Sailing Texas Mast Stepping Videos

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Stepping the mast should be easy and safe. There are many ways to do this, from using a crane, hoist or gin pole on a large boat to just standing it up on a small one. If you are using a hinge or bolt to connect the mast to the mast step, there are two very good ideas.

One is to attach the jib halyard to the bow, so if you stop part way up you can support the mast while you untangle that shroud that hung on something

The other is to use "baby stays" or something to keep the mast from going side to side while you raise or lower it, especially if you must raise or lower in a crosswind. Many sailboats have a mast raising and lowering "system" and often include baby stays and/or a bipod or pole to give leverage when the mast is near horizontal.

It is highly recommended to point the boat into the wind and slightly downhill when raising or lowering the mast, assuming your mast has the top pointed to the back of the boat when down. Masts are long, and the wind can have a large effect, so pointing the boat into the wind helps keep the mast centered. Pointing the boat downhill means the mast is already part way up when you start, makes it easier, and when up is slightly forward with the backstay, shrouds and gravity helping to hold it while you tension the jib halyard to hold the mast in place while you attach the forestay.

Always take your time! Double and triple check everything as you go. Keep people in positions where it is impossible for the mast to come down on them, and keep cars and other things out of the way too. A falling mast has incredible force, and usually is bent or damaged in a fall. Too common is a sailor driving under a tree, power line, or other obstruction with his mast up, knocking the mast down. While this is most common on land, it is also possible to sail under a tree or bridge that is too low and do the same thing.

Stepping and unstepping masts

Flying Scot mast raising system, 120 pound Alison raises and lowers the mast by herself WITH a mast raising system, November, 2006, 21, 41 and 40 MB

Flying Scot, stepping the mast WITHOUT a mast raising system, 50 or 13 MB

Lowering the mast on a Hunter 23, 18 or 52 MB

Rhodes 22, another nice mast raising system, 3 videos, 7, 13 and 1.1 MB

Macgregor 26 M, nice mast raising/lowering system, 11 MB

Using a crane to step the mast on a 2005 Catalina 28 MKII

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