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I bought a Raider 16 last year, downsizing from a 24' trimaran that was getting to be too hard to manage going from trailer to sailing and back again. It has an unstayed mast that's a 22-foot carbon fiber tube. It's not particularly heavy, but it's really awkward to maneuver into the step.

My usual procedure is to get the mast off the top of my car,

move to alongside the boat,

pivot the mast vertical with the foot resting on the ground,

lift straight up,

straighten my arms until the mast is over the step, and

set the mast down in the step.

If there's much of a breeze, it's nearly impossible to keep the stick vertical.

One alternative I've tried is to have a small stepstool alongside the hull. While unstepping the mast yesterday, I put one foot in the boat with the other on the stool. Just after I lifted the mast, my leg cramped. I managed to keep the mast upright and didn't fall out of the boat, but it was a near thing.

 

Who has experience and/or ideas for making this process safer and easier?

Thanks for your help,

Dave

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I step a Raider mast alone. Aluminum, and I'm 75. But I've always stepped alone (FD, Contender, A  Cat, Windmill, etc. while standing in the boat. Mast butt on the ground, lift up and in.

Raider has a gadget at the deck that holds the mast up. Other boats I'd have the forestay on a lengthening lanyard led back to me to tighten to keep the mast up until shrouds are attached. On your first generation Raider you don't need to do that.

Only boats that I stepped from aside was the Laser, Sunfish, Aero and Melges 14.

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10 minutes ago, sailwriter said:

I step a Raider mast alone. Aluminum, and I'm 75. But I've always stepped alone (FD, Contender, A  Cat, Windmill, etc. while standing in the boat. Mast butt on the ground, lift up and in.

Raider has a gadget at the deck that holds the mast up. Other boats I'd have the forestay on a lengthening lanyard led back to me to tighten to keep the mast up until shrouds are attached. On your first generation Raider you don't need to do that.

Only boats that I stepped from aside was the Laser, Sunfish, Aero and Melges 14.

Stepping from in the boat rather than next to it should be easier. I've been wary of standing in the boat on the trailer, uncertain how well the hull is supported. I'll give that a try.

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Be careful and try to find a big, strong young guy to help. Dropped masts are hard to fix. Any chance you can store the boat somewhere with the mast up? Again, be careful and happy sailing.

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Dave, i was to call U but this is just as easy. Dex is on to an idea that works, The lower the boat is the better Just un hook the hitch from the car to the ground is one way. OR leave the  the  hitch ATTACHED and raise the mast from the rear. I'm familiar with the trailer U are using and is ok to stand in the boat walking the mast forward (raising the flag IwoJima) style.  Careful getting onto the trailer and make sure there is a clear path from the stern to mast step before walking the mast up. Some of the trailers supplied had the springs mounted under the axle and some were on top. Mounted below lowered the boat about 4" which will help out in any situation, even launching in shallower water. Take Daves tip on good padding on the bunks.

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4 hours ago, John D said:

Dave, i was to call U but this is just as easy. Dex is on to an idea that works, The lower the boat is the better Just un hook the hitch from the car to the ground is one way. OR leave the  the  hitch ATTACHED and raise the mast from the rear. I'm familiar with the trailer U are using and is ok to stand in the boat walking the mast forward (raising the flag IwoJima) style.  Careful getting onto the trailer and make sure there is a clear path from the stern to mast step before walking the mast up. Some of the trailers supplied had the springs mounted under the axle and some were on top. Mounted below lowered the boat about 4" which will help out in any situation, even launching in shallower water. Take Daves tip on good padding on the bunks.

Thanks, John.

I'll try raising the mast from inside the boat at my next opportunity. I'd need to keep hitched to the tow vehicle if I were to step in from the stern. Otherwise, I'm sure I'd sky the front of the trailer. I'd also plan to keep the tie-downs (at bow eye and across the boat a couple feet forward of the stern) in place until the mast is raised.

If there's a clear path, I'll try placing the foot in (or very nearly in) the step and pivot up from there.

 

My trailer has the springs on top of the axle tube. Is it advisable to swap them to the bottom? Looks to me like it would lower the boat by ~2" at the most unless I add spacers. The axle tube is 1-1/2" stock.

