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Thread: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

  1. #1

    Default Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    Well, I'm looking at purchasing a 22 foot gaff sloop with a stout 26' long x 6.5' mast. The boat is oak & cedar. Cedar decks, no fabric no plywood. I've often transported the mast of my 30 foot boat horizontal (obviously) with saw horses on deck. I'd like to do the same with this boat, shouldn't be a problem right? We'll be traveling several hundred miles on a flatbed/cradle setup. I'd put wide feet on the sawhorses to distribute the load over the deck beams. The boat has been out of the water for a few years now, and while we'll water the hull for a week or so, the deck is dry.

    I'm sure as with lots of things, the devil is in the details. I guess in this case, we'll assume this boat is built fairly typical. Not light but not tuggy either.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    I wonder whether putting tyres under the mast would spread the load better than sawhorses, and it would be closer to the deck. The mast could be cinched down tight and still have some shock absorption under it.
    Money may not buy happiness, but it can buy a boat that will pull right up next to it!

  3. #3
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    Guerilla Bay, NSW, Australia
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    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    I had a 32' motor/sailer transported 3,000k from SA to NSW on a trailer - the transoprt guys just strapped the mast to the bulwarks and it was fine. Though it was a fairly short mast (about 20 feet or so). If the mast is lightweight and prone to distortion you might need to be careful and give it lots of support.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    Can you put the spar on the trailer?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    Not sure it will fit on the trailer. I'm using a flatbed and wood cradle to move the boat. If I lash it down low onto the cradle it won't easily clear the back of the truck & will stick six feet or so out the end of the trailer at car level. I may have more options once the boat is loaded. I'd rather the mast is on the cradle, but may prepare sawhorses for the deck just in case.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stiletto View Post
    I wonder whether putting tyres under the mast would spread the load better than sawhorses, and it would be closer to the deck. The mast could be cinched down tight and still have some shock absorption under it.
    This is an interesting idea. I'll need to look at this. The boat has a little raised cabin top that will need to be cleared though.






  7. #7
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    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    Preserved, the tires (tyres) seem a good idea - however, you may want to put something between them and the deck - think tugboat tires and scuffs on freighter hull - just a thought



    Rick

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    116

    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    I've done it, also with 22 foot boat and 26' mast. Built a cradle that sat at the rear of the cockpit and spanned the two settees. Had to lash the cradle well to prevent any fore and aft movement, most of the lashing involves the cradle. Mast top sat at the bow wrapped in a moving blanket and tied down. I crammed a few boat bumpers into any spaces between mast and cabin top, another moving blanket, and also used the grab rails to tie to. Really the same setup I used for winter storage, just beefed up a bit.
    I had the boat and mast at home so it was easy to configure the cradle, but if you had the cockpit measurements, you could fabricate something out of 2x6's about 4' high with an opening of 7" in the center. Just bring a few 2x scraps to screw across the opening below where the mast wants to sit. Bring some eyebolts to add wherever you feel the need to tie to. Worked well for me, although I'm sure there are other ways.

    Good luck

  9. #9
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    Sneem, Co. Kerry, Ireland
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    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    I use fenders instead of tires to cushion the mast. And pay attention that no steel shrouds and other wires can come loose to rub and damage varnished surfaces. Difficult. One of the reasons I no longer use steel wires. All replaced with Dyneema. No more damage since.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
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    Norwich, Norfolk, UK
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    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    I've used Fenders (sausage type) and foam (rubbery type) to cushion the mast, normally putting the mast in the jaws of the tabernacle wrapped in cloth. That gives just enough clearance of the top of the towing vehicle,
    though with only 4ft total overhang you shouldn't need to worry about that..
    Just an amateur bodging away..

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    I just lashed mine down to the pulpit and pushpit, with (IIRC) an old lifejacket under the centre section as shock absorption. Being a flexy 36' spar, it was easy to bend it enough that it did not wobble around and fatigue itself.

    My mast section is the same as a J/24 and Etchells, and they get trailed around continents with no mast issues. Google pics shows a variety of securing methods.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    The only boat I have owned that I do not trailer with the mast on deck is my GP14. It has a 22 foot long mast, so the overhangs are far too long for safety. My other trailerable boat is a Montgomery 17 (I know, glassfibre) and I put the mast on the pulpit and on a sawhorse with feet in the cockpit.
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito"

    -Dalai Lama

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Transporting a boat with the spars on deck, any troubles?

    I store the masts of my 20' Elver yawl on pipe structures that I made for the purpose.

    http://www.willmarsh3.net/el/elver_apa_prep.html

    Basically I put these galvanized pipes inside a PVC pipe that is sized for the hole and filled the inside with spray on foam to secure it. The spars sit in the cradle formed by the galvanized pipes.
    Will

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