Steping a mast yourself

tsekul

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Hi all,

We are thinking of getting smaller boat to keep on our drive on a trailer over the winter. Mainly to keep things a bit simpler... and cheaper, but if we have to pay to have the mast stepped by a boat yard ,the savings on wintering on the drive will soon get eaten up.
How easy is it to get a 11 metre keel stepped mast up by yourself? I imagine a deck stepped mast is fairly straight forward but a keel stepped mast looks a bit trickier ?

How much does a 11 metre mast weight do you think ?

Thanks for any input
T
 

Tranona

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With a deck stepped mast, preferably in a tabernacle you can raise with an A frame and a winch, although 11m is very large for this sort of arrangement. Forget about a keel stepped mast unless you have access to a DIY crane or derrick, or construct a scaffold frame. You can do it with two other boats either side. but for once a year it is easier to use a yard facility.
 

VicS

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Hi all,

We are thinking of getting smaller boat to keep on our drive on a trailer over the winter. Mainly to keep things a bit simpler... and cheaper, but if we have to pay to have the mast stepped by a boat yard ,the savings on wintering on the drive will soon get eaten up.
How easy is it to get a 11 metre keel stepped mast up by yourself? I imagine a deck stepped mast is fairly straight forward but a keel stepped mast looks a bit trickier ?

How much does a 11 metre mast weight do you think ?

Thanks for any input
T

I would not attempt to step/ unstep an 11 metre mast, even deck stepped, without a crane or derrick except perhaps a lightish one in a tabernacle. Definitely not a keel stepped one

It takes at least three reasonably fit people to carry the mast off a Westerly Berwick. Two fairly strong people could probably do it.
The heaviest masts I've been involved with were wooden ones!

A boat with an 11m mast sounds a bit large to be taking home to park on the front drive on a trailer.

expect to pay a yard something around £60 each way ( up or down) Cheap compared with the cost of damage or injury resulting from a cocked up DIY attempt.
 

dk

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What trailer sailer has a 36ft-long, keel-stepped mast??? How are you planning to tow it?
 

doug748

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My mast is 42ft overall. I can lift one end and move it around. Two fit men could carry it but not far.

As the others have suggested, it would be brave to try and take it out by anything other than a crane. Even than, unless the crane has a good height, you can have problems. Insufficient lift can have you bouncing the foot across the deck and the greasy lifting gear making a real mess of the mast and halyards.

The easiest is a mobile telescopic jib crane where you can get right over the spar and lift it from the top, using a halyard rather than the spreaders. I am not sure if your boat or mast is 11m but either way it is not a DIY prospect in my view.
 

ex-Gladys

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My old Tornado cat had a 33' mast of much smaller section than cruiser masts, and that took 4 people to raise. Gladys mast is 40' and two people can only just carry it. Other people's view may vary but the damage which could be done with a big mast going out of control could be huge... I wouldn't do it
 

lw395

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I've seen ~28ft wooden keelboat masts stepped using a simple tripod on the deck of the boat.
Being keel stepped seems to help.
It's not trivial but can be done with thought, planning and engineering.

It ought to be a lot easier with a nice light carbon mast.
 

johnphilip

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I've seen ~28ft wooden keelboat masts stepped using a simple tripod on the deck of the boat.
Being keel stepped seems to help.
It's not trivial but can be done with thought, planning and engineering.

It ought to be a lot easier with a nice light carbon mast.

Perhaps the keel boats with an open cockpit (half decked is it called?) did not have to thread the mast through a hole in the deck.
 

lw395

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Perhaps the keel boats with an open cockpit (half decked is it called?) did not have to thread the mast through a hole in the deck.

Yes they do!
It may help that the cof g of a tapered wooden mast is lower than an extruded ali one?
But they are v heavy, 2 man lift.
And being half -decked, one person can guide the foot of the mast through the deck and into the step.

Perhaps somebody will re-invent gunter rig soon?
In carbon of course.
A 20-odd foot carbon dinghy mast is a revelation, makes ali masts seem stupidly heavy.
 

Fimacca

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I would be careful with what you do and plan well. I have seen a fairly short mast fall on 3 boats when DIY'd and the damage was very costly ! loads of videos on youtube of how and what to do.
 

tsekul

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Thanks everyone for your input.

We are looking at a mini transat. 6.5 mtrs long, I think the mast is 11 mtrs. Just doing some homework on the logistics and real overheads compared to wintering ashore in a boat yard. looks like I will be factoring in mast steping.

the next issue is whether we can launch from the trailer, bearing in mind it has a 1.6mtr keel ! I have seen people doing large boats on t'interweb . Thought of two options .
1. Seen someone use an extension pole between your tow bar and trailer, to launch as you would a motor boat.
2.Can you park your trailer at low water and wait for the tide to float her off. You could have the trailer attached to a rope and tow clear after launch.

I want to try and work something so we can clean the hull a bit more regularly.

you would have to float off side ways as the cradles fit the hull Hmmmmm.
 

Kelpie

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A lot depends on the slipway that you are planning to use. Will other people be happy with you having your trailer sat there for hours? Will there be a charge for use?
Road trailers do not like salt water, so I would not suggest leaving it in there any longer than necessary. If it is a braked trailer, then you can cause a lot of expensive damage through corrosion.

One thought is that such a small and light boat could probably be lifted by a lorry-mounted HIAB, which should be relatively cheap to hire. Could do your mast at the same time. Then you could tow it home for free and easy storage.
 

ProDave

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Presumably you have somewhere organised to keep the boat afloat in the summer?

So what does everyone else do where you are keeping the boat?

There is often some form of club or group communal crane in and out, and I long since realised it's worth paying the relatively small cost of a group crane in / out rather than spend a couple of hours stripping the trailers wheel bearings and servicing the brakes after each dunking. The crane can of course step / unstep the mast as well as the crane in / out.

The only downside is a group crane in ties you to one date, but that's the only downside I can think of.
 
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