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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Cornwall - top end :-)
    Posts
    74

    Default How easy is it to lower and raise a mast.....

    I need to do a little work on the mast....replacing a tricolour, adding a windex, adding a pulley for the topping lift and straightening my aerial. How easy, in reality, is it to drop a mast and raise again without a plethora of problems?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Surrey & boat in Dorset. Both have pubs
    Posts
    3,655

    Default Re: How easy is it to lower and raise a mast.....

    Depends on the mast / boat size and whether it was designed to lower rather than lift out. To lower it really needs to be in a tabernacle and the shrouds in line with the mast pivot plus you require a pole to go out to the forestay. Sometimes (or in my case always) it is easier to use the yards crane.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Wetherby
    Posts
    1,277

    Default Re: How easy is it to lower and raise a mast.....

    Dead easy - go to the boatyard - remove the boom and sails - take out the split pins from the turnbuckles - disconnect all the wiring going up the mast and tape it up- pay the yard to lower it.
    Do everyone a favour - Smile !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Cumbria; U.K.
    Posts
    3,255

    Default Re: How easy is it to lower and raise a mast.....

    You say earlier that your boat is 28ft. Even with things in your favour, some kit and several helpers who know what they're doing, I'd say that was near the limit for normal DIY, if that's what you're thinking of.
    Results from a mistake are likely to be costly and could well cause injury.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    On the Celtic Fringe
    Posts
    13,780

    Default Re: How easy is it to lower and raise a mast.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Halo View Post
    Dead easy - go to the boatyard - remove the boom and sails - take out the split pins from the turnbuckles - disconnect all the wiring going up the mast and tape it up- pay the yard to lower it.
    What Halo said.

    Quote Originally Posted by earlybird View Post
    You say earlier that your boat is 28ft. Even with things in your favour, some kit and several helpers who know what they're doing, I'd say that was near the limit for normal DIY, if that's what you're thinking of.
    Results from a mistake are likely to be costly and could well cause injury.
    Perhaps Alskade should call his/her insurance company to check if you are covered for this type of work would be in order. All of the yards that I have kept boats in want me well away from the crane when they lift the mast.
    Cynical Scottish almost retired engineer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: How easy is it to lower and raise a mast.....

    Our Club

    Has a simple A Frame made up of gas pipe by the look of it, still needs several assistants, but not difficult, as long as the mast is deck stepped that is!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    West Australia
    Posts
    11,495

    Default Re: How easy is it to lower and raise a mast.....

    Around here (west Oz Swan River) most sail boats have to lower their mast to transit under traffic bridges to get to the ocean. This is done regularly by boats with mast up to 20 metres and more while under way. For myself recently I lowered the mast on my 21fter to fix wind pointer in abouit 30 minutes from go to wo while on swing mooring.
    However one must prepare and modify the boat to make it easy and safe. It is still a bit of a chore/adventure /worry.
    Firstly as said you must have a mast base that facilitates lowering almost always back wards. You must have a gin pole or most people here use 2 spinnacker poles. The single pole from the base of the mast to the forestay. Thus when the mast goes to near horizontal the gin pole forces the forestay up to give a decent pull angle on the forestay. Spin poles are attached near the gunwhale aprox abeam the mast joining at the forestay to swing upwards as it goes down.
    You need a tackle 4 purchase with around 18 metres of rope.
    You can use a halyard for lowering but be aware you will have a lot of weight and strain on the halyard. Forestay is stronger. You disconnect the forestay and fit the tackle in between the bow fitting and the forestay tackle as short as possible. Disconnect any baby stays going forward.
    You will need a crutch of some sort to land the mast into mounted at the stern. Many use an A frame of crossed pieces of wood roped and stayed into place. Make this as high as you can reach the mast. ie 2 metres at least from the deck.
    In my case with a high crutch I can leave boom and main sail attached but best disconnect goose neck if in doubt.
    Now in the case of OP he may be able to work on the top of the mast from a high jetty even with a step ladder by mooring the boat to the jetty but angling the stern and mast head when down over the jetty.
    If you can not reach the top for service you may have to bring the mast right down. This requires several people to help. Disconnect the base of the mast and all wiring and halyards. Be careful the mast does not tip top down base up when you disconnect. It may be close to tipping point. slide the mast forward one person under the crutch lifting/sliding the other person carrying the base forward until it can sit on pulpit then further forward until top of mast is over the stern.
    Lift the top of the mast out of the crutch and down cushioning the mast on the cabin top on cushions/padding of some sort. I use a single post with a notch type support at the top for high crutch. It has a loop support down low for low support. The single pole is hard to support vertical but makes lifting the mast down very easy.
    It is very heavy to hoist the mast by the tackle when near horizontal but much easier if mast is only lowered down to a high crutch.
    Now the real problem is that once the mast is let swing backwards the cap shrouds go loose and there is no support to stop the mast swinging sideways. The huge leverage can damage the mast pivot very easily. A proper 2 post tabernacle provides better support but still may not be strong enough. If on the water the mast going to one side will heel the boat making mast more inclined to swing . Many people with mast head rig and inline cap shrouds have a steel plate or tube which extends the chain plate up to a point in line with the pivot axle. This means the cap shrouds stay tight and keep mast central all the way down the traverse. You may want to rely on 2 people on cabin top holding the mast central. Or you may use halyards down to the gunwhale abeam the mast which can be tightened as it goes down.
    Typical fractional rig with shrouds aft of abeam the mast are worst. You might try a cable clamp on each cap shroud with a tackle running forward to the gunwhale so you can pull shroud forward increasing tension as it goes down.
    I would suggest a serious sail boat owner come to grips with self lowering of mast simply because the top area of the mast needs maintenance and going up in a harness id for the birds. (IMHO). I reckon I have lowered and raised my mast about 50 times now so you cna get familiar with it. Just be careful the first time. There are lots of articles on mast lowering on this forum. 2 pictures. one of the purpose fitted rings in the side decks for spin pole attachment and one of the crutch for mast catching. ol'will
    100_6759scaled.jpg (83.8 KB)
    Poleringscropped.jpg (20.8 KB)
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Bewdley, Worcs
    Posts
    322

    Default Re: How easy is it to lower and raise a mast.....

    On a 27' boat, it is not a difficult task ... most yards have a crane of some sort, probably about an hour and 60 each way on a 27' er

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    In the far North
    Posts
    9,689

    Default Re: How easy is it to lower and raise a mast.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Halo View Post
    Dead easy - go to the boatyard - remove the boom and sails - take out the split pins from the turnbuckles - disconnect all the wiring going up the mast and tape it up- pay the yard to lower it.
    Absolutely - the risk of damage to yourself and the boat is just too high to contemplate.
    Claymore

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    35,833

    Default Re: How easy is it to lower and raise a mast.....

    28ft boat, the mast is likely too big to handle manually.
    But it's possible if you can get access to a crane, or perhaps a Hiab on a truck on a high quayside at LW. You need to lift the mast from above its balance point to make it simple.
    Possiby you can dry out against a high wall, leaning shorewards and reach the mast with a step ladder?
    Or hire a cherry picker?
    Personaly, I've been up the mast of a 28ft boat a few times, to do those kinds of jobs.
    There are many threads on here about how to do so safely, you need to sort out your own way and be sure you can trust everything you are relying on.
    I am assuming the boat is afloat?

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