Author Topic: Mast Stepping Single Handed  (Read 6301 times)

Tim Dunton

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Mast Stepping Single Handed
« on: June 20, 2007, 09:26:12 AM »
I'm keen to know the techniques too (al mast).

Is there enough travel (slack) on the turnbuckles to leave shroud(s) attached and still get by the keel?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 09:29:43 AM by Vibroman »

bill shaw

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Re: Mast Stepping Single Handed
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2007, 11:41:12 AM »
I put my mast up single hand without too much trouble. I have the aluminum mast.

Slide the mast back until the base of the mast is on top of the mast support in the boat.

The top of the mast will have to be supported on a step ladder or something to hold it up

Tie a line from the mast support around the front of the mast through the eye that the pole bungie attaches to then back to the support. This will form a horse shoe around the mast that will prevent it from moving around when you lift the mast. There should be some slack in the "horse shoe" to allow the base of the mast to rotate, but not so much to allow the base to move around much.

I take a piece of line and run through the jib tack shackle and attach it to the spinakker halyard. Pull the spinnaker halyard up about 5-6 feet and cleat. the line that you attached to the halyard runs back and cleats in the jib halyard cam cleat.

I get on the port side of the boat and  walk the mast up. No shrouds attached. You have to lean the mast a little to port to get by the centerboard, then slide it in the mast slot. The horse shoe line has prevented the mast base from sliding out on you, but you may have to pick up a little on the mast to get it into the slot on the base.

Pull on the line that you have attached to the spinnaker halyard and cleat back to the jib cam cleat. That will become the temporary forestay and hold the mast up. If you did not pull the spinnaker halyard up far enough, it will hit the jib shackle before there is tension on the line.

I then attach the forestay and shrouds.

The real secret is the line around the base of the mast. It keeps the base where it belongs without someone trying to hold it while you are rasing the mast.

I have a carbon mast ordered and would think this task would be even easier with the reduced weight.

Bill 

Kay VanValkenburgh

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Re: Mast Stepping Single Handed
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2007, 03:20:26 PM »
Bill's description matches up very closely with what I do.

Naturally, attach the upper ends of all shrouds and the forestay to the mast before raising (seems bolting and taping spreaders, and installing masthead fly are also good things to do while the mast is horizontal - been known to forget...).

I sometimes also attach shrouds to the deck. In this case, I tie the butt to one side of the step - makes no difference to how easy/difficult the process is, but I like not having ends of shrouds flopping around. I tie the butt 4" or so off centerline - far enough to one side that the mast clears the keel as it goes up parallel to the centerline. (Bill's approach is to raise it obliquely, hence shrouds being free of chainplates). I tie the butt to lines through each jib camcleat so I can easily release them once the mast is upright and I'm ready to slide the butt into the step. Means the butt raises a little off the cockpit initially, but not a big deal.

I unstep the mast the same way in reverse sequence.

Bill is right, in my opinion, that tying the mast butt is THE key (I once started unstepping the mast while distracted; didn't tie the butt and things came down more quickly than planned...).
« Last Edit: June 29, 2007, 04:34:54 PM by kay »
first boat I ever owned was viper #28; it was a gateway drug.
my current viper is #98; I can't sail it enough.
the resulting sailing addiction's ok up to that point, but come Winter whydahell do I also have to frostbite a Laser?!

Jay Harrell

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Re: Mast Stepping Single Handed
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2007, 03:32:28 PM »
I also step exclusively single-handed.  I have a "standard-section" (not class) Superspars carbon mast and it has a small hook at the bottom.  I'm able to hook this under the rearmost pin on the mast base and user that to hold the mast in place while I walk it up or down.  It's a bit less secure than tying a line, but seems to be good enough.  I also rig the spinnaker halyard to hold the mast once it's up until I can get the forestay attached.

Justin Scott

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Re: Mast Stepping Single Handed
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2007, 07:46:35 AM »
Bill is right, in my opinion, that tying the mast butt is THE key (I once started unstepping the mast while distracted; didn't tie the butt and things came down more quickly than planned...).

I was there! It was spectacular! Kay was distracted (by 2 martinis and a group of Viperers in post racing mode).
The highlight for me, was Kay calmly walking to the end of the mast, gently moving a stunned spectator who was rooted to the spot 6 inches from where the mast had landed, and taking off the mast head fly, as if this was all part of the standard procedure and the mast had come down in the exact spot he had intended. Cool as a cucumber. Mast was fine.
Viper - Mambo Kings
Right Coast Refreshments Committee

Peter Beardsley

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Re: Mast Stepping Single Handed
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2016, 12:20:58 PM »
May have to give this a shot tonight unless anyone around the greater Larchmont area is bored.  If people have refinements to the techniques mentioned in here through 9 years of learnin', feel free to update accordingly. 
Larchmont YC Fleet
Viper 269 "Great Scott!"
Formerly Viper 222 "Ghost Panda" and Viper 161 "Vicious Panda"

Justin Scott

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Re: Mast Stepping Single Handed
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2016, 05:09:56 PM »
Thanks for bringing back this thread....great memories.

Tim Dunton's regatta wagon at St Pete.
Jay Harrell's custom mast and his semi submersible Viper
Kay's mast dowsing technique, reminiscent of tossing the caber at the Highland games.

We were so excited at the prospect of 20 boats at our NAs and getting to hull #75. Little did we know!
Viper - Mambo Kings
Right Coast Refreshments Committee