View Full Version : single handed mast raising rig question

07-27-2008, 07:32 PM
I just tried to step the mast on my 16 ft wood K boat with a 26ft spruce mast. Needless to say, it did not go well in the absence of help; thank goodnes its a solid mast, it seemed to fair the shock well. THere has to be an enlightened approach for single handed loners.

As an engineer, I can envision a rig placed in the deck to seat the foot of the mast, removable extensions for the standing rigging and a pulley on the bow going to the jib halyard...

Has this problem been solved, I am not a fan of the marines-on-bunker-hill style of stepping a mast and I will not use the boat much if its too much hassle. Not crazy about leaving it at a boatyard with the mast stepped.



07-27-2008, 08:00 PM
Google it, or look on by the sea. I've seen drawings in books I'm sure. I used to do it alone on my Pennant, which had a mast about 26' also. She had a hinge at the base, so I'd pin it first. The mast lay forward, I'd run a line aft, through a block, back to the foredeck. Then I'd walk it up as high as I could, and pull on the line til it was up. The upper shrouds were attached first. This worked ok, but then tuning and bending on sail took a good 45 minutes. I only did it once a season, when I launched. Unrigging solo is tough, because the mast wants to sway, risking damage to itself or surroundings. Good luck. By the way, the line had better control from the middle of the mast, at spreaders, than it did if attached to the backstay.

07-27-2008, 08:18 PM
Flying Scot owners have devised a rig to aid mast raising.

Here's the link.


07-27-2008, 08:47 PM
Thanks, but the issue here is that the mast is NOT deck stepped. The mast goes through the deck to a step on the keel 18 to 24" below. Check out the pic with the kid sitting on the deck.

http:www.flickr.com/photos/28599565@N04/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/28599565@N04/)

Unfortunately, by now I have 8 coats of varnish on that number / deck plate that the mast goes through. By the looks of the old boat cover, the previous owners kept the boat at the water with the mast stepped.

Thanks again for the thoughts...


07-27-2008, 10:34 PM
The slickest system I"ve seen is this one:
Developed for the Telstar trimaran. But I don't know whether or not the geometry of the rig could be adjusted to slide the mast down through the partner to the step.

What comes to my mind is the need for what would essentially be a crane or gin pole setup that could lift the mast a bit above its balance point. For example, a tripod of three pieces of aluminum tubing about 16' long. The bottom ends would have to latch or hook onto the bow and chainplates and a block and tackle would be hooked up to the top. Even then, it would be fussy to get the mast lined up so that it would slide in readily. But still much more controlled than the Marines at Iwo Jima (Bunker Hill was another time and place, no?)

As far as existing solutions, the only time I've seen that type of mast stepped and unstepped regularly is at clubs that have a dockside crane. But for sure, this issue has been dealt with by others.

07-27-2008, 11:36 PM
The Telstar demo is amazing.

Maybe a four-legged sheers, with the joining forward of the mast step. Hoist the mast at its center of gravity high enough that it will swing down to the hole (you'd need additional lines above and below the C.G. to control and position the mast once it was in the air.) Get it vertical, then lower it and remove all of the lines. I can't see it being done by one, but maybe with enough winches ....

07-28-2008, 01:02 AM
Are the hole in the deck/mast partner and the mast step completely seperate with no conecting tube between them? This would make it hard to align the step while you are supporting the length of the mast.

If you were to create a solid tube from the deck hole/mast partner all the way down to the step the mast would behave and seat into place as it was dropped ino the hole rather than having the tip swaying around in the breeze.

Not sure if this is enough of a help for your situation but it would make it much easier and the base of the mast would automatically drop into the step.



donald branscom
07-28-2008, 01:06 AM
It has been solved long ago.

Use a mast tabernackle and it will be easy.
A beam pin to pin mounted on the deck is actually stronger
than a keel stepped mast but a keel steped mast has other advantages. The size of the boat is an important consideration. Your size boat is sort of on the borderline because it could stay in the water or be a trailer boat.
A gaff type riig could be helpful in your situation.
Did you have ANY help?

07-28-2008, 10:40 AM
When you say you are not crazy about leaving it stepped -- what exactly does that mean?

Depending on the issue, there are multiple possible solutions. Rigging temporary stays to the trailer is just one option...

Jay Greer
07-28-2008, 01:18 PM
Since you are an engineer, I needn't to go into detail. A collapsible, A frame sheer leg set up can be made of twin wooden whisker poles that are guyed fore and aft. If needed, the boom can be used as a lever using the halyard, sheet and two guys to the chain plates The set up is quite simple to rig and unrig. The beauty of it is that it can be of more than one use.

07-28-2008, 02:40 PM
Go watch how the Hobie sailors step their masts on a Hobie 16. I did it many times, alone, and I am no Atlas. The Hobie 16 has a 26 ft aluminum mast.