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Discussion Starter #1
I am preparing to build the crutches we plan to use to support our mast while traversing canals. I expect to be capable of un stepping the mast myself a-la Ed Zaco's rig. That transformation is underway.

We would like to spend some time traveling inland and will enjoy cruise time in our NE canals from time to time. I would like to carry the mast high enough to make getting around on deck as comfortable as possible. My plan is to build supports from aluminum pipe. I have a radar mast at the stern that can support a purchase there.

My question is about the practical height to design for. Any insights or suggestions will be welcome. The boat is an Islander 28.

Thanks,

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I am preparing to build the crutches we plan to use to support our mast while traversing canals. I expect to be capable of un stepping the mast myself a-la Ed Zaco's rig. That transformation is underway.

We would like to spend some time traveling inland and will enjoy cruise time in our NE canals from time to time. I would like to carry the mast high enough to make getting around on deck as comfortable as possible. My plan is to build supports from aluminum pipe. I have a radar mast at the stern that can support a purchase there.

My question is about the practical height to design for. Any insights or suggestions will be welcome. The boat is an Islander 28.

Thanks,

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Be sure to check fixed bridge clearances along your proposed or possible routes before going ahead. Some bridges have 10 feet or less of clearance.
 
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Ive heard more than one comment at being surprised at the amount of fore and aft movement. Secure well in all directions
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Be sure to check fixed bridge clearances along your proposed or possible routes before going ahead. Some bridges have 10 feet or less of clearance.
10 feet or less! That is a low bridge. Where are there bridges on managed waterways that low?

It would make sense to make them height adjustable.

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Make it high enough to just clear your dodger. You'll get lots of rainy days and having the dodger up sure helps.
Absolutely try and keep your dodger. Many boats head through the ft and ny camels from lake Champlain to NYC every year. Motoring in the rain sucks.

Usually, information about minimum clearance is easy to find.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all this help. I will keep dodger height. It looks like 15' would be a good "normal" minimum. Making things adjustable makes sense, too.

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10 feet or less! That is a low bridge. Where are there bridges on managed waterways that low?

It would make sense to make them height adjustable.

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I wish I could help with that but cannot. The number was mentioned by a friend of ours several years ago who has since passed away. I just recall that he mentioned that some of their travels were thwarted by '...10 foot bridges...' they couldn't get under. His widow lives out on Ana Maria Island and I shall call her later today to see if she might recall and, if so, I'll follow up. According to Vasco's information however (above), the where may not matter to you eh?

FWIW...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Down--

I wish I could help with that but cannot. The number was mentioned by a friend of ours several years ago who has since passed away. I just recall that he mentioned that some of their travels were thwarted by '...10 foot bridges...' they couldn't get under. His widow lives out on Ana Maria Island and I shall call her later today to see if she might recall and, if so, I'll follow up. According to Vasco's information however (above), the where may not matter to you eh?

FWIW...
Thanks for your concern. I am not sure the boat with nothing on deck would clear a 10' bridge. It would be tight. The radar mast would certainly need to come down. (It can, Ha!) It does look like a 15' expectation will serve us.

Now for the fun of building a couple of adjustable aluminum crutches that can be solidly secured and conveniently be stowed. A winter project.

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Ive heard more than one comment at being surprised at the amount of fore and aft movement. Secure well in all directions
This is absolutely critical, specially if you plan to cross some lakes with power boaters....
Use the chainplates or toerail as attachments and get those ratchet straps that truckers use to ensure the rig stay put no matter what.
Another hint is to remove whatever is on the mast head, so you'll need to be creative on how to do that if you are unstepping yourself and the mast is hanging 6 feet over the bow.
 

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I've seen 2x4s bolted in an x pattern, with a smaller V at the top than the bottom. A cross piece is also bolted. Easy to assemble and disassemble. Also easy to dispose of the wood, when you're done. The big downside is the weight.

Personally, I had my mast shipped to the other end of the canal. Totally worth it.
 
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Down--

I wish I could help with that but cannot. The number was mentioned by a friend of ours several years ago who has since passed away. I just recall that he mentioned that some of their travels were thwarted by '...10 foot bridges...' they couldn't get under. His widow lives out on Ana Maria Island and I shall call her later today to see if she might recall and, if so, I'll follow up. According to Vasco's information however (above), the where may not matter to you eh?

FWIW...
As a follow up on the foregoing, I did finally speak with our friend yesterday evening and she indicated she couldn't recall where they were, '...New York or Ohio...' but that they got to a bridge '...somewhere or other...' while they were '...doing an exploration...' where they had to back up and turn the boat around because the bridge was too low for the boat. I'm sorry this doesn't add anything to your knowledge base other than, perhaps, be mindful of "side trips".

FWIW...
 
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Minnewaska,

If you don't mind sharing...who did you use to ship your mast and what was the cost?

I will be making the trip south in August for the first time.

Thanks,

Bill
 

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I can't recall the carriers name, it was a referral from the seller's broker in Michigan. I don't think transporting the mast is as complicated as the entire boat, so I wouldn't be as worried about the vendor. Although, I would want good references. I recall the guy I used was a real character, in a good way. Very concerned that he got it right and would talk your head off on the phone. Lonely on the road, I suppose.

The $1,700 tab is clear in my memory, however. That included loading at Buffalo and unloading in Albany. With my mast being 70+ ft, there were over $300 in special permits and tolls included in that price that may not apply to all.

It may seem like a lot, but absolutely worth it in my opinion. First, you would spend hundreds in supplies and labor, just to build the deck support and get a crane operator to help you lay her down and pick her back off again at each end. Then, maneuvering the locks, with the mast on deck (hanging off each end of the boat) for two weeks, would have been a nightmare.
 
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