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Old 18-07-2016, 10:02   #1
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Stepping/unstepping the mast

I'm planning a trip southeast-bound on the Gulf Coast ICW, and have a few low bridges to go under, so it looks like I will need to un-step my mast and lash it to the deck.

Things get a bit complicated as the ICW is not contiguous - there's a 130 nm gap from Carrabelle, FL to Clearwater, FL, and it seems prudent to wait for a weather window and sail it. So it looks like I might have to un-step and re-step my stick MULTIPLE times!!

My question: how much time/money/hassle is involved in said process? (Obviously, this is my first experience doing this.) My mast, btw, is 55 ft above the waterline. Can any old garden-variety marina do it, or is this a really specialized skill?
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Old 18-07-2016, 10:17   #2
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Re: Stepping/unstepping the mast

So it's maybe a 40 ft boat? It's not really that simple, not something you will want to do multiple times. Not sure of current rates, but $250 wouldn't surprise me. It was $150 for a quick removal and return with the boat in the yard 15 years ago. Trouble is they usually quote unstopping and stepping as one price (I think) and you will be moving on. Unrigging, disconnecting wires at the base of the mast etc get complicated. Is yours keel stepped? Do you have roller furling? Radar?
Where are you trying to get to?
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Old 18-07-2016, 10:28   #3
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Re: Stepping/unstepping the mast

why unstep mast--we did it in a 37 seidelmann. was ok . bridges are 55-65 ft. you taller?? consider boat balls-- see youtube video of same name. there are anchorages to sit in while waiting passages in weather--if you see tugs n tows sitting tied to something--- they are telling you to wait. it will be ugly for them it will be nastier than hell for you. verdad. btdt. from sanibel to ueseppa is a lovely icw adventure. beautiful. we fit fine. no sweat.
destin we avoided as we thought we were too tall. go inside between port st joe and appalach--awesome --depth is 6 ft exactly. we were 4.5 depth and 55 tall. white city is perfect place to weather a storm of any intensity. there is a shorter bridge north ? of appalach but there is a man with barrels he fills with water to heel the boat to fit under that bridge.
there are more ways to accomplish the apparently impossible than you realize from a desk planning station and computer. .
what is your mast height and your depth??? these are unknowns to the folks from whom you are asking info and assistance.
bridge heights are included in charts as info right there on the face not have to look everywhere for that info. learn your needs -- then figgerout whether you need low tide or can get by with passing under during flood tide or what kindsa geometrical ideas you need to effect prior to snapping off your vhf antenna under some damnbridge. .
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Old 18-07-2016, 10:44   #4
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Re: Stepping/unstepping the mast

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Old 18-07-2016, 11:53   #5
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Re: Stepping/unstepping the mast

Hmmm - water-filled balls to induce heel. Interesting! I will google that up, get some more info.

Cheechako - I'm trying to get to Florida Atlantic coast, and from there, to the Bahamas. Looking closely at that Lake Okeechobie canal ...
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Old 18-07-2016, 12:15   #6
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Re: Stepping/unstepping the mast

You must need to go to the Atlantic coast for something? Otherwise, just sail to the Keys and cross the stream from there.... :>)
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Old 18-07-2016, 12:20   #7
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Re: Stepping/unstepping the mast

If u r willing to sail the Atlantic, why not the GOM?
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Old 18-07-2016, 14:43   #8
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Re: Stepping/unstepping the mast

You didn't name a starting point, but certainly from Mobile to Carrabelle to Clearwater, to Ft Myers then across the Ockeechobee to Stuart you face inconvenience, not the need to actually remove your mast. All the fixed bridges are 63' or better. On the other hand, waiting for all those lift bridges made an off-shore cruiser out of my wife. The worst strip I know of in the ICW is off your route - Lake Worth to Miami has 29 life bridges that our 28' tall trawler won't go under, a total pain. We've done the Carrabelle - Stuart run to get to the east coast several times in the company of boats your size, but also skipped it all and gone around Florida with Key West as the stopping point. The lift bridges and locks are tiresome, but not difficult.

If for some reason you need a yard in route, Carrabelle's DS Marine can handle any problem you've got at a reasonable price. We've also got cold beer and a covered patio at C Quarters Marina if you want to wait for a weather window - it's where the Loopers hang out before making the jump to Clearwater.
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Old 18-07-2016, 16:34   #9
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Re: Stepping/unstepping the mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post
You didn't name a starting point, but certainly from Mobile to Carrabelle to Clearwater, to Ft Myers then across the Ockeechobee to Stuart you face inconvenience, not the need to actually remove your mast. All the fixed bridges are 63' or better. -----
Controlling height across the Okeechobee Waterway is 49", depending on water levels.
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Old 19-07-2016, 08:32   #10
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Re: Stepping/unstepping the mast

I apologize. My wife recalls that there is one lift bridge - the railroad bridge at the Mayaca Lock - that is indeed 49', necessitating heeling for an up to 55' mast. The lake is high this summer, so I don't think you get any leeway. It might be more fun to head for the Keys than to fight with marginal situations (several of the bridges only promise 55').
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Old 20-07-2016, 13:36   #11
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