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Newbie question - can I step mast with boat in water dockside

raduray

New Member
Hi all,

I've sailed on and off for years, but not for the past few years. I'm newly retired and live on a lake and am considering purchasing a 1990 Mod 2 Capri 14.2 I found on craigslist. If I go through with this I'm sure I'll have lots more questions, but there's an immediate critical issue that will determine if this is feasible in the first place:

To get to my dock from the boat ramp I have to go under a bridge which does not provide sufficient clearance for sailboats. My plan is to launch the boat and use my pontoon boat to tow it approximately four miles to my house. Question is, can I then step the mast with the boat in the water tied to the dock.

Also, given the circumstances, I'd be leaving the boat in the water all the time, except for winter. Will that require any special prep/maintenance?
 

JGM

Member
Stepping the mast seems a bit hairy just by myself when the boat is firmly strapped to the trailer. In the water, I would suggest having someone attach the forestay as you hold the mast upright.

About leaving the boat in the water tethered to the dock, I'm thinking you might not be too happy with the results. I have a Mod 2 and the original owner left the boat in the water. It suffers from numerous gel-coat cracks right behind the rub rail from repeated bashings against the pilings, probably from high winds or wave action. It also has a blistered bottom from continuous contact with fresh water. Some kind of slip arrangement would be preferable to tying it up against something. Better yet would be to construct some kind of floating cradle you could winch the boat onto. The C-14 isn't that heavy, maybe a couple of light-weight davits?

Welcome!
Jim
 

kentth

Member
I have not tried to step mast while in the water, but I have gotten real good at stepping it by myself while on the trailer. The main problem I could see would be keeping your balance.

Here is how I solo step it, while on the trailer. Attache mast to to the step bracket, with the bolt. Attach a second line, 1/8 or 1/4" braided line, you can get that at any hardware store, to the jib halyard to give it extra length. Take the clip you use to attach the halyard to the jib and fasten it to the fitting on the bow of boat, don't use the hole you will use to fasten the forestay to the fitting. Step the mast and pull the jib halyard taut and cleat it. This will hold the mast up until you can fasten the forestay. Release the jib halyard and you are good to go.

This methods works great while on the trailer, just practice it a few times. I might just try it in the water to how it works out.

Kent
 

woodbark

Member
Kent,

That method works just as well on the water but as you rightly cautioned, keeping your balance is important, especially during the initial lifting and up to the point where the halyard is able to take over!
 

dnthewind

Member
I step mine in the water too, and it's no problem for me. I've never used Kent's system, above, but love the idea. I do suggest keeping a few spare rings&pins. Do it enough times and you're sure to drop one eventually...
 

dnthewind

Member
Oh, one other thing. Plan to have a mast crutch or something else (crew?) hold the top of the mast up off of the transom before you step it up. Without it, the spreaders fall awkwardly right by the transom and put all the weight on the spreaders and stays.
 

raduray

New Member
I had to modify Kent's method as I have a furling jib, so I used the main halyard. Honed the process in the driveway and then we launched the boat yesterday evening and stepped the mast dockside.

I did one other thing as I was paranoid about pulling the mast too far and having it fall forward. The mast on my boat comes with a cap to which there's a rope attached which is used for a topping lift (there's a block on the back of the boom for that). I attached the free end of that rope to the top rudder hole to create a temporary back stay.
 

kentth

Member
Glad it worked out for you...I have never had it go on over, since I have the mast attached to the step and the side stays attached. Normally it goes right up sets down in the step and is stationary. Have never had it try to go over forward.

Again glad it worked you sell for you.

Kent
 

dnthewind

Member
Agreed, if the side stays are on, it cannot fall forward. But if the side stays are not on it's real trouble. Those should always be attached before she's stepped up and not come off until she's down.
 
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