View Full Version : How to step my mast single-handed?
I have a 26' wood mast for my 18'Rhodes daysailor. It steps through the foredeck to a socket in the keelson. I've been wondering about having short extensions on my shrouds so that I could get it up on my foredeck without it being able to fall anywhich way, but is that madness? What is the right and proper thing to do?
05-03-2005, 08:40 AM
dang da dang da dang dang... Dingo to tha rescue me ol cobber! :D
Nah Im just keepin it up topsides sos these ol swabs can give yer a and :cool:
mmm sigh... as soon as they flamin well wake up that is!!... COME ON FELLAS!!... A shipmate needs yer and pull a flamin finga out :rolleyes:
05-03-2005, 09:13 AM
Construct an A frame from 2X4 16' long. Bottom distance apart the beam of the boat a bit fwd of the mast hole. Pad the ends, attach a suitable tackle at the top plus guys to be secured fore and aft. Secure the bottom from slipping and pull up the frame and secure the guys fore and aft. Place the mast on the boat between the frame and determine it's blancing point with all rigging attached. Then move the tackle a bit towards the mast head. You want the foot of the mast to be the low point.
Attach the tackle end to this point by a series of half hitches you can shake loose once the mast is erected and dropped into the boat. Say a
prayer that all will go smoothly and hoist away. When the mast is above the hole and erect or nearly so guide the mast in while lowering away. Once in the step the mast should be ok till you get the rigging secured.
This has worked for me the few times I tried it but my mast weighed about 65 lbs. I guess your mast weighs less.
Good luck .
I'm sure others can give some more input.
05-03-2005, 09:13 AM
I have used a temporary A-frame for this job - but its stilla bit of a guddle.
05-03-2005, 09:27 AM
You'd most likely find it so much simpler to get someone to help guide the heel of the mast into the deck opening and then down to the mast step (while you walk the rest of the mast into position) that constructing an a-frame is more trouble than it is worth.
Rhodes 18s of that era were designed to have the mast stepped at the beginning of the season and unstepped at the end. If you want to be doing it on a regular basis, you might look at how Lightning Class sloops (19') are rigged with a deck slot and hinge pins.
Not much help, I know.
05-03-2005, 09:42 AM
I stepped my 14 meter wooden mast using two 10 meter ladders. The same thing that has already been stated but instead of using 2X4's I made an A frame using two extension ladders tied at the top, secured at the bottom, and with cords running front and back. I then lifted the mast with a rope block and tackle. There was no stress and no worries.
05-03-2005, 10:50 AM
Years ago on a tempest racing dinghy ( that had a fixed keel so on the trailer the deck would be about 8 ft off the ground), we would walk the mast vertical on the ground beside the boat-on-the-trailer then one would get up on the boat and hold the mast vertical, the other would then get up beside the first, then with the mast vertical we'd hand over hand straight up, once the mast heel was clear of the deck one set of hands down low, and another at shoulder height we'd carry it in to place and put it in the track that received the heel.
Once the mast is properly vertical keeping it that way is relatively easy if you move slowly and keep the column vertical.
Sort of like the party trick of balancing an inverted broom on your hand. A windy day made it no fun though.
The whole thing sounds a bit dodgy, but it worked well. The mast weighed ( guessing) 35 pounds, and was easily 25 ft in length.
Once the forestay was on, the partners held it in place for everything else to be attached.
This diverts a bit from the "single handedness" aspect of things a bit. You do need 4 hands involved, and preferably reasonably strong ones too. Each pair of hands (i.e. person) need, at least, to be able to carry the mast by themselves.
Look around there is probably a keen teenager willing to help.
thatsa tempest... you can look it up here ( choose tempest in the first drop down list box)
[ 05-03-2005, 12:11 PM: Message edited by: shoal_draft_fantasies ]
05-03-2005, 04:39 PM
Tempests are great boats! I sailed on them in the seventies when they were (briefly) an Olympic class, and it was the first time I'd ever seen boats with Teflon coated bottoms.
A few weeks ago I saw that one was for sale for about a thousand (with trailer) and was very tempted.
05-03-2005, 04:46 PM
On the Rhodes, the CB case is in the way for most any tabernacle arrangement.
I have hand stepped one. I made guides from deck underside to step so the mast could be pretty much dropped down without much aiming. Blocked the boat very firmly on the ground, stood on the deck, got it to verticle and put in. To get it out, I'd do it in the water, lift and caber toss.
Not something for every day. But the wooden Rhodes is not suited for dry sailing anyway.
What if I had some sort of bridle set-up on the foredeck that had a metal rod going acrost and there was a slot cut into the bottom of the mast to accept it. Then the mast could be pivoted up on that until vertical and then lowered through the deck...
05-04-2005, 12:59 PM
With my fleet of small boats and my single hander sailing goals, I'm often stepping trailer sailboat masts on all sorts of boats. If no hinged mast step, then a line somewhere at the base of the mast with the other end near the mast step. This will hold the base of the mast down and near the right spot.
The big thing is to have the shrouds already attached. This will keep the mast from getting lost to the port or starboard when you are lifting it.
Now either get in front of the mast and lift it up or behind and push it up.... When it is about 3/4 of the way up - a good push or pull and it leaps into the upright position, the shrouds get tight and everything is approaching success....
progressive epoxy polymers
05-04-2005, 02:13 PM
I'm sorry to rain on your parade, but I think that the right and proper thing to do is to NOT step it singlehanded.
Do you have the upper-body strength to maneuver this stick around with confidence? By that, I mean to ask... Would you pick up this mast, stand it on end, and carry it through a lot full of brand new cars on a windy day? Could you do it after spending an hour beating into 20knots of wind to get back to the beach?
I did quite a bit of singlehanded mast stepping when I owned beach cats. Hundreds of dollars worth of specialized hinges, gin pole, shroud extensions and a trailer winch, and I still dropped it hard more times than I'd like to admit. Looking back, I'm just plain lucky that no bystanders were injured.
05-04-2005, 03:13 PM
You said a mouthfull there Mike. Dancing around with a mast in the air while trying to fit into it's hole sure can be tricky. One gust of wind and >>>>>>>>>>>.. :eek:
Some kind of tripod, shear legs to the sides + a leg to the bow, with the center and tackle just forward of the hole. Put the foot of the mast by the hole, tie the line from the tackle to it where you'll be able to reach it when the mast is erect, hoist the mast, tip the end into the hole, lower, untie, remove legs. Reverse to pull the mast.
You're only going to have two hands and need some help.
05-04-2005, 04:42 PM
Your original idea of shroud extensions is probably a solution to keeping things under control for a keel stepped mast.
I do a 25 ft deck-stepped mast on a Compac 23 with a bi-pod that pivots at the deck. I hoist with a four-part tackle to the bow fitting. My whole plan is based on being able to stop at any point, cleat off the hauling line and fix whatever is snagged or has otherwise gone wrong.
Most of the time the boat is on the trailer, about seven feet above the ground, so I don't want to drop anything, or anyone.
It seems like you could pivot to a stable the UP posiiton, with the shrouds supporting, then lower it to the step without too much risk.
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