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Old 04-23-2006   #1
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Smile keel stepped mast

Hi everybody; I'm looking at an '87 E34. I have an 86 E28; the 34 has a keel stepped mast as opposed to the deck stepped on the 28. Any considerations on this configuration? It seems to me to probably be more stable, with less potential for problems with deck sag (which i read so much about in this forum!) Although possibly more problematic when it comes to unstepping the mast. Your thoughts/experiences? And any other thoughts on the E34 in general.
ps; the mast of the 34 has a threaded rod attaching to the ceiling of the salon; anyone know what this is for?
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Old 04-24-2006   #2
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The boat probably has halyard turning blocks on the mast collar. The rod from the keel step to the deck/collar serves to keep the halyard tension from hogging the cabin top.

Deck-stepped versus keel-stepped each have their pros and cons, however, if the mast support isn't perfectly engineered, with deck-stepped the resulting problems can be greater. I'd say there's a general preference for keel-stepped as the less problem-prone approach. You don't see many deck-stepped masts as boats get over 30' or so, except perhaps in Europe.

I have difficulty getting the mast collar of my keel-stepped mast completely water-tight....
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Old 05-31-2006   #3
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Lightbulb more info...

There are tens (hundreds?) of threads with useful and interesting info about this and closely-related models in the Forums section at
As to deck stepped vs. keel stepped, either works as long as the system was designed and built properly. As far as keeping the water out, either method functions just fine, if kept maintained.
The "tie rod" is there to stop the cabin top from being pulled upward from halyard tension on the base-collar turning blocks. Some boats have it secured to the mast and some all the way down to the plate on which the spar is stepped.
If you value sailing ability, you will love the 34. It combined a nice high-end teak interior with real performance under sail -- kind of like buying a new Tartan at a quarter of the price...

When you visit the site, note that complete brochures and PDF's of owners' manuals can be d/l, also. All this is, of course, due to fellow Ericson owners contributing material for the last 5 years.
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