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 Mast raising and lowering techniques
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KeziCat
1st Mate

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USA
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Initially Posted - 10/02/2010 :  22:17:20  Show Profile
Greetings,

After reading many posts on this site and others I'm beginning to get an understanding of the various mast raising and lowering "systems". I see it can be done in either a fore or aft arc. I plan to lower my mast to the stern and use some sort of telescoping crutch to support the weight from about 60 degrees through horizontal. There are several variations of A-frames and gin poles as well as some sailors who get the job done without any additional structure at all. I'm seriously considering the no structure technique for the once or twice a year I'll bring the mast down for maintenance and inspection. This will be done on the cradle, not on the water.


I haven't been to the boat lately to consider this plan up close. But, thinking it through it seems to me that more than a few degrees of forestay angle can be gained by placing a turning block vertically above the stem fitting at the center of the bow pulpit.

My question to the group is--would it be advantageous to attach a turning block to the pulpit and perhaps a second block to the stem fitting?

The control line would then run through a cabin top clutch and on to a winch.

I will be visiting the boat over the Columbus Day holiday and will take a practical look at the task.

All constructive comments are welcome.

Kevin & Charlene Parsell
1984 C25 SR/FK
Traditional Dinette
OBERON #4332
Home port
Douglas/Saugatuck, MI
Home
Toms River, NJ
OCTOBER 11, 2011

JULY 4th, 2011

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NCBrew
Captain

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USA
330 Posts

Response Posted - 10/03/2010 :  04:02:05  Show Profile
I would not attach a block to the pulpit. First it is too weak of a connection to the deck and second the distance you are talking about is not much. My method worked fine for me using 3 people, 1 at the mast and 1 in the cockpit and 1 on the winch. If you are doing it in a cradle you could attach the line to a vehicle and slowly pull up to lower or back up to raise. The further away the vehicle is the better the angle and this would give you a better advantage. It would be above the bow pulpit. Also as the mast comes down the man on the winch can assist in the cockpit for the final few feet to the "mast up". you can visit my website to see my homemade "Mast up".
Check out this youtube video of 1 man putting up a mast on what looks like about a 25 ft.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKjUi2h0mX8

www.blackpearl.vacationinnc.com
click on "starting repairs"


Edited by - NCBrew on 10/04/2010 13:21:19
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GaryB
Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 10/03/2010 :  06:14:41  Show Profile
I lowered and raised my mast in an 8 knot crosswind by myself using an A-Frame. It's not that big of a deal. It was much easier than I thought it would be.

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OJ
Master Marine Consultant

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4382 Posts

Response Posted - 10/03/2010 :  12:59:18  Show Profile
There's a guy at our lake who launches and retrieves <i>many</i> sailboats for people not up to the task.

Not to over-simplfy - but he <i>never</i> uses an a-frame . . . only a block & tackle and boom crutch.

I respect everyones opinions here, but I'm still not convinced of the need for the a-frame.


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GaryB
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Response Posted - 10/03/2010 :  17:59:11  Show Profile
You don't have to use one, we're just suggesting you try it. There are many ways to lower our masts. If I had 2 - 4 people to help I wouldn't use one either, but I don't.

The easiest way to do it would be to use a tall pole with a jib and a block and tackle or a crane to lift the mast straight up. Then while lowering the mast slowly pull the bottom end of the mast forward as you lower the mast back down.

Until you actually lower the mast yourself you won't know for sure which method will work best for you.

Let us know how it works out.

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aeckhart
Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 10/09/2010 :  17:22:07  Show Profile  Visit aeckhart's Homepage
OJ,

In 22 years of C25 ownership I have run the gammut for mast raising. My first effort was a friend and I using brute force pulling on the forestay and walking the mast forward. Ignorance is bliss. First hand knowledge is invaluable.That was the last time I ever raised the mast like that.

Since then I have progressed from multiple friends/relatives who seem to disappear at mast-raising time, to two variations of the gin pole. I was able to raise and lower the mast myself with a gin pole, which is great because it allows me a measure of indedendance from friends and relatives. It is also satisfying to do it myself.

The last two seasons I have used an A-frame, the first year using a winch to raise the mast, and this year a remote control electric boat winch. Now we're talking. No physical effort what-so-ever and I can stop the process at any time to check for hang-ups.

While you can raise the mast without a gin pole or A-frame, the process will be much easier, faster, and safer using the A-frame. Toss in the electric winch as I have and......nervanna.

Of course an extendable mast crutch is also mandatory. Mine came from Catalina Direct.

Edited by - aeckhart on 10/09/2010 17:26:30
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GaryB
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Response Posted - 10/09/2010 :  19:47:57  Show Profile
What make and model electric winch do you use?

Edited by - GaryB on 10/09/2010 19:48:26
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OJ
Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 10/10/2010 :  06:58:05  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by aeckhart</i>
<br />. . . While you can raise the mast without a gin pole or A-frame, the process will be much easier, faster, and safer using the A-frame . . . <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">Thanks for taking the time to respond Al. I agree that safety takes 1st priority . . . especially with a tall-rig, 150 mast while 500+ miles away from home.

