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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I have been an avid reader of the forum, but this is my first post, so forgive me if I botched this thread!

So I purchased a 1978 Laguna Windrose 22' sailboat about a year ago, and it has been kept in a slip on KY Lake. During my last sail, I noticed that the white light on the front of the mast (running light) was out, and I suspect that the bulb burned out based on the fact that the light on the top of the mast (anchor light) is working fine and it appears that they share the same wiring at the mast step. What I am trying to figure out is if it is safe to go up the mast in a bosun's chair on a mast that is bolted on at the deck to check/fix/replace the bulb and/or fixture or if I should just take down the mast and do it that way.

My concern is that when you take down the mast, you have to unhook the wiring and I might not be able to test it until I put the mast back up (so if my fix doesn't work, I will have to do it all over again).

Of note, I am in good shape (mid 30's) and or slip is pretty calm and protected but it would be my first time going up a mast.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!


Thanks,

Lee
 

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Lee-
You can take down the mast, and slide it back far enough to test electrical stuff before you raise it again. Just support it with a temporary crutch, and make sure it doesn't see-saw.

My wife as been up the mast of our Tanzer 22 in a bosuns chair. Looking at the forces generated in sailing compared to body weight, we thought it to be reasonably safe, and used the main halyard. Might have employed a backup, but I can't remember.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
meboater,

Thanks for the quick and thoughtful response! I had a feeling that it would support my weight (I only weigh about 165 lbs) but I guess I am just trying to figure out the safest and smartest way to go about doing the repair.

I kind of wanted to try going up at least once if for nothing else than the experience, but it may require a few trips based on first figuring out the problem and also to replace the broken wind vane which is a separate and less pressing issue (but another thing on my to-do list). Knowing that, maybe I will go up once to take a look and then lay down the mast as you have suggested to comoplete the job(s).

It is good to know that it is possible though and I always like to have options...


Lee
 

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One of None
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22 ft boat it's a no brainier, drop the mast! No reason at all to climb it and test the tip factor!
 

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In addition to the increased safety factor, dropping the mast is likely the better option because you can take your time evaluating the fault and look at it from all kinds of angles. You're also going to improve your odds of not having left the one tool you really, really need back on deck and out of reach (not that that's ever happened to me, of course ;))
 

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You're also going to improve your odds of not having left the one tool you really, really need back on deck and out of reach (not that that's ever happened to me, of course ;))
Across the fairway from us is a Corbin 39- beautiful boat, great owners, has a circumnavigation under her keel. A serious crusing boat, with folding mast steps all the way to the mast head.
Monday morning, I watch the skipper step, unfold, climb, step, unfold, climb to the masthead, tool bag hanging from his safety harness. He was out of earshot, but i didn't need to hear anything to understand the one-handed tool bag search and the slumping shoulders, and could imagine the resigned sigh as he climbed back down the mast.
 

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Better to drop the mast in your case. But never go up any mast on a single line without a second line for backup. That is just asking for serious injury.
 

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Do it the easy way-- drop the mast, make up a 25' long test lead out lamp cord, put alligator clips on the wire ends, and use your muti meter to find the problem.
 

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yep, drop the mast. 165 lbs at the top of slender mast on a fractional rig, with only 900 lbs of ballast is a bad idea.
Right, I've never seen anyone spell out a limit but there is a limit to the stability as the boat gets smaller and at some point a boat can't support 165lbs at the tip top of it's mast without tipping.

The forces don't worry me, because as others have said, the forces on a mast under sail are tremendous, but stability is a concern on smaller boats. And it might seem stable until a wave comes and knocks the boat just off center.

If you consider it a seasaw with 900lbs 3 ft from the hinge on one side and 165lbs 25'(?) on the other it's easy to see that the 900lbs is going to lose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everyone for all of the comments! The more I considered it, I wonder if anyone has seen/heard of someone going up the mast and causing the whole boat to roll over to one side or the other. What is the math problem to figure out how much weight it would take to do that? My swing keel counterbalances some pretty serious pressure on the sails so I can't imagine that my 165 lbs. of "steel" would make a difference and cause that to happen in the slip.

I know that there are times that we may roll a boat over deliberately to get off of a shoal or to clean/check the bottom so I suppose that it could be done accidentally as well but it seems like the forces would have to be way out abeam, and as long as the boat is tied up, I shouldn't have to worry too much.

