SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been talking with a local machinist about putting together a solo stepping system.

I'm doing a full refit on my small boat, and still assembling the project list, prices, timing, etc; which is why I'm asking for input now.

Here's a link to a video of someone that has what appears to be a very slick self contained setup for the raising assembly, both on and off the water:


The big difference between my boat and hers, is that mine is more heavily rigged: 28' LOA, a 33' ~140 lb mast, 5/16" standing rigging.

I've a cache of bookmarks on various systems and setups I've found, but would like to get your thoughts.

Note:
I do try and search for previous threads on the subjects I post, but the advanced search function on Sailnet tends to give me non-relevant returns. So apologies if this subject was approached - just post a link to the other threads.

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
The system shown only addresses the most simple of the issues and should not be used in any sort of wind or with a larger mast. It looks fine, but might be a lot of gizmo for the problem. I used nothing more than a gin pole and a block that took a line back to the cockpit winch for that part. Avoids the need for a winch on the gin pole. Let's call this problem #1.

Problem #2 is that the mast has no lateral stability once it starts to come down. On a large mast the hinge at the base of the mast cannot possibly hold it against the forces of the wind or, worse yet, rolling of the boat if done while floating. The standard solution for #2 is to create a hinge point for side stays that is at the same altitude as the mast hinge point. That keeps tension on the side stays while the mast is being lowered. There are two common ways to do that. One is to cut the side stay and add a ring or other junction at the hinge point. Another is to create a turning block with a large radius, so the side stay can wrap around the turning block without kinking the stainless wire. In either case, the turning point needs to be tensioned forward as the mast tips back.

Problem #3 is where the mast ends up after it's down. Unless you have a really stubby mast or a catboat rig, the mast will normally end up resting on the back rail at a point forward of the center of gravity. That means that when the hinge at the base of the mast is disconnected, the step of the mast will want to go up, with the tip of the mast going down to the water or the pavement. The solution to this is to build a rest point further astern than the end of the boat. The mast will come down on that, resting at a point that is behind the center of gravity. On my mast support I put a rubber roller, like those used on boat trailers, on the frame at the point where the mast would come down on it. Once the mast was on it, I would disconnect the hinge at the base of the mast and walk it forward. The top part (now astern) was sitting on that rubber roller and made it easy to walk the mast forward to it's winter resting cradle rigged on the bow.

It took me a weekend to fabricate my single handed raise/lower system and few sessions to perfect it, but it really helped. I could to the complete job in less than a couple hours totally single handed and worked irrespective of whether it was windy or the boat was floating in a chop. Going up and going down was all totally controlled.

Before I built that system I followed the standard procedure of calling a few guys over to the marina and having several people who didn't really understand the dynamics pulling on lines and pulling off wires. They all had other things to do on the weekend and were in a hurry. I created my system after having a few near incidents, and watching others at the marina drop their masts on the pavement due to confusion and missed communications.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
I would like to hear some good solutions as well. Currently using our spinnaker pole and mainsheet block and tackle to raise and lower our mast (as illustrated here: Mast Raising), but the set up is a pain and it is still a bit scary and can have problems. Going to be lowering the mast for the winter using this set up and two other people, which shouldn't be too bad, but I would like to get to the point where I can do it by myself easily. Looking forward to replies!

Edited to add: At the very least I intend to fabricate a better ginpole and retire the bracket and spinnaker pole part of the procedure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,304 Posts
I can step a J24 mast keel stepped (70 pounds) with simple stuff and one hand tired behind my back

The Cal 29 mast is about the same length and it is deck stepped BUT it is so freaking heavy and so much in the way for winter repairs I have the boat yard do it and store the mast there and take the boat home

It is just the simplest way me to handle that boat
 

·
Quirky
Joined
·
598 Posts
My hunter 260 has a 35' mast that I can raise and lower myself.

The mast has struts on either side which run to the deck to keep it from twisting or swinging.
It uses a gin pole which attaches into a hole on the mast. The jib halyard attaches to one side, the mainsheet attaches to the other and is run down to an attachment point in the anchor locker. You use the mainsheet to raise or lower the mast. Some people have modified things to use an electric winch.

Some diagrams:

The mast struts
descrip_47d.jpg

The system with gin pole
general_17c.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kielanders

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
My hunter 260 has a 35' mast that I can raise and lower myself.

The mast has struts on either side which run to the deck to keep it from twisting or swinging.
It uses a gin pole which attaches into a hole on the mast. The jib halyard attaches to one side, the mainsheet attaches to the other and is run down to an attachment point in the anchor locker. You use the mainsheet to raise or lower the mast. Some people have modified things to use an electric winch.

Some diagrams:

The mast struts
descrip_47d.jpg

The system with gin pole
general_17c.jpg

Looking at your engineering drawings; this is a Hunter designed system? Was the entire system sold by Hunter? Do the struts need to dynamically lengthen as they travel the raising arc? How heavy is your mast? Perhaps my 140 lbs isn't heavy for a 33' mast, but it was beefier than I expected when first lifting. Do you have any photos available of your install?

Thanks.
 

