This page was last updated on 15 November 2001
The first thing I had to do before considering
covering the boat was to raise the mast up higher off the deck. When I had
the mast unstepped earlier in the month, I had the yard lay it directly on top
of the pulpits. It fit, but the mast was so close to the companionway that
I couldn't remove the drop boards. Plus, because I intended to use the
mast as a ridgepole for my winter cover, I wanted it higher to give me more room
beneath, provide a steeper angle to help snow slide off, and to allow the cover
to better clear the sides of the raised part of the cabin trunk.
I had held off building any sort of mast
support structures before the boat was hauled because it would be so much easier
to build them when the boat was right in my backyard. About a week after
the boat arrived home, I got to work.
First, I measured the aft deck on the boat to
see how large I could make the structure, and to determine how high above the
deck I wanted the mast to end up. The size of the poop deck is the main
consideration, as there is plenty of room on the foredeck for an identical
structure. The size of the deck allowed me to build a basic A-type
structure with an overall base size of about 44" wide by 18"
deep. I decided that raising the mast so that it was about 40" above
the deck would be good.
Using a number of the old 2x4s that were once
part of my project shed, I began building one of the supports. Basically,
each support (forward and aft) is a kind of modified sawhorse, consisting of two
A-shaped sections connected with 18" cross bars. Laying the lumber
out on my garage floor, I determined that cutting the bottoms of the legs at an
18-degree angle would give me the height and open width at the top end that I
wanted. I cut two pieces of lumber at the prescribed angle, laid them out
again and checked the situation at what would become the top end. I wanted
a sort of cradle to be formed by the two pieces as they angled towards each
other, to give the mast somewhere to rest safely. Measuring the mast
earlier had told me that I wanted the opening to be at least 8" wide to let
the mast easily lie on its side. When the measurements came together as I
wanted, I cut the top ends of each board at the same 18-degree angle, giving
them a flat top.
Next, I cut two cross supports to held the two
side pieces of the A together. I cut each and at the appropriate angle to correspond
to the angle of the legs. The top cross support, which is the surface on
which the mast will bear, has its top edge 4" from the top of the side
supports. This creates a 4" deep cradle for the mast to sit in.
The lower support, located about a foot above the bottom, just keeps the legs
from spreading under load. I attached these pieces with screws.
Using the first pieces as a guide, I built three more structures just like the
first--since each mast support (fore and aft) will consist of two of these
pieces attached together.
When all the basic pieces were screwed
together, I cut a set of 18" cross pieces (4 for each support). Using
these pieces, I secured two of my A-shaped frames together to form a sturdy
sawhorse. Then, I padded the "mast cradle" with some soft
cloths, and covered the bottoms of the feet with more cloth to pad them against
Here are the completed structures in place
with the mast on top. Before covering the boat, I'll secure these in place
so they can't move. This will also be necessary before the boat is trucked
for launching again in the spring.