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Sailor of Small Waters
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Discussion Starter #1
I've just started sailing and I bought small boat, and '81 Vagabond 14 fiberglass sailing dingy. It will spend a lot of time on the trailer going to and from the water since I live almost an hour from my preferred lake and three hours from the coast. So far I've trailered the boat with the 20' mast strapped to the boat and sticking WAY off the back dangling a red flag. I'm not real happy with this because people are idiots and someone could easily hit the mast - and that would drive it right through the back window of my SUV and into the occupants. I'm deciding what type of mast crutches to design and mount to the trailer.

Most designs I've seen put the mast high up on the tongue end of the trailer so it extends above the tow vehicle. Since I have an SUV with a cargo rack on the roof (that I use), I don't think that will work. By the time I get the mast high enough to clear everything it will be tall enough that some of the bridges on the local backroads could be an issue. That means I will have to low mount the mast at the front of the boat and raise the overhanging rear to clear most vehicular traffic, which I think is do-able.

Most of the DIY aft mast crutch designs I've seen simply hang off the gudgeons. Since my boat is small and fiberglass and the rear will carry a fair amount of the mast weight, I have real concerns about mounting it that way.

What do you guys think about the gudgeon mount in this case? Seen any designs that would work but mount differently?

Any good pictures of aft crutches you can share?

I did some searching on the site but didn't find anything that directly addressed this issue.

Here's the rig in question:
 

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Nice Vanguard, looks like she'll be a lot of fun !

I have seen crutches going either way, up from the bow or up from the stern. Going up from the bow over the tow vehicle the mast only needs to clear by a foot or so. Should keep the mast below 14 feet for most bridges.

The crutch on my 22 uses a gudgeon and the stern rail for support. ( I'll attach pictures ) Might help with ideas.

I saw a coronado recently that had one made out of plywood and hung over the transom. Sorry, no pics.
 

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Sailor of Small Waters
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112 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the pics. I think I can work something similar - something that rests on the transom but uses the gudgeon as a locator. Do you rely on the mast weight to keep the crutch in place, or is it strapped or bolted down in some way?
 

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Barquito
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My trailer sailer has a mast crutch that is made out of plywood. It just slips between the seats against the inside of the transom. There is a cut out in the middle. I happen to have a big ring on the inside of the transom to attach a hiking strap. I put bungies around the mast down to the ring. That holds the crutch against the transom and the mast down.

 

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I do have a strap that goes over the mast and under the stern rail with just enough tension to keep things in place. The mast is also strapped to the bow pulpit.
 

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Sailor of Small Waters
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Discussion Starter #6
Excellent info guys, thanks. I've drawn up a couple designs that sit on the transom and lock into the gudgeons, but I also drew up one that's much simpler to build that rests on a foot in the bilge and the transom gunwale, then hooks under the gunwale on the outside. I do love a good, complexly engineered soultion as much as the next guy, but I think I'll try the simple one first. I'd like to get it built before I take her out Saturday morning.

I'll post pics when I get it built.
 

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I've just started sailing and I bought small boat, and '81 Vagabond 14 fiberglass sailing dingy. It will spend a lot of time on the trailer going to and from the water since I live almost an hour from my preferred lake and three hours from the coast. So far I've trailered the boat with the 20' mast strapped to the boat and sticking WAY off the back dangling a red flag. I'm not real happy with this because people are idiots and someone could easily hit the mast - and that would drive it right through the back window of my SUV and into the occupants. I'm deciding what type of mast crutches to design and mount to the trailer.

Most designs I've seen put the mast high up on the tongue end of the trailer so it extends above the tow vehicle. Since I have an SUV with a cargo rack on the roof (that I use), I don't think that will work. By the time I get the mast high enough to clear everything it will be tall enough that some of the bridges on the local backroads could be an issue. That means I will have to low mount the mast at the front of the boat and raise the overhanging rear to clear most vehicular traffic, which I think is do-able.

Most of the DIY aft mast crutch designs I've seen simply hang off the gudgeons. Since my boat is small and fiberglass and the rear will carry a fair amount of the mast weight, I have real concerns about mounting it that way.

