Stepping the Mast:  The First Time
This page was last updated on 29 November 2001

After the boat was launched, we towed her over next door to the yacht club, where I spent some time rigging up the spreaders and jumpers.  With this done, we moved on to the boatyard next door and tied up in the Travellift slip, where their boom truck was located.  We pretty much stepped back and let the riggers deal with things from that point--hooking up the crane cable and bridle, then lifting the mast to a vertical position, lowering it into the step, and attaching the stays.  I was a little nervous about the whole process, since all the rigging was new and I wasn't sure it would all fit properly.  However, everything came off without a hitch, although the backstay barely made it--with the headstay turnbuckle all the way open, and the backstay the same, we got the clevis pin through, and tightened it enough to pin the turnbuckles.  Phew!  Especially gratifying was that my headstay, which I had measured, cut and installed the roller furler, fit properly with no hitches.

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When we got over to the yard, the first thing they did was raise the mast up off the boat using their boom truck.  

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The mast nearly vertical.  I had the spreaders and everything all rigged beforehand, being careful to pull the spreader ends up as high as possible before securing the monel mousing and spreader boots.  As the shrouds are tensioned later, this tends to pull the spreader tips slightly downward, so it's good to start out with them as high as possible.

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Lowering the mast down onto the step.  I'm holding the headstay to keep it from dragging around on the deck and scratching the paint.  The uppers and lowers are about to be attached.

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Here we're struggling to get the backstay attached to the chainplate.  The headstay is already attached and its turnbuckle opened all the way--the new rigging will stretch, so this should be easier in the future.  We did get the backstay attached, obviously.

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The mast is successfully stepped!  

With the mast up, we moved back over to the yacht club for the rest of the afternoon.  The boat looked great with the stick up--much better than without.





With the mast up, I made it all official by installing the new ensign in the flagpole socket on the taffrail.






Mast Wiring Connections

I had heard about a great idea for dealing with the mast wires and the through-deck situation.  It involved a through hull fitting installed in the deck, to which was attached a hose that ran up into the mast above deck level; the wires run through the hose, through the through hull fitting, and into the boat.  It sounded great, and I decided to copy the idea.

I installed a plastic (acetic) 3/4" through hull fitting in the deck just aft of the mast beam, and sealed it well with polysulfide. With the mast still on the ground, I drilled a 1" hole about 10" above the base, through which the wires run.  With the mast stepped, I cut a length of nice white sanitation hose to the proper length, ran the wires through, and secured the hose to the through hull with a hose clamp, inserted the other end into the  mast hole, and sealed around it with silicone caulk.  A very neat installation, and it should be perfectly watertight.  It is also easy enough to dismantle every year when the mast comes out.


Inside the boat, I cut the wires to length and attached them to a terminal block that I screwed to the mast beam.  Then, I attached the wires I had run inside the boat earlier during the wiring to the other sides of the appropriate terminals, completing the circuits.  I connected the VHF antenna using two PL-259 connectors and a splice fitting in between, allowing for easy connection and disconnection in the future.

Soon, I'll construct some wooden trim to cover the wires and terminal block.  Details coming soon.

10/1/01:  OK, details aren't coming soon--the season has come and gone, and I never got around to this project.  It's on the list for the winter!  I'll post details as soon as the project is underway.  (See Small Projects)

Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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