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DaveR
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Response Posted - 10/10/2010 :  08:42:36  Show Profile  Visit DaveR's Homepage
I'll be dropping my mast for the first time this year and have been studying a couple videos by Davy J that he posted on youtube. Of course I'll be a little nervous but this looks like a pretty good non-nail biter system.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r33VCObNroY"]video1[/url]
[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsLxujYRsMQ&feature=related"]video2[/url]

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aeckhart
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Response Posted - 10/11/2010 :  05:38:50  Show Profile  Visit aeckhart's Homepage
Gary,

It's called a Lite Cruiser 1000 made by TRAC Industries. I bought it at overton's on sale for $146.It has a 9900 lb pull. I mounted it in place of the hand winch on the trailer and use it to both raise the mast and to snub the boat up to the rubber bow chock when putting the boat on the trailer. Our ramp is so steep that the bow never seems to make it to the chock. Anyway, between the the A frame and the electric winch raising the mast has become infinately easier.

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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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1500 Posts

Response Posted - 10/11/2010 :  06:13:13  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">I'll be dropping my mast for the first time this year and have been studying a couple videos by Davy J that he posted on youtube.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

When I made the video, I did not take into account the fact that my boat is set-up and rigged to lower the mast all of the time. Since your boat will not be, here are the steps to take to lower the mast.

<b>Mast lowering /raising steps</b>

Mast lowering

1) Remove mainsail slugs from mast track, (I leave sail on boom but you might also remove mainsail at this time).

2) Move main halyard (I shackle it to the lifeline at gate) You could keep also keep it attached straight down mast.

3) Shackle jib halyard to base of bow pulpit (in my case, halyard is on outside of jib sheets)

4) Loosen upper shrouds (in my case 5 turns)

5) Loosen forward lower shrouds (in my case 10 turns) . As each lower forward shroud is loosened it then gets shackled to the tang on the a-frame and then the a-frame is attached to the chain plate.

6) Loosen rear stay (I tighten the mainsheet to put some slack on rear stay then I release my rear stay with a quick release shroud lever)

7) Remove boom from mast( I lay it on deck, you would probably remove it all together). Then move mainsheet and topping lift if so equipped.

8) Make sure that your jib halyard is tight and cleated ( note: my jib halyard runs to cockpit)

9) If you have roller furling, make sure that the furling line is loose so that it can run out as the mast comes down.

<b>Note: At this time your rig should be loose, your a-frame is attached to both forward lower chain plates, both lower forward shrouds are attached tangs at ends of a-frame and your jib halyard is cleated tight. You should also have your a-frame line running from fore end of a-frame through a good sized block shackled to stem. This line should run to your starboard winch. Keep at least two wraps on winch and cleat it tight. Your forestay should be loose enough that you can remove the clevis pin.</b>

10) Remove clevis pin from forestay, then connect forestay to forward end of a-frame. The mast cannot move because the jib halyard is still tightly cleated

11) Un-cleat a-frame line but keep control of it, un-cleat, but keep control of jib halyard. Now slowly release both lines and pull down on rear stay. Mast will begin coming down, keep slowly releasing a-frame line. If you have helpers, have them feed out furling line and jib halyard. The jib halyard can also be used as brake. Continue to lower the mast to the point you need. ( I have a permanent mast support attached to stern rail).

Mast raising

<b>Note: I never remove my mast from the boat. If you have removed the mast you will need to reconnect shrouds, stays and jib halyard to the same condition and loose tension they where in when you lowered the mast.</b>

1) A-frame line is on starboard winch with three or four wraps. Use winch handle and start winching a-frame line. (note: I use a larger than normal winch handle for this purpose). The first few turns on the winch will be the most difficult as you are taking the full weight of the mast, as the mast gets higher the force will be less and less. <b>As the mast goes up you should not notice any more resistance than at the beginning. </b> If you do, most likely a shroud or stay is caught on something on deck. As you raise the mast have helper(s) bring in the jib halyard and furling line.

2) With mast in vertical position, tighten and then cleat jib halyard.

At this point everything else is just a reversal of the steps to lower the mast

3) Disconnect forestay from a-frame then connect to stem.

4) Reattach mainsheet and topping lift to boom

5) Attach boom to mast

6) Re-tension rear stay

7) Re-tension upper shrouds

8) Disconnect a-frame from chain plates

9) Attach and re-tension forward lower shrouds

10) Move a-frame

11) Feed mainsail slugs into mast track and shackle main halyard

12) Remove jib halyard from bow pulpit and go sailing

Hope that was not to long of a read
Good luck

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DaveR
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
2015 Posts

Response Posted - 10/11/2010 :  13:56:55  Show Profile  Visit DaveR's Homepage
Thanks Davy. Question; What size is the tubing you use for the A-frame? And it's electrical conduit right?

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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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1500 Posts

Response Posted - 10/11/2010 :  14:38:09  Show Profile
Tubing is 1" EMT Conduit.