·
Asleep at the wheel
Joined
·
3,017 Posts
You'll be amazed the first time you do it. According to a quick search, the tall rig mast on a Catalina 25 is 150 lbs. I didn't have the tall rig, so maybe lop off 15-20 lbs. When I used the A-frame, I had 3 wraps around the winch, and even when the mast was most of the way down (i.e., when I should have had most of the weight on the line) I had total control over it.

A few threads:
Association Forum - lowering the mast

http://www.catalina-capri-25s.org/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=24207&SearchTerms=a,frame









In hindsight, I probably could have use dyneema to attach the a frame to the chainplate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,264 Posts
The Corsair 750 has the easiest rig stepping system I have used. Basically it is a hinge that slides into place that the mast is pinned into. Then you attach a gin pole to the mast, and crank the whole mess up with the trailer winch. It also uses two side stays to hold the mast center lined as it goes up.

All in all it takes about 20 minutes up or down.

Similar to http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eqsbJn475_g&desktop_uri=/watch?v=eqsbJn475_g but somewhat refined.
 

·
Tundra Down
Joined
·
1,290 Posts
I wish I could find the owner's manual that came with my Rhodes 22. It says, "After attaching the lowers and the back stay, using both hands heave the mast up with all your force." I did it successfully when I was in my late 20's. I used a high pully hanging from a tree branch as time went on. Ha!

Down
 

·
Quirky
Joined
·
598 Posts
Looking at your engineering drawings; this is a Hunter designed system? Was the entire system sold by Hunter? Do the struts need to dynamically lengthen as they travel the raising arc? How heavy is your mast? Perhaps my 140 lbs isn't heavy for a 33' mast, but it was beefier than I expected when first lifting. Do you have any photos available of your install?

Thanks.
First, I should make a correction. The mast is about 30 feet and some change per the manuals. I always remember the mast height from the water is 40' and figure the boat from waterline to deck is 5' but I'm wrong. I've looked to find the weight of the mast without luck. It's a B&R rig which generally uses a lighter mast than what is conventional. I'm not sure by how much though.

Anyway, it's a good system and you could use a beefier gin pole or reinforce the one used on the 260. The gin pole only bears the load of holding the lines out far enough that you get leverage. Even the one made for the 260 will collapse if you balance the loads incorrectly, but it's easy to tell if you are.

The jib halyard and the mainsheet are what take the weight of hoisting. If they are not balanced correctly, the gin pole will bend. You just watch it as the lines start to take on the weight of the mast. If the pole is at 90 degrees from the mast when the mast starts to raise, you're good. I start mine with the gin pole leaning aft a bit to account for the stretch of the jib halyard. If you've got the jib halyard tension wrong, it's easy to adjust.

The system is what Hunter designed. The drawings I posted are from the manual. Those struts are permanently mounted but I'm sure you could make something you could take off when not in use. Honestly they don't get in the way. It's just two more pieces of deck hardware to scrub around.

More about the struts-
The struts do not lengthen. They are able to pivot. They're a big help since they act like another person holding the mast. They pivot forward (lifting the mast as they do) and allow the foot of the mast to go forward to the bow for mast storage. They pivot backwards for stepping the mast and hold it midline so one person can pin the mast. They have nothing to do with holding the mast when the mast is up. I have read an account of having a forestay failure and those struts held the mast to the middle of the boat as it came down. The owner said it helped to prevent injuries.

You can see how they mount to the deck here by those two upside down V-shaped brackets.


Here you can see how they are forward for mast storage.


This is the labeled drawing of the struts and hardware
descrip_47d.jpg

You can buy the whole system in pieces here:
260 Hunter 260 Rigging & Spars, Parts and Accessories

I would talk to one of the guys there who can help you identify all of the parts. I would but I'm afraid I'd forget something. :laugher

The mast foot pins with just a pin and uses that to pivot as the mast goes up. There's a picture of the mast foot and mast pin on the site for parts.

Also, a mast crutch (which is removable) at the stern holds the mast off the deck a ways at about the height of where a bimini would be as the mast crosses the stern rails. I'm not sure you'd get enough leverage without that bit of height but you might. It's grunt work, but tolerable, to get it a few feet off that mast crutch. I use a winch.

One of the things I really like about the system is I can stop at any point while raising the mast, tie off to a cleat, and check to make sure nothing is kinked since it holds the mast steady.

Here's a link to a post where someone uses an electric winch for the system
http://forums.hunter.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?p=812934
Hope this helps.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kielanders

·
Registered
Joined
·
557 Posts
Ed and Ellen Zacko have the answer. I purchased their DVD, "Raise Your Mast ...Yourself" and am in the process of adapting it to our Islander 28.


An informative DVD about how to raise a deck stepped tabernacle mast

Down
We also have a Nor'Sea 27 and use the boom to raise & lower our mast. We towed it back to Az. in the US from Guaymas, Mexico and Ed & Ellen helped us. There DVD is a GREAT place to start. You don't need all kinds of extra stuff to do it! Nor'Sea owners have been doing this for quite some time.

You can see us lower our mast in Mexico in our Youtube video at;

at about 3 min 40 seconds into the video. NOTE, the video is in 3D, but you can just turn that off using the settings.

