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Old 18-02-2016, 20:33   #1
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Pulling the carbon fiber mast this week...

I have a Freedom 38 with a free-standing CF mast. There was enough work needing to be done that it was easier to pull the mast off the boat rather than work on my climbing skills. This is the first time I will have done this in the three years I've had the boat. If anyone has any advice, that would be really appreciated. I'll be replacing the VHF cable with LMR 400 UF, replacing the anchor light and wiring with a tri-color light, adding a main halyard (there's only one right now), installing the new anemometer and its N2K wire, and fixing the way the jib and spin halyards exit the mast as there's too much sideways friction on the spin halyard, in particular. This sounds like I know what I'm doing. I really don't, but I've been thinking about these things for the past three years so I've done a good bit of research and have had the parts sitting around for a long time now. I guess the first time with things like this is always the most intimidating.
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Old 18-02-2016, 20:55   #2
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Re: Pulling the carbon fiber mast this week...

First step, hook the mast up to the crane, then loosen all the turnbuckles and .......... oh, never mind. You don't have any turnbuckles and all that other messy stuff.

So, disconnect all the wires and cables, hook up the crane then unscrew the mast or loosen whatever it is that holds in a mast with no rigging and lift it out.

Seriously, if you've been looking at the bits and pieces and thinking about the job for how long? you've probably thought about it all but here's a couple of things I did when I pulled my mast.

If you're running new antennae coax are you replacing the wiring to the lights as well? I planned to just replace the antennae cable but discovered everything was all wrapped up together inside the mast and had to pull the whole works and rewire everything. If you do have to rewire I found a cool gadget at Harbor Freight. It's a 30' fiberglass snake that comes in sections in a tube. I bought two and hooked them together. Can fish things all the was through the mast. Came in very handy.

Not too familiar with carbon fiber masts (meaning I know nothing at all about them). Does yours have a channel inside for the wiring? If not, can you add one? In Al masts it keeps the wires from clanging around when the boat rocks but guess that's not a problem with carbon but it would keep the wiring away from the internal halyards.
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Old 18-02-2016, 22:24   #3
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Re: Pulling the carbon fiber mast this week...

Hi, I think there is a copy of the Freedom manual on the Freedom yacht forum site. It has a diagram on the correct way to attach the lines etc to pull mast. It's fairly straight forward ,I've done it. Check how the mast is chocked, ie. If previous owner has used spartite you may have to cut it if they didn't lube before pouring it in. Also prior to putting mast back in, check that the mast step is a nice snug fit. Over time they wear and the mast will rotate on step. Best to have a look at this now while mast is out. Also being a large diameter mast cables can really slap against the mast in rolly Anchorages, cable ties approx every 6 inches can be used around all wiring to stop the cables slapping.
Cheers Dale.

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Old 18-02-2016, 23:50   #4
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Re: Pulling the carbon fiber mast this week...

There's a LOT of info on these masts at www.SponbergYachtDesign.com as he was the lead engineer at TPI for quite a while when the Freedoms were being built.
So spend some time digging around on his website, as you'll learn a lot about the masts, their history, & especially what kind of TLC they need.

For instance, a "fix" needs to be done to all of these masts at the deck collar http://www.sponbergyachtdesign.com/F...T%20REPAIR.pdf
Also, you want to minimize drilling holes/adding fasteners as much as you can. As carbon's a lot more sensitive to such, than are other materials.

For instance, instead of bolting a conduit for you wires to the inside of the tube. Secure them FIRMLY, up top, & then tension them with a couple of pieces of bungee down at the bottom. And if you like, you can also wrap the wiring bundle with several large kitchen sponges, in order to help prevent them from slapping on the inside of the mast.
--> The bungee cord/sponge thing is how internal mast wiring is secured in hundreds/thousands of racing boats; in order to save weight vs. adding a conduit. And it definitely works, including to stop the internal halyards from slapping. Plus, given that there are a lot of CF masts on racers nowadays... it ain't going out of style anytime soon.

Another member here, who's real familiar with CF, a64pilot, suggested using padded clamps to attach some things to such spars (in lieu of drilling holes). Something which is new to me, but you might pick his brain on CF spars.

Also, I know of several ways of addressing the halyards issues, in theory, but I'd need to see the masthead before throwing ideas out there. That, & likely they'd take a while to compose via text.
But there are non-drilling options for adding them too. Which are somewhat touched on on Sponberg's website (& a few others).

Basically you can fabricate/integrally bond a composite lug to the mast, from which to hang halyards & other things. Though of course they need to be well designed, & also have multiple layers of UV protection built in.

The multihull designer Kurt Hughes, even designs some as shroud attachment points, too; for some of the composite/CF masts which he designs.
You may have to look around a bit, but start by searching under "wing masts", or "carbon fiber masts" Kurt Hughes Multihull Design - Catamarans and Trimarans for Cruising and Charter

Hope that helps, & good luck.

PS: Also do a good inspection of both your mast step, & mast deck collar. Including the hardware which secures the mast against movement. As there have been cases where the deck collar hardware was improperly built or secured, & the mast grinding against it caused the spar to fracture & fail. This was on one or two Freedom 33 foremasts.
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Old 19-02-2016, 08:14   #5
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Re: Pulling the carbon fiber mast this week...

there is a threaded set screw at the base of the mast connected to the step. make sure it s removed
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Old 19-02-2016, 09:05   #6
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Re: Pulling the carbon fiber mast this week...

