So far I have raised and lowered the mast on my brand new to me Prindle 18-2 once. Enough to convince me a gin pole may be a good idea. I came across a place called West Coast Sailing that is sorta Hobie oriented with some options that may only fit on a Hobie. This seems to be a more generic one]seems to be a more generic one; not really a gin pole but it does seem like it would provide an easier raising and lowering of the mast.
This one seems to be specific to a Hobie, but I am not sure how the fitting to put the gin pole is attached to the base of the mast.
I am also open to other ideas. Truth be told I am sure the more times I do it the easier it will be to lower and raise the mast. Another option may be to simply use an upright 4X4 with a roller at the top to constrain the line/strap attached to the fore stay and a couple of 2X4s at the bottom to stabilize the contraption.
Any advice welcome.
If there is a second person you can put him/her on the winch to pull a trap wire, just to ease your task. It can be even a child or somebody passing by. That makes a lot of difference and is much simpler.
I haven’t tried a gin pole, I was considering it until I started using the winch.
as long as you don't need to rotate your mast 90* for stepping these systems work well
I have set up and used an ez-step (III) on my h18 (https://westcoastsailing.…/hobie-mast-stepper-iii/)
it was a major pita to get set up but once set up did make self stepping "easier"
drawback - it doubled my rigging time everytime
the one you show puts the jin pole on the trailer - the one i had adds it to the mast base
You could certainly make your own pole - wood or metal but these one's are proven to work and have all the straps to avoid sway.
What i do *(and most of us regulars around where i sail) - turn the boat around on your trailer
now that mast can be pinned on the ball and the trailer mast yoke will hold your mast up at a much more favorable angle for stepping. you can now get under it at the rear beam and it will be around shoulder height.
this is a huge benefit for stepping . the hardest part is getting it out of horizontal - and that is done.
the only hard part is once it is stepped - how to secure it to the furler.
on my cat, i have a spin halyard that i tie off (prior to stepping) on the furler ring and once stepped i secure that line, walk off the bow and finish rigging
here is my buddy lowering his mast with this setup
I did have a second person helping me raise the mast; keep in mind this was my first time doing this. The final process I used was to place the mast base close to the ball and then have the SP (Second Person) place a step ladder close to the top of the mast and then put the top of the mast at the top of the step ladder. Then the SP got on the tramp with me and the mast was high enough we could raise it with little problem. At that point the SP stayed on the tramp and I climbed down and attached the fore stay to the furler. It took about two hours of both of us moving things and talking before we arrived at this process. Next time I am sure it will be a five or ten minute process.
Lowering the mast was also a learning experience. I used a come along instead of a winch since I had one on my big boat. What we finally did was attach the strap of the come along (secured to the back of my van) to the fore stay and then place the step ladder between the trailer and van so it was functioning as a gin pole on the trailer with the strap on top of it (definitely gonna put a roller on top of the ladder, something I saw on a youtube vid). Truth be told the come along was probably not needed since not a lot of effort was required to let the strap out. It was shocking how much less effort was needed with the strap on top of the ladder as opposed to not using the ladder. I will definitely use a winch the next time instead of a come along since the winch is a continuous letting the strap out while the come along does it with a kind jerk.
As to the E-Z Step (III) what concerned me was that it seems Hobie specific. It was not clear to me if it would conform to the curve of a Prindle mast as opposed to the curve of a Hobie mast. West Coast Sailing bills the E-Z Step (II) as a more generic product. The only what I would call Hobie specific parts were the two wires attached to the forward cross arm to stabilize the mast so it does not swing off line. I saw a vid where a guy used a line attached to the mast rotating control to help keep the mast in the proper position when raising the mast.
I have to say while I have spent the better part of two afternoons raising and lowering the mast for the first time it was worth it in terms of what I learned and I am sure the process will be much quicker as I get more experience. Here is a link to a pix of the ladder and the boat. It is a ten foot model.
couple suggestions: as i mentioned in the SA thread - you probably should be (if you weren't) connected to a car while stepping otherwise there is a good chance you will pop a wheelie while trying to step - this is enough to cause someone to fall / drop a mast - this is not a good thing
If you have a ladder and 2 people -you don't need a jin pole or other - just pin the mast, place on ladder then both people on tramp step the mast
actually - you don't even need a ladder with 2 people (but the ladder does help)
and if you turn your boat around ... you don't even need the ladder
Pretty sure this will fit on most cat masts . not hobie specific
the 2 wires are trap wires and not hobie specific
the guy with the line on the rotation limiter is for a mast that is stepped on it's side (most nacras)
i am not certain how your 18-2 steps (standard or rotated 90*) but i think it is standard and should be fine
The 18-2 mast rotates 90 degrees to raise.
