Dropping mast

Miker

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The mast is on a Beneteau 260 Spirit, and is 10 metres high hinged to fall backwards.
I am having the rigging renewed butif I dropped the mast myself it would give me more time to work on the masthead. If the boat is tied to a finger in the marina, can two/three people easilly drop the mast between them?

I was thinking of the forestay being undone and the mast lowered backwards by the genoa halyard, with two pople standing behind the mast to ease the drop. Or would the mast be too heavy. It might be possible for the person holding the genoa halyard to gain some height by standing on the marina outside wall, paticularly if done at low tide.
 

prv

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Firstly, how is the mast hinged? If it's a proper tabernacle then you're probably OK, but just a dainty pin as part of a foot fitting is probably not up to the job.

Secondly, it sounds like you're planning just to hold the genoa halyard by hand. I would suggest you secure it so that you're easing out round a winch, cleat, etc - the load will become quite large as the mast approaches horizontal. My halyard is two parts with a block at the head of the sail, which makes life easier.

Thirdly, you really need a "gin pole" so that there's some upwards pull as the mast comes down to horizontal. I use my bowsprit which pivots up from the middle of the foredeck, but lots of people have a temporary metal or wooden pole. Your idea of working from the top of a wall might replace this.

Finally, some temporary shrouds to stop it twisting sideways as it comes down are good, and I would say essential if done afloat. Otherwise the loads on the tabernacle could be very high, in ways it's not designed for. Again if afloat, make sure people stay on the centreline as the mast comes down so you don't heel over and lean it sideways.

My mast is about 28 feet tall, and I lower it without much drama with myself on the halyard and one other person in the cockpit to help it into the crutch. Yours is longer, but also presumably lighter (mine's wood). If the setup's good then there shouldn't be problems - but that's an important "if", especially the tabernacle / hinge arrangement.

Pete
 

ProDave

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You won't do it like that, it will be simply too heavy.

My little boat only has a 26ft mast and two of us can lower it, but even that is too heavy to lower just holding a halyard.

We do it 2 ways, if it's on the trailer, I lower it down with the trailers winch over the bow roller. If not a block and tackle to give 3X mechanical advantage is needed. You will probably need more mechanical advantage for your larger mast.

You really want to rig up a guyed gin pole, or A frame, otherwise as the mast gets near to being down the pull will become simply too great.

Search on you tube, theres plenty of videos of people raising and lowering masts to give you some idea.
 

SHUG

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By "Dropping the Mast" I know you mean "Lowering the Mast"
I used to take a Sigma 33 mast down and here are some pointers.
To avoid dropping it you can use your spinnaker pole if it is guyed to the toe-rail at points which are directly opposite the mast pivot. Also, to take care of that moment when the forces really build up, you can take an extension rope on the genny halyard through the bow roller and back to a winch. Lastly, it can be useful to take a 3m length of 2x2 timber and fashion a crutch at the end to support the mast from the cockpit as it passes the point of no return......which begs the question..."How do you get it up again when gravity is working against you?"
Good luck!!
 

Seajet

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At this size of boat and mast it is straightforward if some planning and thought is put into it; a pivotted step will be fine.

Ensure the mast will not conflict with a main hatch garage or a solar panel on top of it - a pillow or cushion secured by lines is a good idea if in doubt.

This is particularly important; - if a roller headsail system is involved, put a line around the bottom drum and have 1 person dedicated to pulling and keeping the foil taught and straight - they need not be very strong, girlfriends etc are ideal - I keep strong people to help with the mast ! - for this reason, plus ease with mast up / down generally, it is VERY handy to be in a marina with a pontoon in front of the boat.

You should get on fine.
 

sailduck

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We dropped the mast last October on a 260 moored bows to.
With 3 people, it went easy enough. Used spinnaker halyard plus long line.
Just take it steady. Watch for the obvious things like knocking the windex when you move it.
We also rigged a simple cradle using 2 pieces of wood bolted into a X (wedged at the back of the cockpit against the transom) - that way the mast has somewhere to sit as you finish lowering it, and you can use it to stow the mast on board so it clears the coachroof.

Good luck!
 

Martin_J

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As the others have said... a very long line forwards, definitely around something to control the drop. Tie the boat up very firmly so there's no twisting movement.. and I would say either something ahead of it to keep the lowering rope up high and/or something behind to control the lower.

Extra people (especially if they have done this before) will be so so useful.. both to help catch and to then undo the shrouds whilst the others are supporting it once lowered. It needs to be slow - if it's dropped near the end the windex or lights have a risk of flicking themselves off and you need to think about your own safety as well.

Here's a video clip to lighten the mood and show you what can be done with the right technique and enough people. Take note of the ladders/poles used to support the pole.

