I have searched and read numerous threads on mast stepping, but have not found the definitive answer I've been looking for. The answers such as " it works for me", or "I'm 71 and can do it solo" just dont cut it.
I am setting up a winch to raise my Nacra 460 mast; the goal is to be able to raise & lower it solo. Like many cats the mast needs to be rotated 90 degrees to raise/lower. I have figured out how to stop the swing by attaching the trap wires to the front beam, however I have not figured out how to keep the mast at 90 degrees while raising and lowering it. Sadly, I have found that the mast post is bent from me or the previous owner stepping the mast incorrectly.
At this point I dont want to go the gin pole route or the Hobie mast stepper.
I thought of adding a pad eye, above the hounds, to the side of the mast and leaving a rope permanently attached to it figuring if I pull from the side of the mast it wont rotate when raising or lowering.
What is the most common/easiest way to overcome the mast rotation while using a winch and raising the mast solo? Note: the mast does not have rotation control arm.
Well, I'd take the opposite approach as follows: First pin the shrouds at their loosest setting, so it doesn't take any rig tension at all to pin the headstay. Second, put a temporary pulley somewhere forward and centered, maybe to the jib bridle, maybe to the trailer tongue if it's on a trailer. Third, tie a line to the jib halyard to extend it, run it through said pulley, and back to you at the mast. Raise the mast by hand, lean against it with your shoulder as you take the slack out of the temporary line and tie the line off. I don't know our boat setup, maybe there is a cam cleat facing forward you can use rather than tying a knot. In my Inter 20 the spin halyard clutch works. Pin headstay, then tighten shrouds and pin them. No winches or other stuff involved. Anything you can do to temporarily make the stern higher than the bow makes this easier.
I know you don't want to go there but I step the masts of all my boats (2 of my own and 2 friends) using the Hobie Mast stepper 3 gin pole setup. It takes a bit of work the first time and it isn't as quick as just heave ho but compared to the danger and strain of hoisting it yourself its absolutely painless. With some carabiners for quick connections I can step a mast in under 15 minutes. Not having to worry about dropping a mast on myself and others is priceless.
1981 Nacra 5.2 "Lucile"
1986 Nacra 5.7 "Belle"
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I just received a gin pole setup from aquarius for my Supercat 19x (33 ft mast). It took awhile to fanaggle the rigging of it, trap wires and such. That all should be set now. I can raise the mast with one hand and using the mainsheet and blocks i can cleat and easily pin the forestay. I honestly dont know why i heaved up the mast on my other catamaran.
Thanks for the replies.
I can raise the mast with the winch and a second person who assists in the first few feet of raising the mast and prevents the mast from rotating. I need to be able to hold my mast in the rotated position so I can raise/lower it solo.
I have not ruled out the Gin Pole. I think I can over come the need for one by extending the height of my winch pulley. I've got a few ideas and will work on that this week. It should be far more cost effective.
I have a Hobie Wave and it's a snap to raise the 20' mast and cleat it off with the halyard while I pin the front stay. This Nacra mast is a beast compared to the Wave's and it's small compared to a 33' mast...
I'll get it worked out soon enough. I'd just like to get it right without a lot of experimenting.
A mast rotator might work. On a boomless boat it should point forward, therefore no risk of damaging the tramp. I would try with somebody on the tramp the first time though, not sure if it would work smoothly. I never use mine for sailing but it's quite nice to prevent mast rotation on a buoy or on the trailer if you move it around with the mast up.