View Full Version : Hinged Mast Troubles

06-12-2005, 02:16 AM
I have a small sailing dinghy with a hinged mast similar to the strap-hinged system used by the Stevenson's Weekender. My problem is that high winds have literally torn two strap hinges to shreds. I'm in the middle of my third mast rebuild, and would like to know if anyone else has had similar problems with a strap-hinged mast.

For the new mast, I'm looking at using a conventional mast tabernacle instead of the strap-hinge system. I'd like it to be self-supporting, but I may still use the existing running rigging as extra insurance. Any thoughts on this?

Dave R
06-12-2005, 06:42 AM
Buzz, what kind of hinges have you been using? I know of a number of Weekenders that have used gate hinges very successfully. I have a Weekender and used one gate hinge and a stainless thing of my own design that takes a couple of truss head bolts to hold the mast up.

Perhaps you just aren't using the right hinges? I think that the gate hinges I've seen on Weekenders, anyway, would survive more than the rest of the rigging could take.

If you have standing rigging on your boat, there should be little stress on those hinges other than to just keep the mast and stub mast together.

By the way, as a correction, you said you may use your "running rigging" as "insurance." Running rigging is halyards, sheets and the like. You know, the lines that actually move or run through blocks, fairleads, etc.

Standing rigging would be the shrouds and forestay. If the boat was designed with standing rigging, you'd best keep it. Unless you intend to replace the mast with one of larger diamter, you'll likely have other problems than damaged hinges.

Good luck.

06-12-2005, 03:36 PM
You're right, I meant standing rigging. A lesson learned: Don't post messages when you're dead tired!

The dinghy was originally designed with a self-supporting one-piece mast that I had difficulty stepping. Also, since it twisted the heck out of the hull in high winds, I felt much safer with shrouds and a forestay.

That's why I tried the mast hinge. The Weekender mast is larger in diameter than my dinghy mast, so the strap hinge on the Weekender would probably be more robust. Back to the drawing board, I guess!

Dave R
06-12-2005, 08:44 PM
No worries on the rigging thing. ;)

As to the hinge business, if you want, I can try to find some pictures of what I did. It does provide mast support a little way above the hinge point. Might work in your case, too.

Paul Scheuer
06-12-2005, 09:30 PM
If twist is the issue maybe you need to allow the bottom section to rotate, and let the hinge go along for the ride.