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veets
08-14-2008, 03:40 PM
I'm building from Steve Redmond's Bluegill plans and about to construct the mast step and mast partner. While reading Mike O'Brien's article on the "Sailing Skiff 15" in Small Boats 2007, I became enamored of the idea of employing a mast gate. It seems to me a nice solution for stepping the mast securely while still being able to extract it easily after a day sailing. The mast for Bluegill is not so tall, of course, but I still would like to explore this option. Anyone ever employ one of these in a small boat (or hasn't) who would care to offer some advice?

Thanks as always.

Alan Peck
08-14-2008, 05:37 PM
Sorry my ignorance, but could you explain what a mast gate is?

Thanks

skuthorp
08-14-2008, 05:38 PM
Does he mean a tabernacle?

Hwyl
08-14-2008, 06:21 PM
No it's a drop in piece in a dinghy. You erect the mast and it's surrounded three sides by the foredeck, then you drop in the mast gate. Usually a little piece of stainless with a screw hole on one side (I think I've only seen it on the port side, and an open slot on the other.

Erect your mast, close the gate, attach the stays and you're cooking with gas.

There are various subtleties to do with mast bend, and some people have removable chocks at the deck level, but that's a high performance thing.

Does this boat have stays BTW, if not watch for different advice.

veets
08-14-2008, 06:31 PM
If you happen to have the 2007 issue of Woodenboat's Small Boats, take a look at the photo on p.101. In lieu of this, I'll attempt to describe:

The mast partner on Bluegill, as designed, consists of a plank with a hole in it, lined with leather, large enough to accept the mast. Beneath the partner is the mast step. What I envision -- and I what I believe I see in the photo -- is a partner that has a gate that can swing open to accept the mast and then "lock" behind it to secure it. Thus you can raise the mast at an angle rather than sliding it from above through the hole in the partner.

Does that make sense?

veets
08-14-2008, 06:34 PM
Sorry, Hwyl, a little quick on the draw I am, but you described correctly what I am thinking about.

The design does not call for stays.

Alan Peck
08-14-2008, 06:42 PM
Veets: Thanks, very clear explanation

Alex Low
08-14-2008, 07:01 PM
I saw this at Mystic Seaport and thought it was pretty cool - from a whaleboat.

Alex

http://www.alexlow.ca/whaleboat.jpg

Thorne
08-14-2008, 07:28 PM
The whaleboat gate is very interesting -- never seen anything like either the hinged partner or the slanted 'ramp' to the mast step.

I have seen drawings and photos of a mast gate with two mast steps, allowing the mast to be set in one of two positions. The gate consists of a slot with rounded ends, and an insert with a matching half-circle cutout that can be placed facing either fore or aft.

onobleboat
08-14-2008, 08:08 PM
Forget about the mast step for a second, in the whale boat photo what it the white thing attached to the outboard hull with the whole in it. ?

onobleboat
08-14-2008, 08:10 PM
Must be a stay attachment for the mast ??

Canoeyawl
08-14-2008, 10:53 PM
That is a "Peak cleat" a cleat for the oar handle when the oar is apeak. There is one for each station.
Used when fast to a whale or when the oarsmen are resting.

from The Whaleboat
by Willits D. Ansel
Published by Mystic Seaport Museum

veets
08-15-2008, 06:52 AM
I have seen drawings and photos of a mast gate with two mast steps, allowing the mast to be set in one of two positions. The gate consists of a slot with rounded ends, and an insert with a matching half-circle cutout that can be placed facing either fore or aft.

That's the ticket. My thought on construction is to cut the mast step from a mahogany plank with a single hole. Then I will release the "half-circle" with two cuts into the plank. I can then sandwich the "half-circle" between two more pieces of the mahogany and cut holes through for pins. Raise the mast. Replace the half-circle. Drop the pins and your off.

What to do for pins? They will wear the wood away eventually, at which point I suppose I could just whittle a new gate.

Any other thoughts on how I might accomplish this design?


Must be a stay attachment for the mast ??

There's none I can see in the sailplan:

http://www.sredmond.com/boat_images/BluegillSailPlan_sm.gif

http://www.sredmond.com/index_boat.htm

kenjamin
08-15-2008, 09:17 AM
The whaleboat mast stepping system is not really a gate but a rotating socket that let's you insert the foot of the mast at an angle while the person stepping the mast is midship where there will be the most stability. The lower end of the mast then simply slides along the ramp until it drops into the hole – ingenious!!! The beauty of it is that once it makes that final drop into the hole, you're done! There's no gate to fasten – very clever! Thanks for the photo Alex. As a fisherman who's very interested in stepping the mast at sea after fishing in the early morning glassy conditions with the mast stored, that whaleboat photo is very interesting!

Veets, as near as I can figure, your main mast is only about 13 feet long so you may not have much need for a gated step or the hinged step with the ramp (like on the whaleboat). Of course if you are planing on stepping your mast at sea (I'm guessing that's what the whalers did), you'll need all the help you can get. Let us know what you decide for your mast stepping system. I may be taking a saw to my mast step after seeing that whaleboat photo!

Thorne
08-15-2008, 11:36 AM
As above, a 13' mast won't need a gate unless you (or your crew) has limited upper body strength -- but it might be worth the hassle for raising and lowering the mast in a seaway as opposed to doing it at the dock.

You shouldn't need pins -- just glue or screw a slightly larger piece of wood on top of the cutout piece, so that it fits tightly into the slot and can't drop through due to the larger cap/top piece. The forces on the mast partner and gate are largely horizontal, that is, in line with the flat surface of the partner. In small boats you may get some up and down force/motion due to large boat wakes, but it shouldn't be enough to pop the cutout piece out of the slot.

Line the fore end of the slot's half-circle with leather, ditto the half-circle end of the cutout piece, to avoid marking the mast and reduce noise and wear.

veets
08-15-2008, 05:27 PM
Thanks, Thorne, and everyone else for your comments and suggestions. I will drop an update once I have something to share.

Hwyl
08-15-2008, 05:52 PM
You'll need a stronger gate than the one I described earlier, but a gaate is still a great way to go. I have trouble with 13 foot masts (on moorings) and anything to make this easier makes sense to me.

SBrookman
08-15-2008, 10:40 PM
Anyone seen a mast gate used to adjust the rake? I was just reading in "Pete Culler on Wooden Boats" where he recommends adjusting the rake in a blow, I think with a mast gate. That might come in handy whenever I get my sharpie finished and on the water.

Hwyl
08-16-2008, 04:38 AM
Anyone seen a mast gate used to adjust the rake? I was just reading in "Pete Culler on Wooden Boats" where he recommends adjusting the rake in a blow, I think with a mast gate. That might come in handy whenever I get my sharpie finished and on the water.

You could also move your mast step. The Optimist class has a movabl mast step. Scroll down on this page http://www.apsltd.com/Tree/d99000/e98387.asp