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Old 04-28-2013
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jacking up the mast

hello, has anyone ever replaced the mast step plate by some how getting a jack and raise the mast up enough to replace this plate... the mast i have as alu and roughly 50 ft ... i am wondering if this is possible or a very bad idea,
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: jacking up the mast

Sounds like an idea from a Coyote and Roadrunner episode
But seriously... you would have to raise the mast indirectly, for example by drilling the mast through side to side, placing a steel rebar through the holes so both ends stick out enough for two jacks to lift the mast (you would have to give the stays enough slack to make it possible). I have not seen it done, but if I had to do it, that would be the plan.
It would be a fun thing watching someone doing it...
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: jacking up the mast

The bottom would tend to "kick" out so you would need maybe 3 points guyed off to keep it from moving from it's landing spot.
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: jacking up the mast

Anything can be done but it does not always make sense to do it just because you can. More information would help. Is it deck or keel stepped? What is wrong with the plate that is needs to be replaced, and are you sure the mast end is in good shape? How will you get at the fasteners holding the base plate? are they under the mast or a flange outside of it? Is it possible and how much would it cost to just remove the mast? You have a lot to consider before trying this. Keep in mind a 50 foot mast is heavy and if things get out of control or something slips it could be dangerous. Working under a mast supported like this seems a bit scary to me as well, if it fell it could easily remove a hand or finger before you knew what happened.
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: jacking up the mast

I'd pull the mast and use the opportunity to make sure everything at the masthead was fine as well. Seems like there's less to go wrong that way, and can't imagine it works out that much more expensive than trying to Heath-Robinson a jack system.
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Old 04-28-2013
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Re: jacking up the mast

If you feel you have to DIY it then I would look for a ICW bridge, anchor below and send someone up with a block and tackle.

I can't remember if the guy who did this was arrested or not.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: jacking up the mast

The short answer is "No". No one in their right mind uses a jack to raise their mast to work on the mast step. Not a 50' aluminum mast at least.
I'm not saying it couldn't be done.

You need a crane or cherry picker like vehicle to pull a line/strap under the spreaders to lift it up.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: jacking up the mast

I concur with Caleb, crane would make short work of a tricky task...
I built a gin pole last year for my Grampian 26 in the absence of a (affordable) crane, and that worked like a charm. If your mast is keel stepped, a crane is really your best option.
Heres an image of the gin pole for those interested, mine is fashioned after one that a fella made for his catalina 22.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: jacking up the mast

I made a jig to raise the mast on my boat once. I needed to do it to cut 4" off the base of the mast and to insert a raised base of the same height. The jib was made of hardwood for the base, angle iron supports and used bolts as the raising mechanism. Basically,the angle iron supports raised with the mast and the high tensile bolts screwed onto nuts on this support. The bolts then mated with a countersunk hole in the hardwood that acted to ensure the bolts maintained the alignment between the hardwood base and the angle iron supports as it was raised. It lifted the mast via a pin that went through drilled holes each side of the mast. I did this with the boat on the water. The mast remained vertically supported by systematically loosening stays while raising the jig. The hardwood had enough grip on the deck to prevent any slippage at the base of the mast.

The caveat is my boat was only 25 feet long, which I guess made the mast around 30 feet. I have to confess I nearly lost the mast overboard at one stage - which was no fault of the jig really- as I made the jig a little too small and it interfered with my base extension installation which required me to move the mast away from the base laterally. I had to pick the mast up and move it slightly rearwards by hand. Of course I slipped and came within a second or so of ejecting the mast overboard. Fortunately I did my best inverse Scottish pole thrower impersonation and managed to recover the situation before the poop hit the fan.

Unfortunately I have no pictures of the actual jig in action, but here's the original drawing that I made...
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: jacking up the mast

A dismasting would be bad enough when at the helm away from the crashing wreck let alone below decks right next to it. Just because it has been done does not mean it should be repeated especially on a larger scale. A 50' mast might weigh 3-4x what a 30' mast does due to larger/thicker cross section. Hire a yard to lift it up with a crane. You don't need to pull it completely out; the work can be done in the water while the crane is holding the mast above the work area (if it's a quick job, and the yard has the crane near their dock).
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