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Old 16-12-2009, 15:08   #1
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Lifting Mast - Advice Please

Lifting mast.
Hi everyone I am getting ready to remove the mast it is approx 55 ft aluminum.
8 to 9 “oval shape, 2 self tailing winches & 4 halyards. I will be lifting from a 70 foot crane hook attached via bowline loop at approx. 40 feet. This is a 5/8”halyard for the Main sail. Held close to mast at 38 foot level just below 2ed spreader bars by a separate 5/8” loop around the mast to prevent mast from falling over. The halyard will continue down to base of mast where it will be secured below the winches.
My question is how heavy is an average mast with all the (8) ¼” ,(2) 5/16 (1) 3/8 forestay SS wire (11) SS turn buckles and (1)roller furling
Is this weight too much for halyard or is this normal procedure. I am out on the hard away from any marina so crane operator will have to rely on me for instructions, as I do not expect he has ever lifted a mast, (Maybe light pools etc)
Any advice appreciated

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Old 16-12-2009, 15:53   #2
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Tough one! There must be some sailor out there who knows. Good luck,

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Old 16-12-2009, 16:09   #3
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Ok I'll take a stab at it. I am guessing your rig is about 1000 lbs. It is about the same size as my mast and I did mine similar to what you are doing. I would use a webbed lifting strap rather than a halyard. I don't trust knots as much for this type of thing. Balance should be good but you will know when you start to pick it up, it should balance pretty well and you should be able to push the bottom down with one hand. Don't be afraid to set it back down to reset. Trust the crane operator but if you have a gut feeling he is wrong follow your gut. Pad the hook on the crane end so it will not mess up the mast as it stands upright. Make sure your lines and rigging are all straight first hard to straighten out in the air. above all be careful and take your time this is not something you want to rush.

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Old 16-12-2009, 17:08   #4
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I agree that a web strap is normally used under the spreaders. I don't think the weight will be as much as 1000 lbs. Three of us carried my 55 ft mast with the forestay and furler attached off the truck onto the saw horses.

If the mast has been on the boat for a while, I would spray the mast step with PB Blaster a few times a couple of days before you try to remove it. It is fairly common to have masts that have not been removed in a long time to be stuck and the whole boat will sometimes lift before the mast comes loose. Have a sawzall ready just in case it needs to be cut off. However, if the mast has been removed yearly, it should come off pretty easy.

Good luck

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Old 16-12-2009, 18:02   #5
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Mast will be closer to 500 lbs than 1000, but you may need to pull more than 1000 lbs to break it loose from the step. The 5/8 line is fine-- make one bowline loop around the mast above the balance point, and another bowline loop on the tail to hook on the crane, then secure the bottom to the gooseneck, vang or other heavy fitting. I typically lift from the aft side of the mast. I would let the bottom fitting rather than the spreaders take the lifting load. If the mast doesn't pop out, be patient, and have the crane operator wiggle it a bit from side to side. As mentioned, pad the hook, and be prepared to put a pad under the butt of the mast when the crane starts to lay it down.
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Old 16-12-2009, 18:28   #6
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The hard part is determining the balance point. You definitely do not want it to be drastically top heavy. Attach two lengths of line to the bottom of the mast to be used by you and an assistant to control the mast without having to put your selves next to or under it while moving it away from the boat. Make a note of the ideal lifting spot for future reference. If you are way off, after you get it down move the lifting rope/sling and have the crane operator lift slightly to test the balance so you will know next time.
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Old 17-12-2009, 08:36   #7
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Thanks everyone for your valued advice. It is appreciated. I will most likely lift the mast after the Holidays.
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Old 17-12-2009, 10:02   #8
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Around 500 to 600 lbs.

I can tell you how not to do it..
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"Go simple, go large!".

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Old 17-12-2009, 12:04   #9
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Thanks but mine is a deck step so I hope It will not look like this. One thing I am not sure of is should I expect to see quick disconnecters for wires at the bottom of mast when I lift up a foot or two. 5,6. wires below lead into deck support post so I am guessing the disconnect are above???

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