Cynical sailor

solo mast stepping

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Cyn, judging from your location I assume your dinghy is not a National Solo, or? Swift Solo maybe?

Or are you just trying to singlehandedly raise a mast on another yet to be named class?

Best of luck.

 

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I've found solo mast stepping to be very much a function of the boat. Yes, some techniques transfer but each boat has some unique aspects to consider.

With a Thistle, for example, a technique that has worked for me very well does involve the jib halyard (in this case it does depend how the halyard is rigged...). The jib halyard is really tightened to keep the mast butt well positioned on the step and then (with shrouds attached), you raise the mast, grab the forestay and connect the forestay to the stem fitting (again it depends on specific rigging).  Having a spotter "just in case" around the first couple times is always a good idea.

What type of boat are you talking about? 

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Do note that the thistle is "deck stepped" (actually partnerstepped haha) and there is a lot of freeboard and they sit on a pretty stout trailer, not a lowrider trolley.

So yes, details matter!

The boats with keel stepped masts vary depending on whether the partners or etc are open at the back or not. That affects your method. For instance old GP14 and 505 steps were that way. But new 505s you have to come through from the top straight down, like a star boat.

What class?

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1 hour ago, Cynical sailor said:

Any simple methods for solo mast stepping, perhaps using jib halyard?

That works. Or spinnaker halyard. Set it up so you've got a cam cleat you can pull the tail thru as you lift the mast

One of the difficulties I've had over the years is that everything likes to tangle. A shock cord on the shrouds, to hold them back and clear of everything, helps. This is why the cam cleat..... if you can let go of the mast and go clear a tangle, the cleat will hold it up for you.

FB- Doug

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Cynical sailor, Don't keep us guessing. What kind of boat are you dealing with? Depending on the boat, solo mast stepping could be relatively easy or impossible. Unless you tell us the boat we are, as Bob Seeger said,  " workin' on mysteries without any clues "  Don't hurt yourself.

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I put up a J-29 mast by myself last week. 4:1 block and tackle on a 45 foot high yardarm 

the hardest part was getting the extrusion to seat on the Step casting 

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Sorry about the mystery! Vagabond 14. I'm thinking block at the bow with halyard back to the cockpit. I like Steam Flyer's cleat recommendation. What about trailer winch?

IMG_3951.jpg

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STRAIGHT DOWN LIKE ON MY FD, JUST A BALANCING ACT BUT EASY. But not as easy as my IC which is CF!

 

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Any halyard led to bow eye or trailer, extended with a spare piece of line, would allow you to hop out and pin the forestay at the deck. This is assuming the mast can be raised with shrouds already pinned. You may already have a cleat at the mast you could secure the line to but hopping out while holding a little tension isn't hard if you are even a little bit spry.

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3 hours ago, Cynical sailor said:

Sorry about the mystery! Vagabond 14. I'm thinking block at the bow with halyard back to the cockpit. I like Steam Flyer's cleat recommendation. What about trailer winch?

IMG_3951.jpg

I don't think you need a winch to raise this mast. WHy add unecessary complication? An extension to the jib halyard, arranged so you can pull it thru one of these

561399.jpg

as it goes up. should do you just fine. All the Vagabonds / Holder 14s I ever saw already have a pivoting mast step, which is nice. All you need to do is step carefully in the boat when on the trailer!

FB- Doug

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Stepped a lot of small dinghy masts Under 20'we generally lift and step straight up and down. If the mast can stand on its own like a 505 or 470 lean it forward to hold. Otherwise you will need an assistant to connect shrouds. 

So depending on the beam you could reach over and drop the mast. I have stood the mast up, Carefully stepped into the boat while supporting the mast and lifted in. Or get the helper to support while you step in. 

FJ and 420 both really need an assistant because they don't have anyway to support the mast in 3 directions. Scows are the same with the rotation masts. Need a helper to connect while one holds.

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1 hour ago, fastyacht said:

Is your mast step like this one?

vagabond1.jpg

Wow, that could be a problem. Definitely clean all that white shit off the boat before trying to go sailing !!!

FB- Doug

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The white stuff isn't a problem- it just washes off when you launch the boat. It's the clear stuff that you need to shift:

 3117723_20160116_0854181.thumb.jpg.5ee7f13d0f45f2c8c7aef57b67ce8497.jpg

 

 You'll see the aid-to-shifting in the sailors hand. Welcome to winter training in Scotland. Please book in advance, so that we can manage numbers.

Cheers,

                  W.

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Can a 505 mast be stepped by one person? I’m thinking about getting an older 505 but not sure if I’ll be able to step the mast alone.   63 years old and still fairly strong but definitely not young anymore. I trailer sail throughout the Finger Lakes in upstate NY. Any suggestions of a good boat for my situation? Just sold a Daysailer 2 that had a hinged mast. Boat was too slow. Have owned FJ, FD, M Scow, Laser 2 and others. 

