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Old 17-08-2011, 11:48   #1
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Portable Mast-Raising and -Lowering Device

Hi All,

I did a search on this, but did not see a lot of information, and wanted to know if anyone is using some kind of setup to raise and lower their mast? My boat is a 35ft catamaran, with a 17ft. beam. The mast, I believe, is 42ft. off the deck, and is deck stepped. I'm looking for a way to lower and raise it for purposes of going under low bridges. Oh, and mine has an in-mast furler, if that would make any difference.
Which brings up one question right now. And that is, how to make sure the mast is completely straight when it's raised so as to avoid binding the furler?

Thanks for any and all input....Jeff
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Old 26-08-2011, 13:02   #2
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Re: Portable Mast Raising and Lowering Device

I'm really surprised that no one has responded to this thread. Doesn't anyone else have to deal with bridges, or just want an easy way of lowering their mast without having to pay a crane? I have seen a few setups on other websites, but was curious about what anyone on this site might have to say.
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Old 26-08-2011, 13:08   #3
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Re: Portable Mast Raising and Lowering Device

Is your deck stepped mast on a tabernacle or hinged base? If it isn't then that is probably the solution to your problem. Our W32 has a hinged mast along with instructions for raising and lowering without a crane.

Not sure about the issues specific to your boat, but others are doing it!
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Old 26-08-2011, 13:15   #4
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Re: Portable Mast Raising and Lowering Device

JSI in Fla makes unique mast parts.

http://www.youtube.com/v/1cY02v1FyC4...ram%3E%3Cparam

Sailboat masts and booms by the Professionals at JSI BOB
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Old 26-08-2011, 13:25   #5
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Re: Portable Mast Raising and Lowering Device

I've used a mast raising system on our old boat a MacGregor 26M and I have seen photos of a Seawind 1000 that had made there own mast raising system to also go under bridges in CA., this one had the mast laying foward to avoid hitting the boat. I hope this helps.
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Old 26-08-2011, 14:40   #6
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Re: Portable Mast Raising and Lowering Device

We had a MacGregor 26 and raising and lowering the mast was done by hand without much effort. Raising and lowering a 40 foot mast is no way the same. Aside from raising it up and down, it needs to be controlled from side to side, even in a tabernacle. Most sailboaters deal with this by only transiting bridges that can open for them without taking down the mast. Chuck
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Old 26-08-2011, 18:53   #7
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Re: Portable Mast-Raising and -Lowering Device

FWIW, there are hundreds of boats on the Swan river in Perth that raise and lower their masts every weekend to go under bridges, so yes, it can be done but is does take some initial investment to get the mechanics of it right.

In essence, you need:

A hinged mast with the hinge pin as low as possible (just above the cabin).

An A frame, normally two spinnaker poles, with the pointy end of the A attached to the bottom of the forestay and the legs attached to pivot points on the deck somewhere near where the shrouds are.

A block and tackle set up between the bottom of the forestay and the stem head.

And most importantly, the cap shroud lower attachment has to have a solid section between the deck attachment point and the rigging screw. The height and the fore/aft positioning of this section is critical. It must ensure that the clevis pins on the lower end of the cap shroud rigging screws are the same height as the mast hinge pin and also that the fore/aft location is the same as the mast hinge pin. This means as the mast tilts back, the tension on both cap shrouds are maintained thus preventing (to a reasonable degree), any sideways movement of the mast as it is lowered. Normally this solid cap shroud extension is stayed or braced temporarily while lowering or raising the mast.

The method is then set up the gear, detach the forestay from the stemhead, remove any lower forward shrouds, pull back on the backstay until the mast tilts back and control the movement with the tackle attached to the forestay / A frame point and stemhead. As the mast goes back, the A frame pivots up.

To raise the mast, haul on the tackle, the A frame pivots down and the mast raises up. Reattach the rigging and remove the gear.

If you say it fast, it seems pretty easy!

Hope this helps.
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Old 27-08-2011, 00:01   #8
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Re: Portable Mast-Raising and -Lowering Device

I recently saw a 35'+ catamaran in Tagbilaran, Bohol (Philippines) that has the mast mounted in a slot that splits the forward part of the bridge deck cabin, so the mast apparently folds down forward and likely overhangs the bow by a boat length. There does not seem to be any gear to do this with although the helm station sits above the rear of the bridge deck cabin so has some height. To get out of the channel between Bohol Island and Panglao Island it appears that he has to lower the mast, motor out under the bridge, and then raise the mast while underway in order to sail. I have never actually seen this catamaran outside this channel so I am not sure how it is done. It is the only boat with a mast between the bridges.

Once up, my mast will (hopefully) stay up - I simply do not plan on taking my catamaran under any bridge that the mast won't clearly fit under - but most bridges here are so low I am unlikely to get under any bridge not designed to accomodate commercial ships.
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Old 27-08-2011, 16:15   #9
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Re: Portable Mast Raising and Lowering Device

Quote:
Originally Posted by webejammin View Post
I've used a mast raising system on our old boat a MacGregor 26M and I have seen photos of a Seawind 1000 that had made there own mast raising system to also go under bridges in CA., this one had the mast laying foward to avoid hitting the boat. I hope this helps.
All the 1000s have the capability to lower the mast(its in a tabenacle) using the boom as a lever. It on ly requires a couple of padeyes to be installed, otherwise its all good to go. Having said that - not something I would want to do to often!!
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Old 27-08-2011, 16:23   #10
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Re: Portable Mast-Raising and -Lowering Device

Here's one solution - Retractable sailboat mast - US Patent 4016823 Abstract
and another - Retractable mast for sailboats - Google Patents
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Old 27-08-2011, 17:29   #11
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Re: Portable Mast-Raising and -Lowering Device

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Old 27-08-2011, 17:36   #12
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Re: Portable Mast-Raising and -Lowering Device

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Old 27-08-2011, 18:02   #13
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Re: Portable Mast-Raising and -Lowering Device


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Sorry, took a while to figure out how to post a picture.
I have not tried this but I like the possibility of stepping and unstepping the mast without relying on a marina.
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Old 27-08-2011, 20:11   #14
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Re: Portable Mast-Raising and -Lowering Device

I have a Telstar Trimaran 28' and can raise the mast myself in about 2 or 3 minutes. Lowering is a bit faster. Performance Cruising used to make this boat, but discontinued it, however, they do make the 32' Gemini Catamaran, but no mast raising and lowering setup.



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Old 30-08-2011, 03:37   #15
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Re: Portable Mast-Raising and -Lowering Device

Here is how Catalac Catamarans raise and lower their masts.

Mast lowering

I should point out that this system was only available on the smaller 8 and 9 meter boats. Boats larger than this have mast weights approaching 500 lbs.

The geometry makes raising a heavy mast from horizontal very difficult. With my 8M, the mast above the tabernacle is 33' and weighs 300 lbs. With a 4 to 1 block and tackle (my main sheet) it's difficult to both raise it and keep it straight. I wouldn't want to raise a heavier mast.
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