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Old 25-01-2020, 14:36   #1
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Folding masts

Hi! First post.

I just bought a loft apartment on the Milwaukee river. Itís maybe a mile and a half from Lake Michigan. They float piers after winter for owners to use. Iíve seen some fairly good sized boats but never a sail boat.

Too many bridges between (9 I think) my pier and the lake. Very large tourist boats come through and they somehow get the bridges to open but I donít know if a mast fits with them open. Each bridge is different some are full draw, and some rotate. But some go up elevator style.

It seems that a sail boat designed for a trailer might be perfect as the mast comes down.. I can not get good information on REALLY how easy or fast the mast goes up or down.

Anyone have have any experience? If this is doable, I would look for a boat at the maximum length with the fastest (and strongest) mast system. Maybe as much as 30ft. If it takes over an hour, probably not worth it. But if I could park at my apartment (which is the dream) could just pull it out once in the winter. Not likely to trailer it around much.

Thanks!
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Old 25-01-2020, 15:49   #2
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Re: Folding masts

I have a 26 foot cat ketch where both masts are on tabernacles allowing the masts to quickly and easily to shift from sailing configuration to the masts horizontal. I have dropped the masts while out cruising to get under bridges, exactly as you are hoping to do. Maybe ten minutes to furl the sails and drop the masts. The tabernacles guide the mast during raising and lowering, making the evolution safe and easy for a single person. Tabernacles are not common on production boats, although the practice is not a new idea.
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Old 25-01-2020, 15:50   #3
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Re: Folding masts

Oh, and welcome to the forum Bcharles.
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Old 25-01-2020, 17:18   #4
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Re: Folding masts

Thanks @Sparx

Two masts, yikes. I did a little quick research on the Milwaukee river. Boats have the right of way which is good! They open and close them as needed. The lowest fully opened bridge is 29’ and the lowest closed bridge is 13’. I’m guessing that only the smallest masts fit, so folding has to happen.

Was yours a retrofit or original equipment?
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Old 25-01-2020, 17:33   #5
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Re: Folding masts

5 mins 30 seconds ought to give you some ideas

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Old 25-01-2020, 19:14   #6
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Re: Folding masts

If lowering the mast can be done that quickly & easily, it sure beats waiting for the bridge to open. Might be good to have a motor though. Milwaukee River current might be stronger than you’d want to paddle against.
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Old 25-01-2020, 19:24   #7
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Re: Folding masts

Where is the raising masts video? That would be fun.
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Old 25-01-2020, 21:51   #8
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Re: Folding masts

On the Swan River in Perth Western Australia, nearly all yachts are fitted with hinged masts as there are 3 bridges to go under to get out to sea. Mast lowering is not a regular occurrence here as one tends to either stay on the river or for larger yachts keep them in an Oceanside marina.

on my 34ft yacht, the whole process from stopping sailing to lowering, raising and back to sailing takes about 60 minutes of hard work. Itís also fraught with danger as the mast in the few minutes of raising or lowering is very vulnerable if the yacht rolls from side to side.
I use an A frame of 2 spinnaker poles to the base of the forestry, but some use an A frame that slides up the mast track and provides much better stability.
Basically, itís a total PITA to take my yacht out onto the ocean from the river. There are 60 ft yachts that do this here, so itís not impossible, but not recommended for every weekendís sailing.
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Old 25-01-2020, 22:14   #9
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Re: Folding masts

Possible and practical are different things.

I've helped a few sub 28ft boats with tabernacles put up their masts...it's not something I would want to do on the fly away from the dock. Certainly not twice to go out for a short day sail. Above 28ft, the masts just start getting too large to do it quickly for this to be practical.

I would look for a boat that can get under the 29ft bridge or go power...horses for courses and all that.
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Old 25-01-2020, 22:35   #10
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Re: Folding masts

MacGregor used to have a promo video that showed two experienced people start from on the trailer to ready to sail in 1/2 hour.

This guy shows the gin pole


Looks like it's an option from the company, they claim 10-15 minutes -
https://macgregorsailboats.com/macgr...-mast-raising/

For those that don't care for MacGregors I'm sure there are lots of trailerable sailboats with a quick system, but rigging a gin pole and a set of mast raising stays in the plane of the mast to keep it from swaying side to side shouldn't be too hard to come up with.
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Old 26-01-2020, 00:47   #11
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Re: Folding masts

What about some power assist for a 60' carbon mast?

Could it be done?

It's a dream of mine since the air draft is problematic on my Catamaran.
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Old 26-01-2020, 06:59   #12
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Re: Folding masts

Quote:
Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
Possible and practical are different things.

I've helped a few sub 28ft boats with tabernacles put up their masts...it's not something I would want to do on the fly away from the dock. Certainly not twice to go out for a short day sail. Above 28ft, the masts just start getting too large to do it quickly for this to be practical.

I would look for a boat that can get under the 29ft bridge or go power...horses for courses and all that.
Yeah, Thanks everyone. It looks like itís more complicated than the advertisements say. Also, itís stuff that has be done correctly. Iím sure these systems are awesome for trailering a boat to change water location a few times a year, but not really twice a day. I think for me, I will have to consider a slip on the lake side.

A well engineered system, I found last night:

https://vimeo.com/12861386
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Old 26-01-2020, 07:17   #13
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Re: Folding masts

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Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
If lowering the mast can be done that quickly & easily, it sure beats waiting for the bridge to open. Might be good to have a motor though. Milwaukee River current might be stronger than you’d want to paddle against.
There is a current for sure but it’s pretty slow. I kayaked once. It seemed about the same up as down. But in any case I would want to motor.

It’s looking like there is a reason I haven’t seen a single sailboat on the river!
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Old 26-01-2020, 07:34   #14
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Re: Folding masts

Tabernacles are a major structural element. I suppose it is possible to retrofit them to a built boat, but this should be a very thoughtful process. On my boat the tabernacles run to the keel and are very securely tied into the bulkheads. The bulkheads are placed with supporting the tabernacles in mind.

The tabernacle and hinge pin height is selected with lever arm considerations. Also on my boat consideration for how the masts will lay when the horizontal for trailering is also a consideration. Raising carbon fibre masts of about 30 feet is quite easy. Obvious the longer and heavier the mast the more difficult.

Chotu, I have enjoyed following your cat build out. I have a mental picture of an awesome boat coming together. I imagine a folding mast using tabernacles is possible, but 60 foot is a serious long mast for this. Being a cat I suppose runners could be set at each bow to winch the mast up and down under full control. Think this through carefully with consideration of the lever arm produced by the rig as it comes down. A gin pole will likely be necessary.
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Old 26-01-2020, 07:34   #15
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Re: Folding masts

The smaller trailerable folding tris are all set up for mast lowering. Check out Corsair, Farrier, and Dragonfly. Lots of vids.
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