Lifting an unstayed mast

  • 06 Jun 2018 09:53
    Reply # 6288024 on 6274594

    A small tip. Find the balance point of the mast and mark it, this is where the sling will go. You will find tilting the mast to vertical before stepping will be a lot easier.

  • 05 Jun 2018 12:10
    Reply # 6285933 on 6274594

    I use an icicle hitch to lift my Corribee's mast, part of my sheer legs setup. This hitch can be found in the Grog's knots app. 

  • 31 May 2018 09:09
    Reply # 6274896 on 6274594
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    As the photo to the left shows, a tight rolling hitch holds the hoisting line well enough (enlarge photo). I have used it several times. However, if you can’t make a rolling hitch, then David’s suggested hose-clamp sounds good.

    More important is that you dress the mast correctly with all the lines before stepping it, or you will have to step it more than once  -  or climb to the mast top to do fixes.

    On the photo to the left, you can also spot a wooden stick, tied to the mast. That is my ‘dummy yard’. I tie the (one or) two blocks for the halyard’s slingpoint to this stick. Then, with the mast still horizontal, I bring this ‘yard’ to the ‘hoisted’ position, near the mast top. This lets me reeve the halyard and ensure that I have made no faults, even without twisting my brain to get it right. Finally, I pull the dummy yard down and tie it to the mast  a bit above deck level.

    On the photo to the right the shackles are about to be secured with twine. Don’t forget.

    Good luck!



  • 31 May 2018 08:45
    Reply # 6274889 on 6274888
    David Tyler wrote:

    You can use this hose clamp to fix the mast coat, if it's a good stainless steel one.


  • 31 May 2018 08:40
    Reply # 6274888 on 6274594

    The crane lifts from a loose loop that goes around the mast above its CG, as Graeme says, so the only problem is how to secure a line from that loop to the slippery mast at just above deck level. At the diameter of your 130mm mast, Jami, the easy solution is a 130mm hose clamp (or two smaller ones linked together). Then you can tie the lifting line around the mast just below it. You can use this hose clamp to fix the mast coat, if it's a good stainless steel one.

    Actually, two rolling hitches, close together, generate quite enough grip to lift a small mast, especially if the end is duct taped to the mast.

    Last modified: 31 May 2018 08:51 | Anonymous member
  • 31 May 2018 06:43
    Reply # 6274669 on 6274594

    I have had the mast lifted out of Footprints. I can't remember the specific details because it was a few years ago, but it can have only been a sling around the mast which pulled tight as the lift was applied, because there is nowhere on the mast to physically fasten a loop to stop it sliding up the mast. Footprints has a heavily tapered mast so all the weight is at the lower end of the mast, so keeping the mast upright was not a problem. The lifting point was also not that far up the mast. Anyway it came out, and went back in again. The bottom of the mast was just sitting in a mortise and once the wedges were removed at the partners there was nothing holding the mast down so it lifted up very easily. Despite being quite a big chunk of mast, (300 mm diameter at the partners), the mast is surprisingly light, so that may have helped.

    Last modified: 31 May 2018 06:56 | Anonymous member
  • 31 May 2018 06:03
    Reply # 6274624 on 6274594

    Fasten the lifting rope at any convenient point down near to the heel of the mast.

    At the point where the spreaders would have been (or any point which is above the centre of gravity) you need a loose loop around the mast and lifting rope, so the mast is now effectively in a sling. A half hitch in the lifting rope would do it, but you have to arrange things so it can all slide down easily when you have finished. The crane hook, of course, has to be higher than this point, but does not have to be as high as the full height of the mast. I used to lift yacht masts frequently when I had a hiab truck and I just want to say be careful though and make sure the loop is sufficiently above the centre of gravity because when you lift the mast it will not be absolutely vertical and any halyards which swing out to one side can unbalance the mast if you are close to the balance point. You should have a tail rope on the heel anyway, and a second person standing by to help if necessary.

    I once had a mast lean slightly one way and the weight of all the rigging and halyards out to one side was enough to capsize it - it very quickly went through 180 degrees, fell out of the sling, landed on its head and fell down with a crash, luckily between another boat and a group of gaping bystanders. That's why, if you are lifting with a crane, it is a good idea to have a second person on the end of a rope controlling the heel, and just take it carefully and you'll be OK. I expect your crane driver will know all that, anyway.

    (If you have a tall mast and a low crane you can actually lift from a point lower than the CoG - provided you have a GOOD person controlling the heel. But I don't recommend it and your mast will not be that high anyway.)

    Last modified: 31 May 2018 06:20 | Anonymous member
  • 31 May 2018 05:25
    Message # 6274594

    When lifting a bermudan mast with a mast crane, very often the lift is done using webbing/rope around the mast at the spreaders. This makes it possible and easier to lift, especially if the mast is tall and the crane is not.

    How does one lift an unstayed mast, if it is not possible to do this by lifting from the mast top?

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