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22 hours ago, 420Friendly said:

Can a 505 mast be stepped by one person? I’m thinking about getting an older 505 but not sure if I’ll be able to step the mast alone.   63 years old and still fairly strong but definitely not young anymore. I trailer sail throughout the Finger Lakes in upstate NY. Any suggestions of a good boat for my situation? Just sold a Daysailer 2 that had a hinged mast. Boat was too slow. Have owned FJ, FD, M Scow, Laser 2 and others. 

Of course you can step a 505 alone. I do it all the time. HOWEVER you can fuck it up too. I did that once twice...

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If you have a 505 with closed partners it's pretty easy. Hardest part is getting the ram in the track but doable

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On 5/31/2018 at 4:17 AM, WGWarburton said:

The white stuff isn't a problem- it just washes off when you launch the boat. It's the clear stuff that you need to shift:

 3117723_20160116_0854181.thumb.jpg.5ee7f13d0f45f2c8c7aef57b67ce8497.jpg

 

 You'll see the aid-to-shifting in the sailors hand. Welcome to winter training in Scotland. Please book in advance, so that we can manage numbers.

Cheers,

                  W.

what boat is that? 

and also... fuck that fuck that fuck that. I got my fill of it in college sailing (and also sometimes taking the 29er out on days we didn't have practice, because i was stoopid) in new england. 

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6 minutes ago, mustang__1 said:

what boat is that? 

and also... fuck that fuck that fuck that. I got my fill of it in college sailing (and also sometimes taking the 29er out on days we didn't have practice, because i was stoopid) in new england. 

RS Feva: Double-handed junior hiking boat with asymmetric. Moulded hull is tough but heavy, the boat really needs a good blow to get going but is a blast for a couple of teenagers when it's fresh. "Sport" rig with Dacron sails for the inexperienced, XL rig with Mylar main for racing. Good stepping stone from Oppy to 420/29er, as you can learn a bit about teamwork, spinnakers and planing before having to cope with something too demanding:

 (I have no connection to the sailors in the clip, just gives an idea of what the boat can offer)

Cheers,

               W.
 

 

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On 6/3/2018 at 12:53 AM, 420Friendly said:

Can a 505 mast be stepped by one person? I’m thinking about getting an older 505 but not sure if I’ll be able to step the mast alone.   63 years old and still fairly strong but definitely not young anymore. I trailer sail throughout the Finger Lakes in upstate NY. Any suggestions of a good boat for my situation? Just sold a Daysailer 2 that had a hinged mast. Boat was too slow. Have owned FJ, FD, M Scow, Laser 2 and others. 

I stepped my 470 mast by placing the hull off the trailer in a grassy spot and climbing in the hull.  Probably not the best for hull stress.

I tied a line from the bow the spinnaker pole mount to keep it in place while I climbed out and attached the forestay.  This is where mast partners were a big help.

I was a pain in the ass I only did a couple times a year when traveling to regattas.  Not something I would want to do every time I went sailing.

I once de-rigged it with the boat floating in flood waters in advance of a hurricane.

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12 hours ago, fastyacht said:
On 6/3/2018 at 12:53 AM, 420Friendly said:

Can a 505 mast be stepped by one person? I’m thinking about getting an older 505 but not sure if I’ll be able to step the mast alone.   63 years old and still fairly strong but definitely not young anymore. I trailer sail throughout the Finger Lakes in upstate NY. Any suggestions of a good boat for my situation? Just sold a Daysailer 2 that had a hinged mast. Boat was too slow. Have owned FJ, FD, M Scow, Laser 2 and others. 

Of course you can step a 505 alone. I do it all the time. HOWEVER you can fuck it up too. I did that once twice...

I used to step a Lightning mast solo, so I think a 5O5 ought to be do-able. The question is, where can you put your feet, and where do you need to step, and what kind of leverage do you need at various stages of the operation? You don't want to go out on that limb where your only two options are to do a face plant from the foredeck and/or drop the mast across your car.

Also, very serious here: LOOK FOR POWER LINES !!!! I know two sailors who have been killed by raising their masts right into a power line, or raising it and then pulling the boat into it with the mast up. I came really close one time, made the stupid assumption that there was plenty of room on the beach on the other side of some power lines over a cove. Always LOOK !!!!!!

FB- Doug

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I've found a key thing is to use a halyard (or another line?) to keep the butt of the mast pretty snug on the step so you don't have to worry about the mast butt moving away from the step in the critical part of raising the mast. That, or get a boat with a light carbon mast (International Canoe) or unstayed mast like a Finn or Aero.

+1 on always watching for power lines especially if you're launching in more "general access" public areas.....

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Thanks for the advice on stepping. I settled on a 470. Going to pick it up tomorrow. 

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