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Lowering and Raising mast

Posted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:56 pm
by hvaldezz
Hello again. I have a '96 Mac 26X with a mast raising kit and furler. On the furler, I have a 150 genoa. I need help on what is the best way to lower the mast with the furler on there.

In the past, it's taken us at least 3 people (really like to use 4). We have one at the mast to guide and support it down, one at the crank, one holding the furler so it won't twist the mast when lowering. Another is really needed to unhook the pin.

How do others do it? I need to work on the light, so I obviously have to drop the mast. While I'm changing the bulb, I'm going to try to re-run new wiring as the original is getting a little weathered.

Help. What's the best way to do this? I definitely would not attempt it on the water. By the way, the furler with genoa attached is extremely heavy and with the UV protection sewn on, well it's even that much more weight on it.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Tending the furler during mast raising / lowering

Posted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 9:22 pm
by Rich Plumb
I'm always alone when rigging and unrigging. My technique is, to bundle the furler drum in a towel to protect it, and use a bungie cord around the towel to hold it in place. I then lay the drum on the dock next to the boat so that it's weight is not on the spreaders. This way I can get the mast up or down without the weight of the headsail, trying to turn the mast one way or the other. This is really a big deal when trying to insert the bolt at the mast step prior to raising. The drum and headsail usually stay on the dock, and move as the mast goes up or down, without going in the drink. Best way I've found.

Rich Plumb "Plumb Crazy"
Covington, WA

mast lowering

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:18 am
Been doing this many times by my self,,don,t you have the two short side stays that anchor the mast from going sideways,,these prevent the mast from going crash on you,,with the lines properly rigged i can lower the whole thing with one hand on the line and holding the CDI head. do you need a copy of the book showing how to rigg this?

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:46 pm
by Dimitri-2000X-Tampa
I raise and lower my mast singlehandedly on the water using the mast raising system. I cut a piece out of a milk jug so that the furler can fit inside, and then tie that on with a piece of rope, then attach a long bungie from the furler to the bow pulpit which keeps the furler from falling in the water or scratching the deck. If I adjust it just right, I can keep the furler suspended the whole time the mast is going up or down. The baby stays should have a bit of slack in them when the mast is up, they will be fairly tight when the mast is down. And make sure they are even too. Make sure there is a straight path from the winch to the mast raising tackle also. If you put a lot of tension on the raising tackle, its pretty easy to pin the forestay. This means starting with the gin pole less than vertical so you can get the monster pull on it when everything stretches. I have the 150 genoa with uv cover and it would be hard to handle that extra weight without the system. I think a lot of people who trailer a lot don't even bother with furlers for that reason...but I love the convenience myself.

I lowered the mast at the dock a couple months ago to do some masttop work. I turned the boat stern-to the dock with the engine down and that swung the tip of the mast over the dock. After tieing it securely in that position, I was able to work on the mast top with a small stepladder.

Mast raising mod

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:51 pm
by Erik Hardtle
Check out my modification on the old mast raising kit... It makes it easy to raise the mast while holding the furler drum. Click on the WWW at the bottom to check out the mods at my website. I have had two other people do this mod and have found it to be easier than the origional.

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 11:05 pm
by Duane Dunn, Allegro
Sounds to me like you are missing the baby stays. With them raising or lowering is a easy one person job using the mast raising gear on my '96 26X although we usually have two .

Lowering alone consists of:

Remove the boom

Hooking up the pole to the jib halyard and raising tackle, run to starboard winch and crank in some tension. Take the tail back to the aft starboard cleat and cleat it there.

Go forward to headstay, and remove pin.

Put a bungee around the mast and furler as high up as you can reach. If desired wrap the drum in something to protect the hull as it will slide around but it won't go far with the bungee in place.

Go back and uncleat the tail. Begin to slide the line over the winch. You may need to give a tug on the backstay to get the mast started down. never let go of the tail of the mast raising line. Always cleat it off if you have to go and tend to something.

The mast will begin to pivot back and usually falls off to one side or the other. It won't go far though because the baby stays keep it quite centered. If it is falling to far to the side your baby stays should be tighter. The correct tension is to have all the slack removed from the baby stays when the mast is down in the crutch and bolted at the step. Don't get them to tight or it is hard to get the bolt at the step in when raising.

Just keep lowering. stop just above the crutch and give the mast a shove to whichever side it needs to go to line up and then lower it onto the roller.

Release and lower the pole to the deck. Remove the step bolt and roll the mast forward to the bow pulpit bracket. The only real hassel is getting the spreaders under the life lines. This is easy with two but if I was always alone I would want a pelican hook on one or both lifelines so I can release them. One release hook is enough as it's easy to tuck the spreader under one lifeline alone. With out a release you have to hold the mast out to one side while your helper tucks one spreader under then you have to step over the mast while not letting it rest on the lifelines and repeat the tuck on the other side.

