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Old 04-05-2008, 00:37   #1
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I want to install Mast Steps

I found last season that I wanted to do some maintenance on the masthead, like replace the light, adjust the wind indicator, lube the sail track and sheaves. I was detered from the task do to inexperience and lack additional of dock muscle. I've since read up on the subject, aquired a climbing harness, a large bag to create a counter balance, a climbing strap and purchased 16 mast steps to mount.
I need some expertise on installing the steps (the steps are stainless steel Seadogs and my mast is a TP carbon fiber) as I have no reference or manual. My questions: how far to space them? do they alternate side to side or are they matched up tandem? any special adhesives or screw mount applications? predrill the holes? how long of a screw? Is there any special maintenance or spring calibration necessary on the steps? I dont even know the total height of the mast. Any current or former Freedom 25 owners out there who may know that dimension?
I could really use your seasoned inputs so I can do it right the first time!
Thanks,
Randy
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Old 04-05-2008, 05:54   #2
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To estimate the height of the mast. Tie a string to your halyard, haul it to the mast head, mark the string at the base of the mast. Lower it, untie it, and measure the string.

Mast steps are usually mounted staggered on alternate side of the mast.

Place them about as far apart as you are comfortable stepping up. Mine are almost too far apart for my tired old knees so are probably about right.

On my aluminum mast, I added a step and I drilled and tapped the mast and installed a stainless screw. It didn't need to be much longer than the combined thickness of the step mounting flange and wall thickness of the mast. In composite I would add some epoxy in both the tapped hole and beneath the mounting flanges of the steps. Of course, that might preclude ever removing them.

George
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Old 04-05-2008, 06:22   #3
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Hi, I fitted steps to my mast ( 15m ) and spaced them 400mm apart or and easier way form tread to tread on the same side of the mast 800mm apart. It was easier to start under the spreaders and work down as it gave a good step when at the spreaders as it will start to get tight as the shrouds ( Lowers/intermediates ) start to narrow the gap. Use Duralac or similar to prevent dissimalar metal contact between bolts/riverts etc. at the top of the mast it will make it easier the work if the last step is at a position that gives you a mast top at chest high, at this spacing it makes it a bit easier the work around the forestay/ back stay.
It is a long way down so make sure you are allways attached.
Happy steps.
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Old 04-05-2008, 08:23   #4
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As neilsen says, put the topmost step in a confortable position to work.

Make it double, I mean one each side of the mast at the same height, as to allow you to step with both feet firmly. I'll suggest you also to fix a strong pad eye to the top of the mast where to fix a short leader from your harness.

This way you'll be working confortably with both hands free.
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Old 04-05-2008, 08:26   #5
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Thank you Sunspot and neilsen for your comments and suggestions. I put my questions out to the Freedom owners group on Yahoo and was given 5 very convincing points of view to not install the steps. In summary they were:
1. Would comprise integrity of the carbon fiber mast. 2. Increase windage.
3. Unsightly aestheticly. 4. May create snarls underway. 5. Would most likely compromise resale price or be a complete deal breaker. So I have decided to scrap the project and sell or find alternative use for the hardware. Anyone interested in 16 New Seadog stainless steel mast steps at 35% off regular price?
Regards,
Randy
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:02   #6
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Originally Posted by jjt View Post
As neilsen says, put the topmost step in a confortable position to work.

Make it double, I mean one each side of the mast at the same height, as to allow you to step with both feet firmly. I'll suggest you also to fix a strong pad eye to the top of the mast where to fix a short leader from your harness.

This way you'll be working confortably with both hands free.
Thanks jjt, i left out the bit about side by side steps at top not thinking past the task.
I also thread a new spinaker halyard to hoist a block and tackle to the top of the mast whilst working at different heights as it is easier to work sitting down.
And yes make sure you are attached.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:03   #7
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Originally Posted by Slangevar48 View Post
So I have decided to scrap the project and sell or find alternative use for the hardware. Anyone interested in 16 New Seadog stainless steel mast steps at 35% off regular price?
Regards,
Randy
Randy,

Are they the folding model? I might be interested...
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Old 06-05-2008, 15:11   #8
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Yes, they are exactly those at the link you sent

However, I am mistaken, they are not stainless steel.
They are the chrome plated Brass model.
They will all fit in the USPS flat Rate shipping box.
I have a PayPal account if you think you are interested.
Randy
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Old 06-05-2008, 21:43   #9
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35% off MSRP? PM me with the details. I'll clear it with the Admiral!

In a few years, the chrome-plated brass will match my chrome-plated cleats and stanchion braces nicely!
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:44   #10
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Sorry if this has already been posted, but I found this discussion very informative:

Climbing The Mast
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:53   #11
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Fasteners for chrome-plated brass...

Ok - so for best protection from electrolysis corrosion, what's the best fastener for chrome-plated brass (or is it bronze?) on an aluminum mast? Probably not stainless rivets (unless coated with Tef-gel?), but what about aluminum (not exceedingly strong), or monel?
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:23   #12
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I think you will need to place at least a 1/32 isolation pad that extended about a 1/8" beyond the contact area of rigging (to margin against salt build-up) and mast and insert the rivet through a nylon sleeve. and I beleive the stainless rivet to be a better choice.
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