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post

For instance, instead of bolting a conduit for you wires to the inside of the tube. Secure them FIRMLY, up top, & then tension them with a couple of pieces of bungee down at the bottom. And if you like, you can also wrap the wiring bundle with several large kitchen sponges, in order to help prevent them from slapping on the inside of the mast.
My ignorance of carbon fibre is total but I do have one small suggestion.

Good post btw!

Closed cell polyethylene foam, being waterproof, might last better than kitchen sponges? Used it in the form of exterior pipe lagging to stop the luff extrusion banging around inside my in-mast furling sail chamber while the sail was (is) off for the winter.

Electricians' fish tape is the UK name for the plastic coated steel wire used for cable pulling. Very cheap. Pushed mine all the way through a neighbour's 35' horizontal mast when his messenger line had broken.
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Old 19-02-2016, 09:41   #7
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Re: Pulling the carbon fiber mast this week...

i have a Freedom. To remove your mast remove the bolt at the base that holds the mast from turning. The mast collar at the deck level, depending on how it was sealed will require special attention.
In order to lift the mast attach a lifting cable a little above the half way length of the mast and ALSO attach it to the gooseneck fitting so that the mast won't slip out. ( as you have no spreaders ).

Go the the Freedom Owners website and you will find the info you are looking for there.

Be very careful if you want put any new halyard exit holes in that mast.
Get expert information before you do. Sponberg is THE man.
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Old 19-02-2016, 13:27   #8
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Re: Pulling the carbon fiber mast this week...

I have a freedom 30. I tried to pull the mast the first time and they lifted the boat right off the ground. You must take the bolt out at the bottom of the mast. You must loosen all the bolts on the collar on the deck. And finally there are wedges underneath that must be removed before the mast will come out. Quite a project but it is a strong mast and it is in the boat "good". Love my Freedom. Good luck with your retrofits.
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Old 19-02-2016, 23:31   #9
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Re: Pulling the carbon fiber mast this week...

Oh wow, I'm just reading these comments now. Thank you all! Lots of good info to check out further. I will be part of the process from start to finish so it's good to know how it should proceed. When I get to the boat tomorrow, I will also post a graphic from the Freedom manual of the mast at the fractional point and at the masthead where the halyards exit. A friend has suggested a way to fabricate another piece that will fit in the place where the jib and spin halyards sheaves run so they don't have so much friction (it'll be clearer from the picture). There's an aluminum base (I forget its correct term) at the masthead, which is where the light and wind vane are mounted, and where the main halyard exits. This looks to be in good form and so I should be able to put additional attachments to this rather than directly into the CF. I really don't want to make any alterations to the CF itself.
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Old 21-02-2016, 11:05   #10
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Re: Pulling the carbon fiber mast this week...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gamayun View Post
Oh wow, I'm just reading these comments now. Thank you all! Lots of good info to check out further. I will be part of the process from start to finish so it's good to know how it should proceed. When I get to the boat tomorrow, I will also post a graphic from the Freedom manual of the mast at the fractional point and at the masthead where the halyards exit. A friend has suggested a way to fabricate another piece that will fit in the place where the jib and spin halyards sheaves run so they don't have so much friction (it'll be clearer from the picture).

One option, is to mount a small crescent shaped plate, made from composites or metal, both above & below the halyard exit sheaves. And then, on both sides of each sheave, in between the plates, you put vertical rollers.
They aid with getting the halyards away from the mast a bit, with much lower friction. And tend to give the halyards better lead angles (between the sail head & the sheave), as compared to just running conventional sheave boxes (inlets).

Also, if you currently only have standard sheaves, there are a good number (of brands & sizes) made, which have self contained, low friction bearings. Which might be worth looking into. For instance Harken has a plethora of them.

There's an aluminum base (I forget its correct term) at the masthead (Crane? Most likely), which is where the light and wind vane are mounted, and where the main halyard exits. Odds are, if it is aluminum, it won't be a fan of adding anything much to it which is load bearing.
This looks to be in good form and so I should be able to put additional attachments to this rather than directly into the CF. I really don't want to make any alterations to the CF itself.
The composite lug to which I was referring on Eric Sponberg's page is here GT80 Wingmast
It's in figure 5. Albeit from the drawing, some of the key fabrication & attachment information are missing. Plus, there are MUCH better ways to assemble/attach such things to CF spars, than are pictured, described, & or implied here.

One other option for attaching some items, is to essentially lash them in place, around the circumference of a tube, using a "soft eye". It's how the pole end hardware for some things like; Code 0, & Spinnaker Furlers, get attached on some boats.
Albeit, I'd have a rigger evaluate any such high load attachments, especially the components involved (like a mast). With regards to how such loads might affect it.

Soft Eyes are commonly used to connect standing rigging to masts, & other spars, sans bolts & tangs, or any other (high $, high load) metal hardware bits. And they're a quite old, & proven technique.
Plus, they're easy, & inexpensive to fabricate. As well as the fact that unlike modern hardware, they don't create high point loads on things.

Good Luck with things!
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