Unstepping non-hinged mast on 34' sailboat

Discussion in 'Sailing Talk' started by ZSailor, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. ZSailor

    ZSailor New Member

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    Hello all,
    I'm planning on un-stepping the mast on my 1989 Beneteau Oceanis 350 to do some work on the masthead. Following are the considerations:
    • Mast height (horizontal length of the spar) = 40 ft.
    • Mast weight (excluding standing rigging) = 350 Lbs. I'm using total of 400 Lbs of weight in my plan.
    • Boat is in a slip and must remain in the slip
    • Not using a crane or other boats (no buddies)
    • Mast is deck-stepped without a hinge at the boot
    The plan is to use an A-frame with block-and-tackle of sufficient strength to unstep and lower the mast. The mast will remain on the boat, supported at the bow, stern, and inbetween by appropriate structures.

    1. Has anyone lowered a mast in this way (using an A-frame) on a boat this size?
    2. Has anyone done #1 and the mast was not hinged?
    3. Does anyone have any advice, based on experience (not opinion), whether or not my plan is feasible and if it is, any tips to ensure success.
    Thank you all in advance.
  2. John Pomer

    John Pomer New Member

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    This is probably not the best forum to ask the question since most of the boats here are smaller ones. There are several others that routinely discuss this size boat. There are several videos posted on YouTube, also.

    Most people will cringe at that thought of stepping/unstepping a large keel-stepped mast. But it is possible to do using an A-frame and "sufficient number" of people to guide and support the mast at various stages of the removal. Most people believe that a crane is the only way to do it (it will make it easier in most situations).

    The A-frame will have to be somewhat taller than the center of balance with the mast out above the cabin top. You want the weight below the lifting point to be heavier than above so the mast won't flip upside down unexpectedly.

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