Mast step – 2004







Our mast-step system was many years in the planning. This safe and easy to use system allows us to step our mast without a crane, while carefully controlling the whole process. We finally installed this because we wanted to have control over the mast step process to prevent bending or kinking of our newly installed Harken headsail roller furling system. We can also prevent scarring of our varnished spruce mast. We designed the rig and made and tested the parts in the fall while still in the slip.


We use existing boat gear (spinnaker pole, main sheet, blocks, winches) to provide the lifting leverage and our own designed apparatus to provide control. The roller-equipped mast storage system allows us to easily shift the mast for sanding and varnishing while in the stored (horizontal) position. No more crane appointments and high fees…




How it works:


1.      The spinnaker pole serves as the lever arm. It is connected to the base of the mast, and to the pulley system. Control cables position and keep the spinnaker pole on center when hoisting mast. Turnbuckles allow for precise adjustment.


2.      The lower shrouds and turnbuckles control sideways motion of the mast during the hoisting process. All adjustments to 1&2 are made before beginning to hoist.


3.      Triangular metal plates connect to the two deck chainplates, providing a pivot point in line with the mast step hinge. This assures equal tension and guidance during the hoisting process.


4. A 1” aluminum tube is used as a compression strut to resist the inward pressure from the spinnaker pole guide-wires and lower shrouds.


5. The mast hinge connects to the base of the mast with three 3/8” hanger bolts. The three hanger bolts are permanently installed in the aft side of the mast base. Index blocks also attach to the original mast-step casting to control the hinge connection during hoisting. The mast hinge block and index blocks are removed after all standing rigging is attached and the mast is secured in the upright position.






Mast is attached to the hinged stepping block, with spinnaker pole in place. The pivot support bar and the roller-furling apparatus are also shown.



Close-up of mast stepping hinge and 1” aluminum pivot support/compression bar with mast in near-upright position.




This triangular brace links the pivot support bar to the chainplates and lower shrouds, ensuring a rigid, fixed pivot point. The compression bar helps prevent lateral movement and twisting of the mast during stepping.


Block and pulley system uses main sheet to pull mast to the vertical position using spinnaker pole as lever arm.



Additional views of pulley system. Note that the front hatch is removed to provide clearance for the spinnaker pole



Rear mast support with roller to allow for easy handling of mast.




The front mast support has rollers for easy handling and is keyed to accept the sail-track and keep the mast on center.



Close-up of mast support rig. PVC roller facilitates movement of mast for sanding and varnishing. Rig attaches to bow pulpit as shown.









Going up!








  Mast rigged and connected to step. Ready to hoist.



  Hoisting mast with main sheet and cabin-top winch.  Spinnaker pole is used as a leverage strut.  



  Going up!






  Mast is almost up; connecting the backstay.






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