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Old 06-02-2011, 09:39   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Boat: 1970 Newport 30
Posts: 14
Mast Dropping on 30' Newport

Hello everyone,

I have a 1970 Newport 30 that I am preparing to haul out on a trailer in a couple weeks to do some regular bottom maintenance. Unfortunately, in order to clear all power lines on the short 2 minute drive from the ramp to the work place, I need to lower the mast. Fortunately, the mast is on a hinge (tabernacle??) I'll post some pictures first thing tomorrow.
I've done quite a bit of online research and am still uncertain on the best way to tackle what seems like a potentially hazardous procedure. I have looked at a whole bunch of designs for A-frame setups, but it seems like they are all built for boats 27 feet and under. I found a really good site that has detailed instructions to lower the mast on an Alberg 30, but the mast on that boat is much smaller than the Newport.
Does any one have a proven technique for a 30 foot boat? I heard that hinged mast steps on Newport 30s aren't too rare. Anyone out there done have the same set up? And what exactly is the height of the mast on a 1970 Newport 30?
I feel fully capable of taking on any project on my boat with just a little bit of research and trial and error. But this one is really intimidating me. It's not really a trial and error sort of job, it can cause hundreds(maybe thousands?) of dollars in damage and set me back weeks or months if it fails and not to mention myself or anyone helping can be seriously hurt. Combine that with my limited grasp of the physics of a sailboat's rigging and you have a task that seems to me close to impossible.

Any advice, thoughts, pictures, diagrams or measurements would be greatly appreciated. I will keep everyone posted on the progress. I hope to have the mast off and boat ready to pull out by President's Day weekend...
FEBRUARY 21!! Just about two weeks.

Thanks to everyone for looking, and sorry about the super long post.


PS: the boat is on a private dock with plenty of space all around and can even be motored up along side a nice long case that opens the door to other possible setups.

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Old 06-02-2011, 10:22   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Los Angeles Harbor
Boat: Newport 30
Posts: 94

I have a '74 Newport 30 MKII w/a tabernacled mast. The previous owner sent me the procedure for lowering/raising the 'stick', but I have not attempted to do, nor do I have any immediate plans to do so. When/if that task is necessitated, my plan is to have the mast pulled via crane, but that may not be an option for you.

For what it's worth, I will cut & paste his email, below. BTW, I don't think he did this on a regular basis, which was the reason for the not inconsiderable investment of time & labor to tabernacle the mast.

PO's email:

1) Put a bungee cord or rope on the aft side of the roller furling (my note - so the furler doesn't fall in the water)
attached to the bow pulpit.
2) fasten a cable or rope from the shroud to the aft end of the boom on both sides, this will prevent the boom from falling side to side, there may be a cable on board with a couple snap shackles, (can't remember if I left it on board.)
3) In the stern of the cockpit there is one hook on each side, you will need to fasten a rope and block system (we used a 5 to 1 setup with a couple harken mainsheet blocks) and hook the other end to the tang on the boom. I did not leave this on the boat as I am using the blocks for something else now. You could also use a 12v trailer winch
and make an electric version (the mast is very heavy)
(my emphasis)
4) once you have the weight on the pully system and everything is secure, loosen the back stay and release the pin and begin to lower the mast.

Sorry I don't have any pics or diagrams...Good luck.

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Old 06-02-2011, 10:29   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,842
Jerry you left out the detail of attaching main halyard to boom and making sure it's secure.

This procedure sounds like any small thing omitted or going wrong is going to have serious consequences.

IMHO -- Best tool for this is your checkbook. Hire a crane. Don't be sorry.

BTW -- I have done this before using a factory setup on my Dragonfly 920 and because of the extra beam it was much more stable than it would be with a monohull. Things can get "off" to the side and forces involved make the tolerance for error small. Leverage makes for large forces and if a fitting breaks there could be serious damage or injury. Note the bow is down in the image,and this is with a carbon-fiber mast that can be carried by one person. The mast and boom have guys rigged to the amas (floats).

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Old 06-02-2011, 11:08   #4
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Bath , North Carolina
Boat: kadey krogan 38 + Morgan 33 Phantom ,
Posts: 24
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I would bite the bullet and hire a crane to do the mast , You can find a tree guy with a capable lift and it could save on some cost vs a large crane . its quite simple and would not take much time. Prep before hand so you will be ready to pull the pins when he is hooked up. That way the crane guy is not standing around making money.
You also could find others that need service and combine jobs for some savings as well.

If you try to do on your own I would first check any load bearing components .If you are using stays or halyards check carefully. if your halyard is older than a couple of years replace it before using . I have used bridges as a component to drop a mast as well as another mast from a sideto boat as well as fore and aft boat . If it goes wrong you endanger everything - people and equipment.

THe bridge thing worked quite well and it is harder to get hit on the head when you are over top of the mast . I attached a block with a chain directly to the bridge and wrapped the line several times to the bridge for strain relief . You could also bring it back to the boat and use the winches. If you use external help be sure your boat is very secure to something as the loads will attempt to move the vessel and you want the mast to move and not the boat. The mast itself is not that heavy but it can exert extreme loads .

You also can build an A frame with a block system on top it only needs to be a bit higher than the spreaders in order to work. The legs need to be secure and the frame secure fore and aft so you do not have movement.

It's better to spend some money and do it safe. I have had several get away from me - not pretty . Check the tabbernacle - I have had several boats that the shoe (with the mast attached) pulled or shifted from the boat from rusted bolts .

I hope this gives you some Ideas on how drop it .
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Old 07-02-2011, 15:25   #5
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I did this with Bill Lee (of Santa Cruz Fame). We attached guys to each side of the boom one for the starboard side and another for the port side. These guys were led to blocks o the toerails and then to winches. One person watched each guy. The main halyard ran thru a block on the end of the boom and then to an attachment point on the stern (I don't remember where) From there all we did was crank up the main halyard. As the mast went up the people running the guys had to adjust tension on the guys but it went up easy and once we had it up over half way the shrouds kept the mast in position from side to side. My father used to own a Newport 30 on the Bay. Great boats. The masts are pretty big but not impossible to raise and lower with a little help.
Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
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