Hey that's great! Congratulations on the new boat, sounds like fun.
Back in the day when racing
boats more than likely not had big overlapping headsails there was an incentive to have very narrow sheeting angles, and by extension very narrow shroud
So basically a very narrow shroud
base equals very high loads as the mast
gets taller. Mast-step rams perform a simple function for a couple reasons, basically they jack your stuff up, in a way that is in practical or easy to do readily with turnbuckles.
Usually they come equipped with a "load cell" or "load chip" which provides a reading of the load the ram is producing (lap-top hook-up or instrument reading) or a the very basic level a stick with a mark (maybe multiple marks) where it should be at.