Removing the mast - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-22-2012 Thread Starter
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Removing the mast

I need to replace my windex, wind direction indicator sending unit, lazyjacks and add a fitting for a spinnaker. I'm thinking the best way to do this is to take the mast down. The mast is stepped on the cabin top and it's about 30' long. The last time this happened, it was done at a yard with a crane, but I'm thinking of trying it myself. There is wiring that goes up the mast, so it has to be raised up several inches and held there while the wiring is disconnected. Can I get this thing down on my own without a disaster?

PS, the boat is in a boat lift (not travel lift) so it's not like it's bobbing around.
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: Removing the mast

All that work can be done from a chair in an hour or so. I don't pull my mast unless the work can not be done other wise. and there is very little that can't be done with the mast up. There is however a skill to working from a chair that comes with experience. It's all basically working a screw driver and a wrench, drilling, and tapping. Hoist a bucket for your tools and use messenger line to tie your tools to the chair, every body drops a tool now and then.... just my 2 cents worth
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-22-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Removing the mast

I don't know anyone who has the skills, willingness and physique to go up there, that's why I'm considering dropping the mast. I guess I could go on a diet in the hopes of having someone haul me up there, but I was hoping to get this done before spring.
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: Removing the mast

Yeah, no need to unstep the mast. Find yourself a lightweight person. I had the yard replace my windex & anometer (sp?) this summer. Lazy jacks are even easier. No need to pull the stick.
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: Removing the mast

I think you'll find the yard cost to do it will be less than the cost of pulling the mast.
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Re: Removing the mast

You don't pull an engine to change the oil. A rigger worth his salt can do minor installations like that before lunch, hiring someone will be cheaper than un-stepping.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: Removing the mast

If you do decide to pull the mast, then have a crane do the job. That is getting into the difficult and dangerous size in (my opinion) to DIY. If you have any plans to replace any standing rigging, do that too. Consider sending wiring up for any possibly future upgrades.

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post #8 of 17 Old 10-22-2012
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Stepping the mast

If you go to the alberg 30 site there is an article for unstepping the mast, it takes a minimum of 3 people and a rig, cheaper to go up the mast
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: Removing the mast

I took my 30 foot mast down and I can tell you its not that hard. I found it easier to do at my dock than it is to do on the hard. make sure you do it on a calm day. Backed into my dock it was easier because I could have someone standing aft of the boat to recieve the mast and being on the dock with their arms raised they were a few feet higher than the top of my cabin. On the ground you would need a tall step ladder. A friend that has a lot of body mass (thats a fat guy with some muscles) lifted the mast so the electrical connections can be disconnected. Then with the bolt still in but loosened the forward stay is unhooked and the mast gets lowered aft to the guy on the dock. the guy holding the base of the mast just kind of steers the mast while the person forward walks aft with a good grip on the forward stay. If you had 2 more people available they could disconnect and grab the port and starbird stays and help lower / steer the mast down. Putting it back up is easier than taking it down. I actually did it with one other person however I dont think i'm going to try that again.
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-22-2012
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Re: Removing the mast

In the Navy we had a routine job of dropping our 34 foot H.F. antenna's to do cleaning and such. The official requirement was to use a crane.
Our Chief said get it done, no crane available. Four of us went to work, one holding the base by literally straddling it, the others lifting and lowering etc..
The base slipped, the guy straddling the base sings soprano (partial castration).

Can you hold 150 pounds of 30 foot long mast inches off the deck and unhook wires?

What you need to do is 1 hour of work, take the boat (float or trailer) to a marina and have it done. You can do things fast, cheap, or well (pick two, you can't have all three).

Lessons learned are opportunities earned.
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