What do you guys think about the gudgeon mount in this case? Seen any designs that would work but mount differently?

Any good pictures of aft crutches you can share?

I did some searching on the site but didn't find anything that directly addressed this issue.

Here's the rig in question:
you want the mast high on the bow end over your truck. you will not be too high for a bridge with a 20' mast. I tow my prindle 18 (28' foot mast ) behind a motorhome and it is not even close to a bridge or power lines. if the angle is to steep then raise the rear of the mast higher. you can mount it to the trailer tongue or in the mast step on the boat. The gudgeons work fine for the aft end. do not raise the rear and hang it out past the boat. even if it is raised up on that end it still could be hit by someone like a big truck or bus and be driven into your back window. or you will back into something. what ever you do make sure the mast is higher then your back window.
 

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Ideally, your trailer needs to be a bit longer - however, here is what I would do : Leave the mast overhanging at the rear, and well marked with a red flag. Raise the front of the mast on a crutch, so that if you are hit from behind, the mast will be harmlessly pushed over the roof of the tow vehicle.

A 3 or 4 ft overhang at the rear should be OK if the end is well marked.

The crutch on my last tow setup looked like an elongated Y in metal, clamped to the tongue at the base.

Here are a couple of pics :



 

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Sailor of Small Waters
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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah, another 3 feet between the winch jack and the hitch would be ideal, but that's not happening anytime soon. I hear what you're saying about the danger of having the forward point low, even with raising the tail. I think I need to play around with it and see if I can get the height I need on the front without it being too tall. I forgot to mention earlier that I need to be able to open at least the rear glass and preferably the rear hatch on the truck with everything in place. As short as the trailer is, that complicates things.

I guess I need to go fiddle around with it some more...maybe I can work something out. I've got plenty of steel square tube and 2x4s to work with...
 

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Sailor of Small Waters
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112 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Okay, so I got the crutches built and installed. I posted pics in the low budget thread, but I thought I'd post them here too in case someone was following it. After much thought I decided to raise the forward crutch to carry the mast above the truck, high enough to clear any cargo and allow opening of the rear hatch with the mast in place.

The first problem was that if the crutch was high enough to clear, it was too tall to clear the doors on my shop and pull the boat into the back yard where it's stored (no gates in the fence right now.) To solve that I welded in a hinge and used a knob system that allows the top 18" or so to fold down when the mast isn't in place. I fold down the crutch, pull the trailer through the shop, then flip the crutch up and put the mast on. Works great since I store the mast in the shop anyway.

Secondly, because the trailer tongue is so short, the crutch couldn't be a simple straight piece mounted to the winch riser. It had to kick back toward the boat. Since I had 1" x 16ga mild steel square tube laying around the shop, that was my material of choice. To make the kick back angle strong enough I pie-cut the tube and then fully boxed the angle. The whole thing got three coats of zinc-rich 'cold galvanizing' spray paint.

The rear crutch was hacked together out of scrap 2x4s, a couple metal angle brackets and some 3/8" bolts. The brackets and bolts sit in the gudgeons but the cross piece bears the weight on the transom.

I haven't road-tested it yet, but it does great bouncing around the back yard.









 

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How about carrying it on your luggage rack? A couple pieces of foam insulation on the transverse bars and a couple of bungees and you'd eliminate the mast overhanging the stern of the boat.

Have fun with your pretty boat.
 

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Sailor of Small Waters
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Discussion Starter #15
I thought about the roof rack, even to the point of fabbing bolt on side mounts like I use for my bikes. The rack is only 5' front to back, though, leaving over 7' on each end unsupported on the 20' mast. Also, mounting the crap to the trailer means I can tow it with other vehicles and still mount the mast.

Thanks Daydreamer! I think it's gonna be great.
 

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arrgh!
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What if you flip the way you are approaching this...

have your crutches point the mast up to the rear. In most cases if people were to run into you they would be under the mast... and if they did hit the mast, they would push it down towards your bumper



edit: I didn't noticed you already figured out a solution...
 

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Sailor of Small Waters
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Discussion Starter #17
Nice drawing though!
 
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