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Hi,

I am trying to remove the mast from my Rhodes 19. I've unable to find out the weight, but it's aluminum and 28' tall. Does anyone know how to build a tabernacle or other wooden device to help with the process? The boat is in the water now, and I bought an older trailer to try and float it onto. Thanks so much for your help.
 

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I step and unstep a similar mast on my 20 foot Mirage. I unhook the forestay, hold it tout, walk back to the mast, lift it out of the step and slowly lay it down. I'm not a big guy (5'9") and it takes a bit of care. I do it with the boat on a trailer for stability.
 

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Its not so much the weight (which isn't that much) but maintaining control as you lower it and loose leverage as it approaches horizontal. Two guys can do it easily. I once had an Oday 22 and would lower the mast each fall for trailer storage with the help of my wife.
 

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You say the mast is 28' long.
The specs for your boat show the "P" dimension = 24'
RHODES 19 FK sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

Makes me think that your mast is keel stepped. If so then you should be able to disconnect all the rigging and it should still stand up, if a bit wobbly. Then it has to be lifted up out of the boat which is when all the fun really starts. You will at least want some sacrificial piece of plywood to put the mast down on as you tilt it horizontal. A tabernacle would be great but it would have to be easy to use as that mast will want to get horizontal without your help.
What I have done is simply tie lines onto the fore stay and one for each side shroud (safest) to extend them and have helpers "walk" the mast down.
You will figure it out. Your mast can't be that heavy.
Good luck.
 

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Caleb has the right idea. Lowering the mast needs to be done with the boat well stabilized in a cradle, trailer, or on poppets, so it doesn't move under you. Putting a sacrificial board down on the deck is smart planning. Make sure EVERYTHING that might interfere with the mast moving is detached. Slip the stays and shrouds through the spinnaker pole mast fitting, or tie them off to the mast. I would do the operation with perhaps two friends to help, at least the first time. I would also suggest attaching the jib halyard to a line run through a bow fitting, then aft to a winch or other snubbing point. One person should be in charge of that, paying out line, but making sure the mast doesn't drop too quickly when the time comes. The second person needs to stand in the cockpit and wrap his hands around the butt of the mast to hold it as firmly as he can on the board as you, (the third person) who is holding the mast, lowers it gently down. Person #2 needs to make sure he doesn't stand in line with the mast - if the butt slips, he would get whacked. Once you've done it, you may determine that the mast is light enough to handle with just two people, or even just one. Better that all three of you find out the first time, then you can all share a beer together.
 

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Until recently I owned a Rhodes 19 and the steps posted above should work well. I could easily carry the mast around, so it is not very heavy, but quite cumbersome. It is keel stepped so up have to lift it up 2 1/2 feet first, where it becomes harder to control. Make sure your lower sheave box is flush with the mast. Mine stuck out a little and was very difficult to get thru the deck opening. I actually had to remove it to get it stepped and to unstep it. I always had three people to do it, I cannot imagine with less, and even that was nerve wracking.
 

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Another crazy thing I did with my Lightning 19's mast (also keel stepped):
I found a sturdy tree limb that was only about 4' higher than the spreaders, passed a line over the limb, attach a block at end and run another line through the block. Now raise the 1st line so the block is up by the tree limb and viola: poor mans crane.

Use 2nd line to tie a loop (bowline) around mast near deck and raise the loop up to the spreaders. Keep raising 2nd line as person on deck lifts mast out of boat. This way the mast will want to go horizontal while supported in midair.
 

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Another crazy thing I did with my Lightning 19's mast (also keel stepped):
I found a sturdy tree limb that was only about 4' higher than the spreaders, passed a line over the limb, attach a block at end and run another line through the block. Now raise the 1st line so the block is up by the tree limb and viola: poor mans crane.

Use 2nd line to tie a loop (bowline) around mast near deck and raise the loop up to the spreaders. Keep raising 2nd line as person on deck lifts mast out of boat. This way the mast will want to go horizontal while supported in midair.
That is indeed a clever way to do it! Mine was always around a lot of nice boats I did not want to destroy. I was able to store her on the trailer mast up and wound up paying $50 to unstep with the travel lift when I sold her, it was well worth it (to me)!
 

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I step the mast on my O'Day 19 with two people. However mine is not keel stepped. goes to a tabernacle on top of the cabin. I would put it on the trailer first then try to lower the mast. even on the trailer it is a bit of a chore to do. as said above not heavy just clumsy.

you could go to oday owners . com they probably have lots of advice there.
 

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I also have a Rhodes 19 with a keel stepped mast. While the other posters are correct that it is possible to step and unstep this mast with 2 people (I have done with wife or with teenage child) there is always a moment of limited control as the mast goes horizontal, or when balancing the mast upright to get it to drop through the hole in the deck. Why deal with this annoyance and danger!

I have modified the system show in the following slide show, which demonstrates the process on an Ensign.
Because I am a newbie it won't let me imbed a link - but search for "Ensign Stepped, Saratoga" and it should be your first hit.

I originally used a 16ft 2x4 as my gin pole but have upgraded to an old junk 16ft mast that was kicking around the boatyard. With this system the process takes about 30 min start to finish and is a very controlled process for 2 people. Try it! Their system uses a 2:1 arrangement on the lifting bridle, but with the Rhodes mast I simply use a direct lifting line. Be sure to use low stretch lines (or wire) for the stays on the gin pole. Pay very close attention to all of the halyards and stays. As they say in the slides deck, have your helper try to keep the lifting point as vertical as possible to avoid undue strain on the gin pole or unstable forces at its base (I used to tie the base block in place but now usually skip this) . I often get stares as I start to set this up, but then lots of interested questions when people see how easily we did it.

Try it!
 

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We had an old Mariner 19 which is the Rhodes hull with a dog house. You have to get the mast vertical on that boat and drop it down about 4 ft. to the keel. My wife and I did it with her pulling on the forestay and me walking the mast vertical. You kind of hook the mast into the step hole to raise it. We had a boom crutch to hold the mast horizontal on the boat and we were young. I have seen people doing this with a gin pole attached to the mast and using the trailer winch to raise it up. You might be able to get parts for the tabernacle at the Rhodes manufacturer in Maine on the web. Good luck.
 
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