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jamesmalcolm

J/24 Adjustable Mast Step

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I've been looking for a J/24 adjustable mast step but haven't been able to find one. Anyone know where too look? APS, Harken, and Waterline systems don't have the, I've checked the class forums with no luck so far. Could I just set my current mast step in exactly the right spot so that I don't need the adjuster?

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3 hours ago, jamesmalcolm said:

... Could I just set my current mast step in exactly the right spot so that I don't need the adjuster?

Seriously, if you have to ask, the answer is yes. Use your sailmaker's tuning guide and drill a hole (or holes) for the base setting. Then, later, you can always add holes 1/2 to 1" back and forward for light and heavy conditions. What you are mostly adjusting is prebend.

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Before fiddling with the step, has the boat been measured to make sure that the mast height is correct and that it's centered in the boat athwartship, and the forestay is max length?  

Confirming the mast step is on the centerline is also a good starting move.  After that check the tuning guide matrix and set it up for the basics.  

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23 hours ago, Ned said:

Before fiddling with the step, has the boat been measured to make sure that the mast height is correct and that it's centered in the boat athwartship, and the forestay is max length?  

Confirming the mast step is on the centerline is also a good starting move.  After that check the tuning guide matrix and set it up for the basics.  

Both were measured at North Americans last year, forestay is maximum length and the mast is minimum length. I want to make sure the mast is centered side to side but I also am concerned about fore and aft. If it isn't perfectly in the center, I would likely have to unscrew it and drill new holes whether I was moving the old one or inserting a new adjustable one. The problem is, the adjustable ones are impossible to find. From what I've heard from other sailors and from YouTube is that the mast step is the hardest thing to put in the right place and an adjuster is usually the way to go, but if I can't find one I might have to learn to live without.

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Think you will need to check with your hardcore in class resource people.  

In the meantime make sure about the centered side to side part as it is possible the mast position is not on the centerline.  

The fore and aft adjustment is pre bend.  A challenging and advanced adjustment to be sure.  Check in with your class whiz kid.  Do not go into the forest alone. 

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When I was sailing 24's, we pretty much ran the mast in the exact spot recommended by the North tuning guide.  Pinned it there and didn't think about it.  We had plenty of speed in all conditions.  

That said, I know some people will adjust their mast 1/4-1/2 inch forward or backwards depending on conditions.  I never did it, so can't comment on how it influences performance.  I am sure it has some effect, but don't know how much an improvement it provides vs the base setting.  

Also, you are not supposed to change your mast position during a race (maybe during a regatta even?  I can't remember the exact rule) so the adjuster becomes another gadget that is seldom used.

If you find you do need to move the mast, you can run a rope around the mast base and to the winches.  Cleat one end, and grind on the other.  Loosen the shrouds a bit, and the mast will move.  Inconvenient compared to the adjuster turnbuckle gizmo, but it gets the job done.  

Tuning is important in 24's for sure.  But I noticed as long as you are pretty much at the specs recommended in the tuning guide, you will have good boat speed.  The most important thing is time in the boat.  That extra tenth of a knot you picked up with some vodoo tuning is quickly lost if you sail too heeled over, don't roll tack, and miss a shift.

 

My $.02

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On 5/20/2019 at 8:20 AM, sail611 said:

When I was sailing 24's, we pretty much ran the mast in the exact spot recommended by the North tuning guide.  Pinned it there and didn't think about it.  We had plenty of speed in all conditions.  

That said, I know some people will adjust their mast 1/4-1/2 inch forward or backwards depending on conditions.  I never did it, so can't comment on how it influences performance.  I am sure it has some effect, but don't know how much an improvement it provides vs the base setting.  

Also, you are not supposed to change your mast position during a race (maybe during a regatta even?  I can't remember the exact rule) so the adjuster becomes another gadget that is seldom used.

If you find you do need to move the mast, you can run a rope around the mast base and to the winches.  Cleat one end, and grind on the other.  Loosen the shrouds a bit, and the mast will move.  Inconvenient compared to the adjuster turnbuckle gizmo, but it gets the job done.  

Tuning is important in 24's for sure.  But I noticed as long as you are pretty much at the specs recommended in the tuning guide, you will have good boat speed.  The most important thing is time in the boat.  That extra tenth of a knot you picked up with some vodoo tuning is quickly lost if you sail too heeled over, don't roll tack, and miss a shift.

 

My $.02

Basically this is the best advice. If you do want to experiment to dial it in for your exact boat and rig, you can clamp the stock butt to the beam with vice grip imps and move until lightning quick wit rope, winches and persuasion.  Once it gets to the magic spot, drill holes and bolt it in. Done. Fyi, dont show up to a major with the vice grips as it isnt legal, but for small events and learning, most won't care.

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Another tip for the mast foot.  If you plan on moving it around a lot while trying to find the sweet spot, I found it really easy to pin the foot.  I just took some bolts and turned them on a lathe to remove the threads.  That was probably overkill as just using some bolts that fit the holes in the foot and i beam would be perfectly fine.  I also just ran two pins in the foot.  One in front on the port side and one in the back on the stbd side.  It did what it was supposed to do, prevented the mast from moving while sailing/racing.

Also, just thought of this, if you are sailing a previously owned/raced 24, I would be surprised if the previous owner(s) didn't mark the i beam at the fast setting.  I took an awl to my beam and pretty much gouged a line where the front of the foot should be, then just to be sure, I covered the rest of the i beam with sail repair tape, so that there was literally only one place to put the mast foot.

Mast foot placement is super critical.  Get it wrong by even a half inch, and you will be slower than everyone else, but again, the Tuning Guides all pretty much tell you to put it in the same place, and that location results in good boat speed.

 

Don't overthink it.  As you are learning the boat, you will do very well to set up spot on to the tuning guide, with one exception....I found that when using the PT2 gauge instead of the  Model B, I was faster if I set up one wind range lighter than the breeze (so if it was blowing 12kts steady, I would set the rig for 8kts, 16/13 on the PT2 guage) and was fast, could point high, and was not overpowered.  My boat had Dyform shrouds, and I heard that they were a bit "tighter" at the same number on the rig gauges compared to regular stainless shrouds.

When it comes to tuning, again, its important, but when you are learning the boat, its easy to take it too far.  I broke down my tuning into 4 wind ranges.  0-8, 8-12, 12-18, and 18+  Unlike some boats, I was usually into the blade jib around 15.  At least locally and regionally I found that in sustained 15kts + we were just as fast and did better going upwind.  We could point right with the boats still flying their genoas but didn't sideslip as much in the puffs.  Also, the blade doesn't beat up the crew as much so they are in better shape for the second spinnaker leg of the last race of the day.

Have fun.  24's are great boats and there is a wealth of information out there on how to make them go fast.

 

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