There are many ways to step a mast
. The difficulty varies with the equipment
that is available & the configuration of the hull
and standing rigging
that you are working with. If you want to give details about the actual hull
, & equipment
that you have available, then I will be able to make more specific comments. For now, I will just make a few general statements.
As many have noted, cranes are the easy way out.
For centuries, sailors have set masts with gin poles. It can be done. It has been done by many people in many places. If you want to go this route
, you need a point on the boat where the bottom of the mast will pivot. An engineer
would call that the fulcrum. You then need a way of applying an upward force to the portion of the mast that is above the fulcrum. The version of a gin pole that I usually use, is a single
pole that I attach to the fulcrum & run a line over the top of. The length of that line is adjusted so the the gin pole will be at a 90 degree angle to the mast. That line then gets lashed to the mast at an appropriate place. I usually run the other end of that line through a block at the bow, then to winch
, & crank it up by myself. A safety
line to the stern is a prudent cautionary measure if you don't already have the back stay fixed in place. With this method, you also need a way of stabilizing the mast so that neither the gin pole nor the mast will go off to one side when you make the lift
. I usually use a couple of lines out to the gunwales for this. The lines get attached to the gunwales at points that are in line with the fulcrum. The other ends get attached to the lashing point on the mast & the top of the gin pole. Many people use the side stays, rather than 2 of the 4 lines that I usually use.
Another variation that I have used is to have 2 gin poles that are set up as an A frame with the fulcrum of the A-frame in line with the fulcrum of the mast. The top of the A-frame is then lashed to the mast where the three pieces intersect. This is a more stable rig than my first example, but it requires a little extra equipment. With this setup, it is possible to install a keel
stepped mast, if you install a block at the point where the A-frame & the mast meet, rather than lashing them fast. In this case, it is necessary for the A-frame to extend above the mast's center of mass. In other cases, that is helpful, but not actually necessary if the mast fulcrum is properly attached to the hull, as in the case of a tabernacle.
Stepping a mast is basically a rigging
job. If you need advice on the best way to do it, you may want to talk to a local rigger or millwright. I've seen plenty of those guys move 20,000 pieces of machinery with only hand tools that easily fit in the bed
of a 1/2-ton pickup.
The ancient Egyptians built some pretty big pyramids. As far as I know, they didn't have any cranes available at the time.