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Stepping Mast

Dear Woody,

Most of you with wooden mast know they are a little trickier to step then aluminum ones. Here are a couple of tricks I have learned.

  1. I have found that taking advantage of elevated docks helps a lot especially where there are 8' or better tides. Wait for low tide, position the boat under the pier and drop the mast in from above. Throw a few blocks in at the mast partner, attach the forestay and the lower shrouds and you are all set. Reposition the boat along the float away from the pier and finish the rigging.

  2. If you are stepping from land. Attach a couple of long lines (spinnaker guy/sheets work fine) to the main halyard. Pull the main halyard to the top of the mast and cleat it. Then attach a short line to the back stay ( its easier then holding the wire). You now have three lines all attached near the top of the mast (the two guys and the backstay). Get three folks on each of these lines and spread out about 120 degrees apart. Their job is to keep the mast vertical. Walk the mast to a vertical position next to the one side near the upper shroud. With your three folks holding the mast vertical, lift the mast on to the deck and place it on a towel. Get on the deck and lower the mast into the mast partner. This technique works great when your trying to step the mast in windy conditions.

Happy sailing,
Carlton (Fred) Simmons
TTE Technology Inc.

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