Barwick in Elmet maypole being raised - I used to watch this happen when I was a kid....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBdg3kbVwmA
 

Spyro

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Lowered a similar sized mast on my previous boat but I would recommend an A frame although mind was more of as tripod, don't forget a cradle at the back to rest the mast on or you might damage your coach roof. Block and tackle between mast and top of the A frame back to a sheet winch. loosen shrouds but don't take them off this will stop the mast going sideways.

2007_0303006.jpg


2007_0303003.jpg
 

SHUG

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Martin J........Barwick in Elmet maypole being raised - I used to watch this happen when I was a kid..

The HSE would have several families of kittens if they saw that. Excellent!!!
 

Martin_J

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.. and it wasn't that long ago that I was a kid...

Yes - it was quite a pole to raise.. and I don't think it's shown in the video but the crowd all then used to watch as one chap shinned up to the top to spin the weather vane (if I remember correctly) and that was done just as soon as the organisers had packed some gravel around the bottom!
 

William_H

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Mast lowering

As said you must have a A frame crutch of some sort at the tramsom to catch the mast into.
You also need as said a gin pole or better 2 spin poles to raise the forstay so improving the angle of pull when the mast is near horizontal. You need a 4 purchase pulley tackle that can reach a winch. The real load is when the mast is near horizontal.
The crutch needs to be as high as possible consistent with you being able to reach up to lift the mast by hand.
Once the mast is down into the crutch you are only halfway there because unless you can twist the boat around so the mast is over a jetty where you can reach the top by step ladder, you will need to move the mast forward out of its step.
This can be a problem as the mast will be balanced in the crutch near the balance point. A said if you disconnect the mast base the base might rise up. You need to control this and be able to get a person under the mast at the crutch and slide the whole thing forward. If you go forward far enough the base will be out forward of the bow resting on the bow rail while the mast top is in the crutch. Now you can lift the top out of the crutch and lower it onto some padding on the cabin top. Hopefully you can service the top of the mast then.
raising the mast is the opposite. Get the base into its pivot and the mast up onto the crutch. Then set up your gin poles and winch it up. Good luck and be careful. olewill
 

Miker

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Thanks everyone. I am having the shrouds changed and thought of lowering the mast in advance to fit a new wind indicator. In view of the difficulties described, I think I'll let the rigger lower the mast with a hoist and fit the wind indicator while the mast is down. I'm told that I will have about three hours to do the job which should suffice.
 

Robby

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Mast Lowering (and raising)

Hi,
anyone used a big A frame, block and tackle and a becket under the spreaders to lift the mast vertically out of it's tabernacle before lowering and rotating gradually to horizontal?

I made one out of an old hang-glider frame (donated, not mine) and used it on my E-Boat. The mast isn't that long but the tabernacle isn't very substantial!

It works great, as the mast is lowered, my assistant walks the foot of the mast forward and it comes down in a very controlled manner. No levering forces exceeding the weight of the mast as it gets down to horizontal.

Stepping the mast is the reverse; Set up A-frame guyed from fore and aft cleats, wrap becket/sling around mast and attach shackle from lifting block, lift while walking foot of mast back towards tabernacle, step mast into tabernacle, attach shrouds, fore & backstay, (Repeat lowering and lifting procedures to attach forgotten wind indicator!) allow lifting tackle to slide down mast & release, remove A-frame & adjust rigging.

Rob.
 

Ubergeekian

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I've used the OPs proposed method to do a 26' mast - Westerly Jouster - several times, including by myself, afloat, and by myself while afloat. It was OK, but just about the limit of what I would like to do unassisted. The crucial point is when it's just too high to support by hand or shoulder but just too low to have good purchase with the halyard. Oo-er.

A 10m mast will have a larger section - although it's only 20% longer it's likely to be 70% heavier (1.2^3) and have twice (1.2^4) the moments to deal with. I'd want an A-Frame at the very least, and preferably a friend or anchor point well above deck level. I did my wee Hunter 490 mast last autumn with a helper standing on a 6' high bank in front of the trailer and it was astonishingly much easier than with the halyard attached to the stemhead fitting.
 

ianat182

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I posted a a reply at some length for your query but the system has lost it and logged me off as well!! However, a briefer answer is to Google for 'Mast Lowering Gear' and also see http://slowflight.net/upgrade/tips.ginpole.html for a very good description of using and constructing a gin-pole to raise or lower your mast.
There are several other websites for First yachts of the traiel sailing types that use gear fitted to the front end of their trailer.
I costed the gin pole and it worked out about £70 from our chandlery,but with a one-way ratchet trailer winch,but would still work I'm sure.

Hope this helps.

ianat182
 

Signed Out

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Will just add- if doing this on a trailer, be aware that as the mast lowers, the COG moves aft too, and may unbalance the load and cause the boat/trailer to tip onto it's back end.
 
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