Next time I have the boat off the trailer, I'll take a closer look at the bunks. Mine are aluminum with carpet, transverse to the center line, and are curved to fit the hull. There's additional padding under the bow on the trailer frame.

IMG_2871u.jpg.7e05cf5b285ca6cddb9c306bee010ca8.jpg

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I suppose placing the mast butt near the step and raising like the iconic flag staff would work. But I don't like stepping aft. Hull less robust aft.

I simply stand in the boat just aft of the step, pick the mast up off the boat and allow the butt to swivel to the ground beside the trailer. Either side.

Then put the mast vertical and grab it, lifting straight up and over to the mast step.

Your carbon mast weighs half of mine. Been doing it that way since Noah. Dave Ellis

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Dave,

I'm glad you've been weighing in on this. I was hoping to garner advice from you and/or others with your level of experience. I was planning to try it as you suggested, though I was thinking I could pick it up, pivot it upright, and set it into the slot/step pretty much in one motion. If I have to stop at vertical to reposition my hands, I was hoping I could set the butt down next to my feet inside the boat.

 

Will let y'all know how it goes.....

5 hours ago, John D said:

Dave, i was to call U but this is just as easy. Dex is on to an idea that works, The lower the boat is the better Just un hook the hitch from the car to the ground is one way. OR leave the  the  hitch ATTACHED and raise the mast from the rear. I'm familiar with the trailer U are using and is ok to stand in the boat walking the mast forward (raising the flag IwoJima) style.  Careful getting onto the trailer and make sure there is a clear path from the stern to mast step before walking the mast up. Some of the trailers supplied had the springs mounted under the axle and some were on top. Mounted below lowered the boat about 4" which will help out in any situation, even launching in shallower water. Take Daves tip on good padding on the bunks.

Thanks, John,

I'll try inside-the-boat raising next chance I get. I expect I'd need to keep the trailer hitched to the tow vehicle if I'm contemplating walking from stern to center. I'd also plan to keep the tie-downs (at the bow eye and across the boat a couple feet forward of the stern.

My plan is to lay the mast on the boat, climb in, then lift the mast and place it in the step. If there's a clear path to placing the foot in the step first, then pivoting up into place, so much the better.

My trailer has the springs mounted on top of the axle. Would if be advisable to remove them and reinstall below the axle? It looks like I'd need to use a spacer that's similar to the one across the top of the spring, as there's a bolt or pin protruding up from the top of the spring that would not allow the spring to sit flush against the bottom of the axle.

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For what its worth, I've lost control of my 505 mast twice alone. Once it wrenched the deck up made a mess and I had to repair it all. The next time it did the same but not as badly.

Both times, I was being stupid and trying to be a lazy ass stepping from outside the boat. I knew better!

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I  place the mast  over the slot for  the mast,  then step in and  standing within six inches of the mast step place the mast... It can be done from outside the boat, but reaching across The hull to place it makes a long lever.. if there is the slightest breeze, no chance of holding it steady enough

 The mast is 23ft aluminium.

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OK, then. I hitched up the boat in my driveway to try out in-the-boat mast raising. I lay the mast on the deck and stern and climbed aboard. First issue is that there's stuff in the way of good footing. Just ahead of the daggerboard slot is a built-in cooler. On top of that is the spinnaker bag, whose mouth is tied down to small cleats on each side of the cockpit.

First order of business was to untie the port line and tie it to a small carabiner: now I can move the spinnaker and bag completely out of the way. Added benefit is that the cooler is now much more accessible. It also moves the spinnaker and its lines a bit to starboard and out of the path the mast needs to travel. It turns out the mast has to come into the step from nearly vertical: there's a (plastic? Delrin?) catch that latches the mast in place, and it makes the slot too narrow to simply place the nearly horizontal mast into the step and lever it up.

I stopped with the mast vertical with its foot resting near mine to clear away other lines that had moved, and keeping it vertical wasn't much of a problem.

Looks like a good solution overall.

Thanks, all, for your help and advice.
Dave

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18 minutes ago, sailwriter said:

Nice to be self sufficient, eh

 

Yes.  The idea that I might have bought the wrong boat had begun flickering around the dark corners of my brain. The more-rational part of myself said that it had to be easier than I was making it.

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