You can see raising a mast on another Nor'Sea 27 on our Youtube at;
At the Havasu Pocket Cruisers Convention on Lake Havasu. Raising starts about 7 min in. This video is NOT 3D

Greg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Thanks for all the great info! We are planning on cruising a portion of the Rideau Canal and lake system in Ontario next summer on my Starwind 22, which currently uses the boom as a gin pole to raise and lower the mast. I'm really interested in a stable system that could be used on the water, because we would like to go thru a couple locks just for the experience of it with the kids. I like the idea of keeping the shrouds tensioned to keep the mast stable, and I'm definitely not concerned with modifying/adding hardware to this boat.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kielanders

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,033 Posts
F.Y.I.
To search sailnet forums for a specific phrase, google it like this:

"mast stepping" /site:http://www.sailnet.com/forums/

Without the double-quotes, the search finds *any* of the words (even parts of words, e.g. 'step' from 'stepping') in your phrase; with them, the search looks for the *exact phrase*. You can fine tune the results once you see how broad-meshed your original phrase is. Basically, the more words in your search-phrase, the fewer results you get.

I've always admired the old Norfolk Wherry* mast rig. Counterweight at base of mast, beefy tabernacle setup, one man on a manual winch. They aim at the channel under the bridge, drop the mast as they get to the bridge, raise the mast as soon as they clear it, all without losing any time or tide, or inconveniencing vehicular traffic, or paying bridge tolls. Clever folk, those English.

*See this thread, good discussion of mast stepping,post #17 for the wherry.
 

·
Freedom isn't free
Joined
·
2,973 Posts







A frame stays put, mainsheet tackle to raise the mast... it's so easy, that you stand, by the mast, pull with 1 hand, and steer with the other..... by the way works better if you put the mainsheet side AT the mast. Stupid simple, and fast. 4:1 works fine for my 31ft mast that weighs in a 70lbs.
 

·
Solina 27
Joined
·
59 Posts
I am 100% with those who prefer an A-frame system. Look at two videos below for ideas...the devil is always in the details - ideally you want your baby stays in the centre of rotation of the mast base. This way, the spar will always have lateral support. I have similar system on my boat and I love it.

TES 28 Magnam

Bingo 930
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
A frame stays put, mainsheet tackle to raise the mast... it's so easy, that you stand, by the mast, pull with 1 hand, and steer with the other..... by the way works better if you put the mainsheet side AT the mast. Stupid simple, and fast. 4:1 works fine for my 31ft mast that weighs in a 70lbs.
SHNOOL:

I like this system, especially since your boat and mine are nearly the same size, with my mast maybe a bit heavier. A couple questions: Do you have the bottom of the A-frame secured to the boat? I'd be concerned with it slipping out under load, but perhaps the cross member just pushes up against the cabin? Are you just attaching the tackle to the spinnaker bracket on the mast? Do you have any lateral support for the mast, or are you just relying on the fact that the A-frame won't swing side to side to keep the mast centered as it goes up/down?

Thanks!

Brandon
 

·
Tundra Down
Joined
·
1,290 Posts
We also have a Nor'Sea 27 and use the boom to raise & lower our mast. We towed it back to Az. in the US from Guaymas, Mexico and Ed & Ellen helped us. There DVD is a GREAT place to start. You don't need all kinds of extra stuff to do it! Nor'Sea owners have been doing this for quite some time.

You can see us lower our mast in Mexico in our Youtube video at;
Towing Guenevere, our Nor'Sea 27, Guaymas Mexico to Az. USA - YouTube

at about 3 min 40 seconds into the video. NOTE, the video is in 3D, but you can just turn that off using the settings.

You can see raising a mast on another Nor'Sea 27 on our Youtube at;
HPCC & Nor'Sea ramp launch - YouTube At the Havasu Pocket Cruisers Convention on Lake Havasu. Raising starts about 7 min in. This video is NOT 3D

Greg
Greg,

Yup! That is what I am up to for my I-28. It looks simple enough. I have the tabernacle scale mockup ready to take to the fabricator. The boat is stored adjacent to the fabricator's and they think it a great idea! Ha! They have offered to hand carry the mast across the lot and weld on the cheek plates on for me. They want to see it work. Me too! I am a little anxious about doing it the first time but what can go wrong if I measure everything correctly and follow Ed's instructions. If things go as planned the "first time" will be a stepping. We will lift the mast onto the boat and start with it down. I am designing a crutch to support the bow rail and the mast when it gets lowered (and raised). I don't have the bow pulpit "extension the Nor'd Sea 27 does so the weight distribution I need to plan for is a concern. I am working on a roller that will make bringing the mast aft easier. Perhaps a roller that captures the base, too. When you remove the pin at the tabernacle, what kind of upward force do you experience at the base of your mast while it is sitting on the bow rail? I am expecting to have to "capture" the base of mine. Calculations next. I should be able to build a simple aluminum crutch with a couple of struts intersecting the bow rail and extending a couple of feet forward and a little higher. I like the idea of carrying it a bit higher than you do.

Thanks for the videos. How did you get the boat back on the trailer?

Down
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top