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post #44 of Old 11-23-2019 Thread Starter
1964 Columbia Challenger
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: LA CA
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Re: Dismasted/1964 Challenger

Per- "Now back to the original intent of the thread. What did you have to do to the mast to get it ready?? Did they ship it with all hardware attached, a step, etc. and all you had to do is add wire and raise it??? Forte seems to be the most economical of source for a carbon stick but wondering how much you did to keep the costs down??"

Stick came with backing plates that I provided, installed (not being cheap, it is that the T-Terminals are very sensitive to being part of a "system", and don't transpose between brands, well so I sent them the Forte, for pre-fitting), a head (well made) and since Forte has a relationship with Dwyer, a boom and spreaders at near 50% discount(!- note that they may share if you buy from Forte, their deep discount w/Harken, too- I got a couple of flip-flop blocks). The goose-neck fitting, spreader fittings, sheave boxes, and exit plates are also set in/on the mast and there is a small lug set near the top, on the inside, to hold up a wire loom (they provide the sock- know that it is an insidiously difficult thing to fill with the wires and it became a challenge not-unlike some sort of "Chinese finger" toy lawn game). No halyard winch comes with (or is needed, IMO). Sheave for main halyard is in head, and I had yet another halyard sheave box added on top of the job halyard (literally and figuratively, as it lives above the fore-stay) which I call the "chute" halyard (most people would use it as a spinnaker line, I plan on using it for a real parachute). Base plate w/"puck" is also included. I fabricated new chain plates from 1/4 inch plate hydro-cut and added a backer plate on the other side of the bulkhead while at it since they were cutting the pattern anyway might as well cut a version that just doesn't go thru the deck and thru-bolt it while there.

What is left, sounds easy but it took me approx 5 long hot weekends to mount cleats (I mounted 5), blocks (optional, I mounted 2 flip-flop versions- 1 I use for Cunningham but will be rove for "jib" halyard as needed, the other controls the chute halyard line), fill wire sock (optional if you don't mind wire foul/slap) rove (3) halyards (I used an electrician's snake to fish the halyards and wire loom thru), mount the base (thru-bolted), add spreaders and standing rigging (there is a whole chapter, just in getting the standing rigging fabricated), and step. I ended up going to the local boat yard and paying them for an hour of crane time to set.

Sounds easy, huh? While at it, pre-stepping, I added an anchor light under the port spreader, re-installed the flag halyard block under stbd spreader, a tri-color up top and a big Windex with a light just for that. Key was scribing the heel of the mast to the slope of the deck and I installed a CF tube under the deck, bolted to the bulkhead, directly under the mast to reinforce the old FRP athwartships beam that was a bit tired; the tube doubles as a conduit for the wiring (still to be connected to terminal blocks mounted on bulkhead inside v-berth).

There are probably other operations involved but most are covered, here. Note that I also treated the standing rigging, cryogenically (I can hear the howling, now) in an attempt to minimize stretch and add anti-corrosion properties to the 304 (stronger,but less resistant to corrosion). Now I am running at less than half the rig tension of a reg AL mast and the stick stays in column and, aside from the initial settling (this stick isn't as light as you would think- it came down approx 1/4 inch, putting my CF horiz interior support to the test). I will adjust the lowers before next outing as they seem a bit loose but the fore/back stay is around 320 lbs and the cap shrouds near 200 (which is really amazing). I admit I had to cut the back-stay to length, after swaging (installed swageless fitting), due to my measuring. I have a bit of rake at the top (couple inches) but not more weather helm than before new stick, and probably less. The Cunningham takes out some of the WH (see pic from foredeck and squint to see the wake behind the boat) and it may be the pair of new tri-radial sails but she goes flat and fast (avgd high 4's in 8 to 10 kn in that session).

Sails nice in heavy and light- left late and only had a couple of hours of light, and as that and the wind went away she did well (see other pic coming into LA).

Gotta get back to work to pay for this stuff.

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