I had the boat strapped down on the trailer to prevent a wheelie.
One thing I have noticed is that not everyone has the same definition of two guys. As you can see from the pix my friend standing on the tramp is not in the best physical condition and I may be even in even worse shape. Not to mention after a hard day of sailing or being in a rush to get the boat in the water folks may not be at their best. When I was in my 20s I could do a lot of things my age now prevents me from doing. On the other hand my first reaction after getting on the tramp and lifting the mast for the first time was to make sure the straps were snug to keep the boat level on the trailer.
I will call West Coast Marine when it opens to day. You seem happy with yours which is a good sign to me since you have been very helpful and have a lot more experience than I do.
Gotcha - that complicates it for sure - both in keeping it in line during stepping and how to stabilize it from side to side (with a jin pole)
the entire trailer will pop a wheelie - tongue in the air - this is not an earth ending experience (i have done it several times) but it can startle you enough or knock around someone not expecting it - with an extrusion in hand - can go bad - I would strongly suggest in a public setting (where others are at risk) you either do it with the trailer attached to the hitch or take the entire boat off the trailer and do it while in the dirt/sand/etc: This method may actually solve your issues. if on the ground you can still use the trailer mast yoke to hold the mast in about the same angle as the ladder ...
I understand not being 20 anymo' - i am 51
but i still feel 2 relatively healthy adults can step a mast sans jin-pole but there is no need to push it if you aren't sure
1. when i owned a ez-step (over a decade ago) it was helpful but presented several challenges
a. setting it up was a beast - it took about 2 dozen attempts before it was correct - i suggest you do this on a day when the weather is perfect (i did it on the beach when it was about 4000*) and you have lots of time and patience
getting the stabilizer straps right was the issue - off by a .0000000001% made it swing out of line (risking the mast base)
b. once the mast was up - getting the forestay off the winch and still able to attach it to the furler was a challenge. i don't recall the solution but using the hobie style furer with an adjuster to pin it was a challenge for sure -
Due mostly to the 90* issue i might look for other options:
a. an electric winch on your bumper or trailer might work (we sail with a guy who solo's his gcat this way every time - looks real easy (and lazy) - if the winch has a remote you could stand on the tramp (to guide the mast up) as the winch is doing the work - then jump off when straight up and handle the forestay
b. a saftly line on the halyard can be a game changer: this would require the ladder or turn the boat around to get a "head start" on the mast angle. you on the tramp and second person holding a rope tied to the halyard. you lift/they pull. once vertical the helper either ties off the halyard to the furler or holds the saftey line as you get off the boat and take over (this is how i step my mast every time if someone is around)
Edited by MN3 on Sep 03, 2019 - 01:55 PM.
Gin pole on a trailer is simple. Suggest getting a section of galvanized fence post. I've used mine for years. Take the front trapeze wires and attach them to the front beam so that there is little side play in the mast, or it will fall to the ground sideways. To get over the tongue of the trailer lifting when not attached to a hitch you can put a few spare wheels under the back of the trailer, or even better, make a little wood jackstand to place under the rear crossbar of the trailer. I have my winch mounted on the tongue of the trailer, gin pole mounted at beam level on the trailer beam snubber vertical.
In the picture the gin pole is hanging down and forward. I attach the end of it to the bottom of the roller furler on the forestay, and attach the winch rope to the end as well. Once the mast is above 5 degees or so I just crank away. I do this solo quite often.
Edited by malcs on Sep 03, 2019 - 04:19 PM.
This is a link to a quick video of my powered mast stepping system. i trailer ev where so easy stepping and lowering is a deal.The line i am leaning against attach to, thru the righting line loops, the hiking cqables. the gin pole system here stays attached to the trailer and folds forward to lay flat on the trailer.
Edited by raisehull on Sep 04, 2019 - 05:53 PM.
A few comments on the electric winch system. First of all, that is pretty cool! I've built a few gin poles, and borrowed my ideas from others over the past 25 years. My current one has been working for 20 years without incident.
The triangle you need to keep the mast from falling sideways needs to be in-plane with the mast. The only way to do that is to take a pair of trap wires and attach them to the front beam. That way they will have the same tension at all angles as you raise the mast. You can easily do this by putting a strap eye at the ends of the beam, and just make something that hooks to a pulled-forward trapeze wires. Adding a second triangle made of Amsteel line that goes to the ginpole, and is in-plane with the gin pole is also a good idea. This all keeps the mast aligned, and the gin pole aligned.
Using an electric winch vs manual, and where to mount it: Stuff goes wrong almost every time the mast gets raised. Wires fall under the rudders, trap handles get stuck in the tramp lacing, wires ends get cocked and need to be straightened out. Using a manual winch gives you direct feedback, so you can react before something gets ripped off, a shroud gets kinked, etc. My preference is a manual bow winch. The winch can be mounted on the tongue around the location of the mast support. When lowering the mast nursing the first few cranks gives you another chance to observe what is going on.
