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Discussion Starter #1
Okay so this is a little different application from the norm and its MO is as well. I've taken a spare 34ft mast from a star boat and put it on my tiki bar themed pontoon boat to act as a flag pole, because America. As I am sure many of you know, old masts make awesome flag poles!

I'm hoping to see if any of you could give some tips or tricks on how to rig this better. There are special requirements in this application. The cables cannot extend within ten feet of the top of the mast (otherwise they tangle the flag). The boat gets trailered from time to time so it needs to be relatively quick and simple to raise and lower it. The biggest one is that this is a mobile deck not a sail boat and I don't want cables taking up all kinds of space as it defeats the purpose. People that are on it aren't sailors so they won't keep an eye out for them anyways.

There was a fore stay and pair of shrouds (with spreaders 12ft up from the base) that were about 10 ft from the top so I used those and added a spreader for the fore stay. This holds it in place good and keeps everything out of the way. The obvious problem is that the lack of a lower shroud at the spreaders means that when the boat rocks the only thing keeping the mast from bending at the spreaders is the tension of the cables as the spreader pushes it out. When the boat rocks the mast bows back and forth a lot. The easy solution is to add some lower shrouds at the spreaders but they will get in the way. I could make them removable so they are only on when underway but it would be nice if there was was a better solution. Any ideas here?

 

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Discussion Starter #2
. . .I kind of think I'm trying to defy physics here with trying to avoid a lower shroud taking up space but I figure its worth a try.
 

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I think you will be fine as long as you have fore/aft/side stays. The rigging on a sailboat is designed to take tremendous loads from the sails and need to transmit that load to the boat. With your setup flying a flag is not going to cause much of a load or stress on the rigging. All you need to do is ensure that it isn't going to tip over and you are fine.
 

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^ That was what I thought but when the boat starts rocking the mast just bows a lot I don't think its going to break but I am concerned that the bending will fatigue the brackets for the spreaders which could be bad. Plus it is unnerving for passengers.

I think I may have found a solution now actually. I basically have a triangle sitting on a rectangle that is tempted to become a parallelogram. On masts, when there is a spreader there's always a shroud at the spreader that makes it stacked triangles. I can do the opposite here if I add a cable coming down from the end of the spreader where the existing shroud attaches and then attach it 6 ft up on the mast it will be out of the way and will add the rigidity I need. It won't be as secure as if it came all the way down but I think it will be as strong as I need.

It is nice when my engineer brain does its job.
 
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