Reducing the height of masts without cutting them (yet)

  • 13 Sep 2011 17:09
    Reply # 698511 on 683275

    Thanks for your thoughts. As I said earlier in the thread, the sails are by Chris Scanes. Any sail would have been damaged by an electric winch going full blast. If the eyelets prove weak points we can always try webbing. I've kept up with Arne's input on Yahoo but have just about given up with that site - this one is so much more informative, interesting and literate. And what nice colours too!

  • 05 Sep 2011 11:48
    Reply # 692288 on 691859
    Brian Kerslake wrote:

    We did a trial sail a couple of days ago and pulled out an eye in the front of the second from top panel of the mainsail - my fault as I didn't spot a luff hauling parrel snag and continued winching with the electric winch.

    Hi Brian

    Did you build the sails yourself or did you get someone else to do it? The point is that eyeleets are often a weak point and it seems better to sew on webbing loops. I have no eyelets in my sails and therefore have had no trouble. Arne also does not use metal in his sails.

    Cheers, Slieve

  • 05 Sep 2011 07:32
    Reply # 692237 on 683275
    Oh those creases, those creases!  In the end I said bu**** it - I'll get rid of what I can and live with the rest.  You soon get used to them :-)
  • 04 Sep 2011 14:16
    Reply # 691859 on 683275
    Hi Kurt

    I'd be be interested to know what the 'scary story' was!

    Fascinating that reducing mast height had little impact on any rolling. Is that true both at sail and at anchor?

    Yes, our Freedom 39 carbon masts seem immensely strong and stiff, though a rigger I used commented on how much they seemed to move/vibrate when he was up there. They're each designed to be capable of having the boat hauled over 90 degrees. I'll post some pictures of the new rig when I figure out how, all alongside the pontoon, sadly.

    We did a trial sail a couple of days ago and pulled out an eye in the front of the second from top panel of the mainsail - my fault as I didn't spot a luff hauling parrel snag and continued winching with the electric winch. Think I'll pull the fuse (or try for a new brain). We continued under just the foresail and got 5 knots in 15 knots at about 60 degrees to the wind, which was very pleasing. Could tack through 50 cm slop on both tacks which would have been impossible on our Sunbird with just foresail. Bodes well for Chris Scane's cambered panels but can see anti-creasing being fun.

    It would indeed be good to meet up with Flutterby, whose owners once looked over our Sunbird with a view to buying, before they settled on a Freedom 35.

    Thanks for all your comments. The masts will stay tall (and hopefully mighty) for some time, I think!

    Brian,  Paradox, Portland Marina, UK.
  • 26 Aug 2011 05:37
    Reply # 685084 on 683275
    Hi Brian,

    I made a rough estimate and then cut 11' off our mainmast and 9' off our foremast, before completing repairs and reinforcements to the blinking things. We made a party of it, celebrating the end of our unsafe unstayedness. (Scary story omitted...)

    Then I designed the junk rig. Like your boat, ours gained considerable sail area. I've occasionally wished for another foot on each, for greater drift to the yard sling. But no regrets. She kept virtually the same slow roll rate, and the sticks are much stiffer and more secure.

    Your masts are probably so stiff and strong, and your topmasts so light they could stay over-height forever and not be noticed. Plus, if you ever sail near Flutterby, you might want to add a few sail panels for a race!

    Best of luck,
  • 24 Aug 2011 21:08
    Reply # 683911 on 683275
    Hi Kurt and David

    Many thanks for your really helpful comments. I like all the suggestions, but the one I like best is Kurt's 'leave it 'til later' thought; there's plenty of other stuff to do for sure.

    Just for info, being a Freedom there's no shortage of halyards on each mast. The main hangs from the old flag halyard's 'suspender', the flag halyard is where the staysail used to haul, and I've moused the old in-mast main halyard. S no problem setting up a safety halyard to 'climb' a mast! I'll leave all 'as is' and see how it works. When the time comes to pull the masts I'll saw the tops off if feeling courageous and if it it looks beneficial. Guess it would help reduce any rolling.

    Cheers David, und guten Abend, Kurt!


    Last modified: 24 Aug 2011 21:12 | Anonymous member
  • 24 Aug 2011 08:49
    Reply # 683522 on 683275
    Hello Brian,

    Either method could work, it seems to me. 

    Strop-and-loop - prevents any wringing of the mast, like a long drift does. Rotating is natural there, and tension on the halyard ought to untwist it. Material against chafe would matter a great deal. 
    It's inexpensive and fun to set up, and non-committal.

    Clamped-on-band - adds to the fun! 
    Working with dimensions, and handling nuts and washers and sikaflex at great heights, and swapping halyards while hanging from halyards... 
    Plus it heightens motivation to do it right, because it's going to be there forever. 
    Perhaps attaching something worthy of becoming the new masthead fitting after mast-shortening would be a wise thing.

    In either case, the top halyard block is likely to bang and chafe the mast, until you invent a solution for that. 
    And in either case, you'll need a second stout halyard for going aloft to the masthead.

    Since this is a place, if any place is, for 'If it were me' comments... 

    I'd leave the extra rope in the halyard and the head on the mast until... a suitable time. Then cut all to fit.


    Last modified: 24 Aug 2011 08:56 | Anonymous member
  • 24 Aug 2011 04:03
    Reply # 683400 on 683275
    I'd go for a clamped-on band, Brian. At the foot of my mainmast, I have a band of 100 x 5mm alloy, clamped to the mast with M10 bolts, which carries all the downhaul blocks. The load on those would not be as much as on a halyard, but I think it could take a much greater load than it does. Add to that the fact that yours would be on a tapered part of the mast and couldn't come downwards, and I think you'd be safe. Clamped down onto a bed of Sikaflex, it couldn't move.
  • 24 Aug 2011 00:57
    Message # 683275
    I'm just finishing converting my Freedom 39 schooner to junk and the sailplan I have, which includes an allowance for a staysail that the mainmast could carry, leaves about 15 feet spare on the main mast and 8 to 10 feet on the foremast. At the moment the halyards run from the top of each carbon fibre mast, so they are much longer than they need to be. Has anyone come up with a way of attaching halyards lower down the masts?

    I guess a stainless band could be made and fixed to the mast at the desired suspension point, but I'm reluctant to screw/rivet/bolt anything to the masts so near their bendy tops. I seem to remember that Arne once suggested slinging a wire from the top of the mast and hanging a wire or tape strop that encircles the mast from that wire, with the halyards hanging off that. Somehow I can't see that working as the strop would rotate around the mast. Any other ideas? Not urgent, but in the 'would be nice' category to lose about 40 feet of main halyard!

    Brian Kerslake, Paradox, Portland Marina, UK
    Last modified: 24 Aug 2011 00:59 | Anonymous member
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