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GaryB
Master Marine Consultant

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4141 Posts

Response Posted - 10/11/2010 :  18:50:59  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by aeckhart</i>
<br />Gary,

It's called a Lite Cruiser 1000 made by TRAC Industries. I bought it at overton's on sale for $146.It has a 9900 lb pull. I mounted it in place of the hand winch on the trailer and use it to both raise the mast and to snub the boat up to the rubber bow chock when putting the boat on the trailer. Our ramp is so steep that the bow never seems to make it to the chock. Anyway, between the the A frame and the electric winch raising the mast has become infinitely easier.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
Thanks Al! I'll check these out. Remote control should make it really easy to control the mast while lowering/raising.

Edited by - GaryB on 10/11/2010 18:53:57
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DaveR
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
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Response Posted - 10/12/2010 :  06:19:52  Show Profile  Visit DaveR's Homepage
Davy, I don't see a mention of the dimensions of the A frame. Any idea how long the conduit is?

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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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1500 Posts

Response Posted - 10/12/2010 :  09:32:19  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Davy, I don't see a mention of the dimensions of the A frame. Any idea how long the conduit is?<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">


Originally my a-frame legs were the same length as the distance from the forward lower chainplates to the block at the stem fitting. However, at extreme high tides, the a-frame itself was too tall for the bridge I must pass under, so I cut them down to 92" long. I would think you could make yours longer. Sorry, I do not remember the original length.

Here is an older thread on the subject:
http://www.catalina-capri-25s.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=17522& SearchTerms=video

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Davy J
Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 10/12/2010 :  09:48:42  Show Profile
Also, two other things to watch out for:

1) Make sure that the cabin top is slid all the way back, or the mast will start to rest on it as it gets low. If you don't, you will hear a nasty crunching sound.

2) If you have any cleats or the pop-top support in the mast track, make sure that they are mounted high enough so they do not touch deck.

I think once you lower and raise your mast, you will wonder how you got by, without, the ability to do so.

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DaveR
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
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Response Posted - 10/12/2010 :  12:42:28  Show Profile  Visit DaveR's Homepage
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"> you will hear a nasty crunching sound. <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">



Hahahah, Gotcha. Thanks for the info, I'll be getting in to this project in a couple weeks.

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dmpilc
Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 10/13/2010 :  14:42:49  Show Profile
Has anyone ever used the forward lower shrouds together instead of the forestay (connecting to an A-frame) to raise/lower the mast?
I know a guy with a C-22 who does that using the trailer winch (no A-frame). I'm not an engineer, but wouldn't that change the load and effort needed at the beginning of raising/end of lowering? For better or worse? Will the spreader fittings handle the load on a tall rig?

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WesAllen
Navigator

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USA
222 Posts

Response Posted - 10/13/2010 :  18:04:16  Show Profile
I use the forward lower shrouds together attached to a gin pole. I also have a 3 point setup on each side to keep the mast lined up as it is going up or down. It works very well but a little cumbersome to attach everything. I have had no problems with the spreader fittings. I don't have any pictures to show but using a winch with a brake it is a one man operation.

Wes

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sweetcraft
Admiral

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USA
809 Posts

Response Posted - 10/14/2010 :  17:29:52  Show Profile
A new way to me was this week when I watched a mast lowered of a McGregger. The system came with the boat which was a gin pole with a winch attached to it. It was guide with cables and never moved as the winch line was attached to the mast at what looked like a whisker pole fitting. There was another set of cables attached to the mast to hold it pretty good but a second person was needed to guide the mast into the crutch. Success is if no one gets hurt and no dent in the stern pulpit.

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mwr
Deckhand

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7 Posts

Response Posted - 01/30/2011 :  04:09:48  Show Profile
I picked up a trailer this summer that had a mast raising assist
built into the bow. Works pretty slick but does require 2 people.



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WesAllen
Navigator

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USA
222 Posts

Response Posted - 01/30/2011 :  15:01:02  Show Profile
NWR - Thanks for the photo. My trailer has one of those but I didn't know it was used. A picture (this one) is worth a thousand words.

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KeziCat
1st Mate

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USA
28 Posts

Response Posted - 01/30/2011 :  20:55:02  Show Profile
Pretty slick rig mwr.

While on the cradle we were able to get Oberon's mast lowered this winter. We manufactred a 16 foot long crutch pole for the helper on the ground. After loosening or removing the shrouds and such as suggested we installed the 4 part mainsheet between the stem fitting and the forestay. The control end was led aft and given three wraps around a coaming winch. From the cockpit, a little hand pressure on the backstay and the mast tilted back. I slowly let out line and it came down very smoothly. Once the guy on the ground with the crutch could reach the mast he was able to help walk it into another shorter crutch we had set up at the back of the cockpit. Our third "safety" guy kept an eye on things and said we looked like pros. We will practice raising and lowering it a few times on the hard to get the routine down. Then, we plan to attempt the same at the dock next spring. For now we have to work on inspecting, replacing and upgrading anything that is needed.

Thanks to everyone for your continued suggestions and insight.

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mwr
Deckhand

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Response Posted - 01/31/2011 :  10:44:09  Show Profile
Glad to hear it was a useful post!


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dmpilc
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
4528 Posts

Response Posted - 02/05/2011 :  13:02:47  Show Profile
MWR, what is the brand name of your trailer?

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