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Mast Movement In Step - Newbie

FloatingPoint

New Member
Hello,
I am new to sailing and this forum and have a question about a boat I have. I have been learning sailing and I have brought an old (1980) Laser dinghy in very nice condition. I am new to this so this could be a silly question. The mast step (the hole for the mast?) seems in very good condition and the mast seems new and correct. When I put the mast in the step the hole is slightly larger than the mast (I think this is normal as I have seen this on other boats) BUT the mast its self can move slightly in the step. Does the mast usually feel 'clamped' when in the step? or does it have a little movement within it?

Thanks for your help
Mitch
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
Hello,
I am new to sailing and this forum and have a question about a boat I have. I have been learning sailing and I have brought an old (1980) Laser dinghy in very nice condition. I am new to this so this could be a silly question. The mast step (the hole for the mast?) seems in very good condition and the mast seems new and correct. When I put the mast in the step the hole is slightly larger than the mast (I think this is normal as I have seen this on other boats) BUT the mast its self can move slightly in the step. Does the mast usually feel 'clamped' when in the step? or does it have a little movement within it?

Thanks for your help
Mitch
It should have a "little", (very small amount) movement forward and back, but not side to side. It does not sit "tight" in the step.
 

FloatingPoint

New Member
Thanks for the super fast reply Rob :).
The mast doesn't move from side to side but the move forward and backward is what I would think quite large (to a complete novice), almost like it would clunk around when under sail. Its almost like the hole is too large but as far as I can tell it is original with no repairs. I have provided two images and a video of it in its two extreme positions, it can move between these two very easily. Is that normal?





I also have posted a video of me moving the mast backwards and forwards
http://s805.photobucket.com/albums/yy334/mitchWhitehouse/?action=view&current=004.mp4

Many thanks again,
Mitch
 

torrid

Just sailing
The mast is design to rotate when you tack or bear off. This is different from many other classes with stepped masts which are relatively stationary. I don't think there is anything wrong with your boat.
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
The mast is design to rotate when you tack or bear off. This is different from many other classes with stepped masts which are relatively stationary. I don't think there is anything wrong with your boat.
Yep. It looks fine. You'll find as you sail in any kind of breeze the pressure on the sail and your trim will keep the mast from "wiggling" around. In light air and chop it does bounce around in the step a little.
 

FloatingPoint

New Member
Thanks Rob and Torrid for replying :).
Your replies have put my mind at ease, it looks like it was me not knowing what to look for rather than a problem with the boat which is a massive relief.

This has been a great introduction to this friendly forum so thanks again for helping out this complete novice on the start of my sailing journey.

Mitch
 

ForestLake

New Member
Mitch
While your mast movement does look normal, Annapolis Performance Sailing sells an inexpensive <$10. wear strip kit that wraps around the mast at the foot and deck contact area. Put one on my laser this year and it snugged it up just a little, and also really reduces the wear on the mast step.
 

FloatingPoint

New Member
Thanks for the info, I will look into something like that, anything that will help minimise wear in this important area would be great
 

perlSailor

New Member
One more caveat regarding loose mast: Be sure that the cunningham line runs through the fairlead at the top of the mast step and is cleated when sailing. In addition to trimming the sail, the line prevents the mast from bouncing up and down in chop and/or sliding out when you capsize or turtle.:eek: Keeps the base of the mast seated in the step.

Welcome to Lasers. I was a newbie this spring and had a ball with mine all summer.

Cheers
 

Sailorchick

Member
One more caveat regarding loose mast: Be sure that the cunningham line runs through the fairlead at the top of the mast step and is cleated when sailing. In addition to trimming the sail, the line prevents the mast from bouncing up and down in chop and/or sliding out when you capsize or turtle.:eek: Keeps the base of the mast seated in the step.

Welcome to Lasers. I was a newbie this spring and had a ball with mine all summer.

Cheers
You should have a separate mast retaining line to hold the mast secure in event of a capsize. The cunningham line is NOT suitable for this purpose.
Mast retainers can be tied in a variety of ways, just ensure it actually would prevent the mast falling out if inverted and doesn't intervere with the mast movements/rotation or other control lines.
 

perlSailor

New Member
Point taken Sailorchick. Thanks for the warning.

Here is where I found the instruction regarding the cunningham to prevent mast coming out:
http://www.lasersailingtips.com/rigging-and-launching.html (Step 8)

I did find a good picture of your suggested separate mast retaining line on Clay Johnson's site:
http://claysails.com/index.php?q=gallery&g2_itemId=333


The difference appears to be that Clay's rig (and I am guessing yours too) has the upgraded double block at the top of the mast step whereas FloatingPoint and myself have the original single fairlead as the only available tie in.

Cheers
 

Sailorchick

Member
The mast retainer is actually a class requirement - you could be protested for not having one if you are racing. This is the case whether you are on old or new control line set ups.

There is a photo of how I rig mine on my profile, but there are numerous ways of doing it.
Having seen sailors come up from capsize with the rig having fallen out its something that I would never sail without - Iain Percy is the only person I've ever seen manage to put the rig back in on the water.
 

jeffers

Active Member
The other thing to bear in mind is that if you do not have a seperate mast securing line and you lose the rig on a capsize your insurnace company may not pay out.

I seem to recall seeing something from my insurance company when the new controls came out saying this would be the case.

It is common sense really and for just a few pence worth of rope it does make sense.
 
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