On a related matter though, as long as I have my Gerber multitool and a roll of duct tape, I think I would try to improvise rather than accepting the climb of shame for forgetting something!
 

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What if you forget your duct tape? ;)
The physics is actually pretty simple:
It doesn't work.
Even if you decide to ignore the whole pendulum effect of 165 lbs 25 feet away from 900 lbs of ballast, consider the forces at play:
Yes, your masts resists some pretty serious inputs while sailing.
BUT, those inputs are not concentrated at the top 25% of the mast. in fact, just the opposite, the max input is to the lower 50%.
Below the shrouds.
Below the forestay.

Further, have you calculated how long it will take you to be winched up the mast, then down the mast, compared to gin-poling the mast and restepping?
Oh yeah,and once you are at the top, what if it ISN'T a bulb, but a bad wire?

It is a whole ton easier, faster, safer and more effective to drop the mast.
 

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Here is basically your calculation and reason why you should likely drop the mast as opposed to going aloft. They are based on previous statements by others.

Basically calculate the weight times the distance it is from the fulcrum. In this case 900lbs X's 3 feet which equals 2700 foot pounds. Now multiply your weight of 165 X's the height of the mast which was stated to be 22' and you get 3630 foot pounds. As you see, the moment above the water line is greater than the moment below the water line. Gravity dictates that the two will, for lack of better words try to change places. I hope this is helpful.

900(3)>165(22)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
All great points; again, thanks for the detailed input; although it sounds pretty innocuous the way you put it Dubbinchris, if the two weights were to "change places," would be a pretty major disaster for me. I think I am convinced. Seeing that it is a trailerable boat, I suppose that the experience of taking down the mast is probably just as (if not more) important than the experience of going up it in this case.
 

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SunnyD, I'm guessing you don't know how to drop and raise the mast. It's really not difficult but as in most things it is all about preparation.
You may want to join the trailer sailor's forums also. In this video notice that the stays on each side are in place? the keep the whole works from swinging out of control as the mast is raised.
 

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You don't need to go to the masthead to work on the steaming light. If it's only 10 or 12 feet above the deck you probably climb or shinny up ( e.g., gooseneck, spinnaker pole bale, etc) Unless you can identify the light model you'll probably need to make at least two trips. One to remove the bulb and a second to replace it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Denise, I appreciate your comments and the link. I do know how to drop the mast (at least I know how it is described in the manual), but I was just seeing what my options were and taking into consideration the safety concerns and the logistics/time involved with dropping the mast vs. going up it, I think that I have a good plan. I am a fairly novice sailor and I like the idea of gaining the experience of going up but I don't want to do it at risk of injury or equipment damages for something that is certainly not an emergency. Cheers,

Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hudsonian, so true; I should have thought of that earlier; I am sure that there is a common bulb in all of the fixtures, but it is definitely something that I need to check into further.. Regardless,I am not sure that the other folks on my dock would be happy about me leaving my mast laying across the pier while I run to the hardware store for a bulb so a quick trip up before doing the full replacement might be just the thing lest I have to take it down and put it back up twice which is probably not completely necessary.
 

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Hello all, I have been an avid reader of the forum, but this is my first post, so forgive me if I botched this thread!

So I purchased a 1978 Laguna Windrose 22' sailboat about a year ago, and it has been kept in a slip on KY Lake. During my last sail, I noticed that the white light on the front of the mast (running light) was out, and I suspect that the bulb burned out based on the fact that the light on the top of the mast (anchor light) is working fine and it appears that they share the same wiring at the mast step. What I am trying to figure out is if it is safe to go up the mast in a bosun's chair on a mast that is bolted on at the deck to check/fix/replace the bulb and/or fixture or if I should just take down the mast and do it that way.

My concern is that when you take down the mast, you have to unhook the wiring and I might not be able to test it until I put the mast back up (so if my fix doesn't work, I will have to do it all over again).

Of note, I am in good shape (mid 30's) and or slip is pretty calm and protected but it would be my first time going up a mast.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!


Thanks,

Lee
Why not just use a ladder? Your mast is 25' tall. The steaming light should be located 1/2 way up...12-13' off the deck. Get an extension ladder and get r dun! I replace my steaming light this way. Lash the top of the ladder to the mast for stability.
 
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