If you don't have a captive mast ball you need to tie a short line from the bottom of the mast to the mast base. It isn't a bad idea to do this anyway, since the captive mechanisms often rely on the mast ball being glued on, or a small pin on a hobie, that can fail.
Hope this is helpful.
Edited by malcs on Sep 05, 2019 - 10:01 AM.
Still trying to figure out the engineering for my setup. First thing for me to consider is while I agree it is probably a great idea to raise/lower the mast with the boat on the ground that may not always be an option since sometimes you will be using a ramp to back the trailer into the water. So I would like a system that is flexible enough to raise/lower the mast with the boat on the trailer or on the ground. This seems to mean the gin pole would have to be attached to the mast or be something along the lines of what I will call a teepee system of maybe three 12 foot metal fence posts lashed at the top and put on the ground over the front of the trailer or in the alternative on the ground in front of the boat on the ground.
It also probably means that the winch (or maybe a come along) probably could not be mounted on the trailer; maybe a better place would be on an extension to the receiver for the trailer hitch. I am of two minds about using a manual winch or a come along. It is much easier to attach a come along to a solid object but I was not happy with the big jumps the come along produced lowering the mast. I am almost positive an electric winch is not a good idea since the feed back from a fouled wire might not be noticed till too late.
I am not sure a one size fits all solution to getting a boat from the trailer into the water exists; but I am gonna keep looking for one.
I don't agree at all:
your boat is a relatively big heavy cat and taking it off the trailer adds all sorts of extra steps and time
(getting the boat off the trailer without the mast means disconnecting all your stays, removing the mast and putting it on the ground, putting it back on the boat when it's on the ground and then reconnecting the stays once on the ground - or if you leave the mast on the boat while removing the boat ... you have to take the mast off the yoke and rest it on your beams - it will not play nice as you roll it down the rollers) plus adds scratches to your hull bottoms or the need for chocks)
if you don't have beach wheels - your bottoms will suffer and you will hate moving the boat around the beach
i suggest wheels for this boat regardless
IMHO A come along is not the right tool here - a winch is smooth, part of your trailer already and you can quick release anything attached (let the handle fly) in a pinch. i have seen masts swing wildly on a jin pole that isn't adjusted correctly - and i mean with 1/2 a turn of the winch handle it goes from straight to 10' out of position - you need to be able to smoothly correct this or risk mast base failure/mast falling. not sure if you could correct this with a come along
i would start of with a manual one for sure. yes there are plenty of times things get fouled but if you know what you are doing most issues can be predicted and observed and corrected
- come to think of it - the guy who uses an elec winch on my beach does it sans jin pole - he just attaches his forestay to the winch, gets on his gcat deck and uses the remote to active the winch. he stands behind the mast and guides it straight up while the winch does ALL the work. once up he gets down and handles the forestay connection
Edited by MN3 on Sep 05, 2019 - 12:16 PM.
The picture above is an on-trailer system. The gin pole attaches to the vertical post that has the rubber bumper on it that the beam hits against. In this picture the gin pole is hanging down. I can take a picture of it in action the next time I use it. It is dead simple. Hinge the gin pole to the trailer vertical at the height of the front beam, use a winch mounted on the tongue, temporarily tie the trap wires to the front beam to stabilize the mast. Picture of mine again:
The pole that is hanging down at 45 degrees facing forward is my gin pole. I made it from some fence post crammed into some Trailex square tubing, since I had that laying around. The gin pole should have a reinforced base where the pivot bolt goes through.
Also note that the trailer vertical must have a diagnal support at its base. You will see that at the base of it.
Best to make a tee-pee style support for the back (top) of the mast from bamboo, so that you can get the mast a bit above horizontal prior to cranking. Cranking it while it is horizontal puts a lot of stress on the mast base.
Edited by malcs on Sep 05, 2019 - 12:35 PM.
Another data point is Hobie 21 Sport Cruiser video on you tube.
That's how I sort of went with mine, but there's no 90 degree rotation. The concept is the same, however. One thing I do not like is that with the curved front beam (on mine), the trap wires either tighten or loosen as you lift, making me have to stop and adjust several times. That's kind of hairy on 36 feet of mast in the air. Placement of the gin pole is irrelevant as the trap lines anchor point is below the mast pivot point. Seems to all be about good geometry.
And when it goes wrong, but has a happy ending:
Wondering if Very strong stretchy cord/bungee with a slightly longer safety wire would work to compensate for the offset geometry on the front, curved crossbar?
Sorry, didn't mean to hijack-just thought lots of discussion on such a high safety sensitive topic would be good.