Once the spreaders are under put the mast in the bracket and secure with the bolt from the step.

Tie up and secure everything and off you go.

Posted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:27 am
by Sloop John B
Only thing I can add to good advice above is how I handle the furler weight. If the furler is off to one side on the spreaders, it practically takes two people to wrestle with the thing to get the bolt in or out. If its completely off to the side like you have it, one person might handle it.

My furler is bungied tight along the mast. The problem comes when the mast is slid forward or back and the part where the spreaders are sticking out has to cross or ride over the pedestal/mast crutch (I think your crutch may be different).

The furler is bungied tight to the mast where the spreaders intersect. This keeps its weight centered. This bungie does not go under the mast (which would interfere with it sliding over the crutch). With a normal three foot bungie cord, open the hooks a bit to allow them to grab a spreader arm. The bungie then runs from the spreader up over the furler, around the opposite spreader and back up and over, and so on until its short and hooks on to a spreader either side.

The drum is wrapped in a towel and has to be checked on during the process. The furling line has to be attended to or prepared to make sure it doesnt interfere and that it assists in controlling the drum. Duanes bungee between the drum and pulpit is something I will add.

I think most people do this instinctively, but I had to have my mate say, "Hey, try it this way."

Raising and Lowering mast

Posted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:12 am
by hvaldezz
Thank you all for the advice on raising and lowering. More than anything, I haven't been using the baby stays which will solve most of the problems. With regard to covering the drum, definitely will do that as it can scratch a lot of things on the way up and down.

Once again, thank you very much for the advice. I've been a member of the board for years but my 26X has had to wait in storage because of other personal problems, but now am ready again.


Posted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:23 am
by Dimitri-2000X-Tampa
Go back and uncleat the tail. Begin to slide the line over the winch. You may need to give a tug on the backstay to get the mast started down. never let go of the tail of the mast raising line. Always cleat it off if you have to go and tend to something.
Duane, I take it you don't trust the cam cleats. I don't worry about it too much unless the mast is hovering a foot or two above the crutch in which case, there is a lot of tension on the raising line and then I put an extra couple half hitchs on the winch after it is stuck in the cam cleat. When the mast is close to vertical, there really isn't much tension on the line.

Btw, I learned a new trick entirely by accident. My furler line got tangled up at the end of the gin pole once, about 6 feet from the furler. The other side got tangled up on the furler further up. When my mast came down, what I ended up with was a beautiful cradle supporting the whole furler up off of the deck. Think of the rope in a nice Christmas tree shape, with the top of the tree attached to the end of the gin pole (high side with the mast down), one lower end of the tree attached right at the furler, and the other end of tree base (rope) is attached further up the furler, a few feet further aft from the gin pole. What you end up with is a perfect upside-down V shape that supports the furler. Although this is not of much use when you are about to put the mast into trailering position, it does come in very handy when you are leaving the mast attached to the hinge and just laying down in the crutch (something that I do quite a bit).

Posted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:35 am
by Bill at BOATS 4 SAIL
I also tie off the mast raising line to the aft starboard mooring cleat.
I had the mast raising line in the canmcleat, was going on deck for some reason and accidentally kicked kicked it out of the camcleat.

Posted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:23 am
by Duane Dunn, Allegro
It was well drilled into me by my dealer to never trust the cam cleat with the raising line. They have seen far to many masts fall when the line is snagged walking by just as Bill describes. I cleat at the stern every time I need to release the line to do something. This is particularly true going up. Half the time a stay will snag on something when the mast is at a 45 degree angle. There is a lot of load on the line at that time and a long way for it to fall down on your head as you walk around. I think you'll find using the cleat is quicker that tieing and untieing half hitches.

I didn't mention it because we were talking about the single handed process, but when there are two of us my wife handles the furler / pinning the headstay duties. She does this from the ground standing on the trailer tounge. She just pulls on the furling line going both up and down keeping the drum off the deck. I've also heard you can get the same effect by putting a bungee hook in the drum fitting and stretching it to the bow pulpit mast bracket. As the mast goes up or down the bungee takes up the slak and keeps the drum off the deck.

Posted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:47 am
by Tony D-26X_SusieQ
Good advice about tying the line off when raising and/or lowering the mast. I keep my boat at a marina with the mast up most of the time so I don't rase or lower the mast much. I will definately keep this in mind the next time I have to drop the mast. Thanks! :D

Foiling the Furler Drum

Posted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 8:08 pm
by Jack O'Brien
The bungee cord from pulpit to furler drum works well. So does V8 juice.

The bottom 5.5 inches of a plastic 64-ounce container of V8 vegetable juice fits perfectly over the drum and is ridged so it holds on tight. You would almost think it was designed by CDI to spare your deck. You can stow the bungee cord in it when through.