Mast Stepping / Unstepping

Written by Kevin Morin

There are many different techniques that people use for stepping the mast.  The techniques are essentially the same except for the method used to attach the shrouds to the boat, which is difficult to do because they have several hundred pounds of pressure on them.

The four common techniques are: 1) loosening shrouds, 2) pulling on the spinnaker halyard, 3) using a lever tool, and 4) pulling on the forestay + lower shroud.  Each of these techniques has benefits and costs.  The simplest method that we have found is option 4.

By using the forestay + lower shroud method, it becomes very easy to install both upper shrouds without using tools and without having to be particularly strong.

Here are the steps to step a mast (2 person job):

-Set the mast on the deck of the boat with the mast step towards the stern and the mast channel facing upward. <picture of mast laying on the deck>

-Remove mast cover.

-Install mast head fly (if desired).

-In the boat, clear out any lines that are in the mast step track.  Often the blocks for the jib wire and vang get in the way. <picture of a cleared out mast step>

-Person 1 lifts the mast step while Person 2 (standing on the deck) lifts the top of the mast. <picture of the mast being lifted up>

-Person 1 walks the mast step toward the front of the boat while Person 2 pushes the mast vertical. <2 pictures of the mast being made vertical>

-Once the mast is completely vertical, Person 2 grabs on to the goose neck with one hand and about three feet above the goose neck with the other hand <picture of Person 2’s standard grip on the mast> and lifts while Person 1 holds on to the mast step <picture of Person 1’s standard grip> to help stabilize the mast as it is being moved from the ground to the boat.  In one motion, the mast should go from sitting on the ground <picture of the mast on the ground> to being set in to mast step channel in the boat <picture of the mast in the boat>.

-Person 2 continues to hold the mast upright and Person 1 grabs the forestay and attaches it to the boat.  This pin should be facing outwards. <picture of pin facing outward>

-Once the forestay is attached, Person 2 can let the mast go with it leaning against the forestay.

-Install the port upper shroud.

-Install the fitted mast block around the front of the mast plus 3/8” block in front of the fitted mast block. <picture of the two blocks>

-Install the starboard lower shroud.  Person 1 can easily do this if Person 2 pushes the mast aft while standing on the deck.  <picture of Person 2 pushing the mast aft>

-Install the starboard upper shroud.  This can now easily be done by Person 1 if Person 2, while standing on the trailer, pulls the forestay and the starboard lower together.  Person 2 should wear sailing gloves while pulling on the shrouds because it can be hard on your hands.  WARNING: Only do this when the fitted mast block + a 3/8” mast block are in place.

-Install the port lower shroud.  Person 1 can easily do this if Person 2 pushes the mast aft while standing on the deck.  <picture of Person 2 pushing the mast aft>

-At this point, all the shrouds are connected and the mast blocks should be installed.

-In order to install the mast blocks, the mast must get pushed or pulled forward.  <picture of the mast being pushed forward by the putting shoulder in to the mast>

-Run all necessary lines (i.e. toping lift, vang, jib wire) and attach the backstay.

Here are the steps to unstep a mast (2 person job):

-Record the mast block positions so that the settings can be replicated when the boat is reassembled.

-In order to remove the mast blocks, the mast must get pushed or pulled forward.  <picture of the mast being pushed forward by the putting shoulder in to the mast>

-Remove all mast lines (i.e. toping lift, vang, jib wire) and detach the backstay.

-At this point, the shrouds are ready to be removed.  To prepare for this, remove all the mast blocks and then install the fitted mast block + a 3/8” mast block in front of the mast.

-Remove the port lower shroud.  Person 1 can easily do this if Person 2 pushes the mast aft while standing on the deck.  <picture of Person 2 pushing the mast aft>

-Remove the starboard upper shroud.  This can now easily be done by Person 1 if Person 2, while standing on the trailer, pulls the forestay and the starboard lower together.  Person 2 should wear sailing gloves while pulling on the shrouds because it can be hard on your hands.  WARNING: Only do this when the fitted mast block + a 3/8” mast block are in place.

-Remove the starboard lower shroud.  Person 1 can easily do this if Person 2 pushes the mast aft while standing on the deck.  <picture of Person 2 pushing the mast aft>

-Remove the fitted mast block + the 3/8” block.  All mast blocks should be out at this point.  Place them in one of the seat containers.

-Remove the port upper shroud.

-Person 2 should hold the mast upright and Person 1 grabs the forestay and detaches it from the boat. 

- Person 2 grabs on to the goose neck with one hand and about three feet above the goose neck with the other hand <picture of Person 2’s standard grip on the mast> and lifts.  Once the mast step clears the partners, Person 1 holds on to the mast step <picture of Person 1’s standard grip> to help stabilize the mast as it is being moved from the boat to the ground.  In one motion, the mast should go from being set in to mast step <picture of the mast in the boat> to being set on the ground <picture of the mast on the ground >.

-Person 1 walks the mast step toward the back of the boat while Person 2 lowers the mast from vertical to horizontal. <2 pictures of the mast being lowered>

-Person 1 lowers the mast step while Person 2 (standing on the deck) lowers the top of the mast. <picture of the mast being lowered up>

-In the boat, tie the lines (i.e. toping lift, vang, jib wire) down. <picture off all the lines cleanly tied down.

-Remove mast head fly (if installed).

-Install the mast cover.

-Place the mast on the mast stand. <picture of the mast sitting in the mast stand>

 

Note: For an interesting way of stepping a wooden mast by yourself, check out these photos: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.211048292343892.47850.211018595680195&type=1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: