

Such setups are rare in North America, but certainly do-able.

Canuckster 04-23-2010 04:35 PM

Close your eyes, and hope !

AKscooter 04-23-2010 04:45 PM

Say, I know a fella that has a wee bit 'o plastique.

/just kiddin' federales

tager 04-23-2010 05:16 PM

Mast tabernacles are pretty practical on any mast up to 30'.

30' is a number I chose arbitrarily. Seems like the biggest mast I would want to singlehandedly raise or lower with a good one-man system.

deniseO30 04-23-2010 05:17 PM

I agree with faster, yes you can get or make a tabernacle for a mast, and ck with trailer sailors on quick ways to step and raise the mast.

whroeder 04-23-2010 05:23 PM

set up an A frame. Raise/lower the mast using the winch.
watch the rigging video on MACGREGOR 26 HOME PAGE

Architeuthis 04-23-2010 06:28 PM

Leave the mast tied to the bridge!

When you come back from sailing have someone on the bridge reach out with a pole to grab the mast at/under the speaders. Use quick release toggles on the rigging to release it from the boat.

Then slide the mast over to one side of the bridge so other boats will not hit it and cover it with half a plastic light standard. Works best if the light standard covering matches others in the area.

Get fancy and have the speaders fold down and no one will know. Spot the mast in this photo:

Even the radar looks like it belongs!

woodymr 04-23-2010 06:47 PM

cabin stepped mast and mast stepper

RKelsall 04-23-2010 07:01 PM

I have seen a Seawind 1000XL set up so that the mast can be lowered to deck level and then raised back up while under way. The owner was showing the boat in San Diego, CA. last year.

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