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HomeTaking Mast Down Yourself

Stepping and Taking the Mast Down by Yourself

I want to thank Tom Wurster who taught me this during the 1994 MC Nationals in Pewaukee.

Stepping and taking the MC mast down is best handled by two people. However, there are times where you can't find anyone to help you, and you are forced to do it by yourself. Here is a simple procedure that works well. The assumption is that the MC is on a trailer and has a strong painter at least 10-12 feet long attached to the bow plate.

Taking the Mast Down

  • Position the MC with the stern facing the wind and positioned higher than the bow (mast will lean forward).
  • Tie the painter to the mast with a clove hitch. This knot needs to be about 6-7 feet above the deck. This will keep the mast standing during the next step.
  • Undo the forestay. Mast will remain standing thanks to attached painter.
  • Place an old towel on the deck near the mast step.
  • Get back on the MC and untie the clove hitch while leaning against the mast. Place end of painter in belt loop in case you have to retie mast for any reason.
  • Slowly let mast lean back a few inches, pick it up, and place on towel.
  • Support weight of mast as you slide it on towel to the edge of the deck.
  • Carefully let mast slide down to the ground and move it to desired location.
Stepping the Mast
  • Position the MC with the stern facing the wind and positioned higher than the bow (mast will eventually lean forward and wind will help process).
  • The lower part of mast is resting in mast crutch or lying flat on deck on top of some lifejackets to keep it from scratching the deck. Sidestays are attached to boat. Forestay is coiled on ground on starboard side of boat.
  • Check that all shrouds are clear and will not catch on anything as you raise the mast.
  • Stand on port-side of deck about 12 - 18 inches below mast-step point. Attach painter to your belt loop.
  • The center of gravity/balance point of the mast is about 3 1/2 feet above the spreaders. Grab mast with hands about 4 feet apart. I'm right-handed and place right hand at the balance point and left hand just below spreaders.
  • Make sure you reach for the mast under the shrouds. And as you lift the horizontally positioned mast up from from the deck, twist it 90 degrees clockwise so that spreaders now point up and down -- this keeps you from getting tangled in the shrouds as you raise the mast.
  • With left hand force the lower end of the mast to the ground on port side of boat and then pull it toward you over the grass. This continues to be a balancing act where you grab the mast with left hand and use the right hand as a guide through which you feed the mast up. At the end of this step the mast is standing almost vertical next to your boat.
  • Squat down on the deck by the mast and grab it as low as comfortable with your left hand and as high as comfortable with your right hand.
  • Slowly stand up and raise the whole assembly straight up until you clear the edge of the deck. As you raise it higher, the shrouds will limit sideways movement and the operation becomes more predictable. Move the mast slowly over to the mast step and set it down.
  • Take painter off belt loop and tie a clove hitch around mast as high as you can manage.
  • Attach forestay and remove painter from mast.

See you on the starting line!

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