Scott Laughlin here. I've read several posts on solo mast stepping and one common problem that nobody has posted a solution to is that last effort to place the ball into the socket after the mast is almost up. I even broke the mast base off one time because of this mis-alignment. To solve this problem I drilled another hole in my mast base to line up with the Hobie 14 hole. Mine is a Hobie 16. This way, I use two pins - or screwdrivers in my case. Now my mast ball goes right in the socket every time with no panicking or pulling back on the mast, etc. Here's a photo:
Last edited by cookwithgas; 10/08/0709:48 AM.
-- Have You Seen This? --
Re: One-person mast stepping
#34882 10/08/0710:14 AM10/08/0710:14 AM
I see you are also from NC. Where do you sail? Right now all the lakes are so low I have about given up for the season. The coast is a little too far from me to drag the boat right now especially with the cost of gas.
The bamboo sounds like a good idea. I happened to have the tent poles handy when I made the tripod. I drilled holes near the top and about a foot from the bottom. I tied the top together and put a loop at the bottom holes to keep the legs from spreading. Once you get used to setting up solo, it is hard to adapt to someone trying to help. It upsets the routine. The biggest problem to avoid is having the shrouds and wires hook on something as you raise the mast. Another pitfall is having a shroud twisted on a shackle on the mast. It will put a bend in the wire and require that you replace it. That can happen even with someone helping.
I sail a few places around here. Mostly for the short trips, and most frequent, I go to the Bladen County Lakes. They have three of them, and they are all relatively small, but they are under an hour drive from where I live, just outside of Fayetteville. There is Baytree, (private lake), it's become much harder to get in there now that they have changed their entrance policy, you either have to be a resident or a friendly resident has to be there to let you in. Then there is White Lake, kind of a narrow but long lake. Their boat access isn't very sailboat friendly and the best idea there is to get in the know with someone with lake from property so you can use their portion of beach. Then there is Jones Lake, pretty small (smallest of the three) at just 260 acres but fun in it's own way. I think it is a good lake to drill on because of it's size, a lot of tacking and jybing. The good thing about it is the boat access is a beach, it's free year-round, and they don't allow boats with over a 10 hp motor. All these lakes are shallow though, which could be a positive or a negative depending on the situation. And your right, this has been quite a drought down here in NC this year, everything but the beaches are low.
Then, when I can I take it in the ocean. There, location isn't nearly as important to me.
How about you, where do you normally sail. Where in NC are you located?
Ok. This is how I step my mast solo on the trailer. Let's see if I can remember all these steps, sorry for the details, I hope it doesn't sound more complex than it really is.
1. The first thing I always do is tighten my drain plugs and put a mast chip in as soon as I park the truck. That is always first.
2. I leave the boat on the trailer with the tow straps on and the trailer still attached to the truck, and undo all of my bungees.
3. I set up the tripod mentioned earler behind the boat.
4. I slide the mast down the support until I can manage it and postion the base on the tramp and hand walk to the top of the mast where I position it on the tripod. This makes attaching the step pin really easy.
5. Attach the pin.
6. Attach trap wires, I don't trailer with them on. I feel it's easier to just undo the shackle, coil them, and stick them back in the box.
7. A make sure the shrouds are attached at the top of the chin pate, If I didn't go ahead and do that the last time I trailered the boat. I adjust them just after the mast is steped.
8. Then, and this is something I'll change after reading the posts on this topic. I attach a line to the forestay with shackle fasten into the forestay loop. I think attaching it to the jib halyard makes waaaay more sense, thanks.
9. Run the line to a pully fastened to the mast support on the trailer.
10. Run that line through a jib cam cleat.
11. Make sure all the wires, (trap and shrouds) are in order and laying on the tramp with all the slack pulled near the tramp to reduce the chance they will hang on the rudders. It sucks to get the mast half way up by yourself and then have to put it back down because a wire gets tangled.
12. Get on the tramp and take in as much of the "raising line" slack as possible and then stick it in the pocket for quick access.
13. Then I just grap the mast from the back of the tramp and raise it.
14. I put my weight into the mast and cleat the raising line off. I usually tie the excess of to a hiking strap with a simple knot as a fail safe.
15. Get off the boat and attach the forestay.
16. Remove the raising line by undoing the shackle attached to the forestay loop, and remove the stepping link pin.
17. Then to adjust the shrouds, and this is a trick I picked off of the Hobie forums, I put on my harness and hook into the trappeze standing to the side of the boat and use my weight to keep the mast up while I adjust the shroud.
18. Repeat. Hoist the sails. Hook up the sheeting equip and tiller stick and shove off. This process really doesn't take all that long after it's been done a few times. I think a lot of it boils down to finding a routine and keeping to it, as well as trailering the boat with that routine in mind.
James 1983 Hobie 16'
Re: One-person mast stepping
#34885 10/09/0708:59 AM10/09/0708:59 AM
I am in Winston-Salem and usually sail on Jordan Lake with my Hobie. I also have a Cape Cod catboat that I keep on Kerr Lake but wasn't able to get it in the water this year. Kerr is the largest lake in Virginia and extends a few miles into NC. It is half again bigger than Lake Norman and controlled by the Corps of Engineers so there aren't many houses around it. I am closest to Lake Norman but it is so built up and crowded that it is too dangerous. I have taken the boat to Emerald Isle and one year, had a week there of perfect sailing weather. I'm hoping for some rain to fill the lakes.
Right on. I've been wanting to try out Jordan Lake, and have heard some of the same things. I'll be attending a little 16 regatta there the first weekend in November, let me know if you are interested in more information. I have heard good things about Kerr Lake, quite a bit of a drive for me, and have also wanted to try out Gaston. I vacation and have family in Emerald Isle, but haven't taken the boat there yet. I've heard that there is a really good boat access to the sound near Indian beach/Salter Path, where there is a good stretch of open water. And your right about the rain, we need a lot of it. I figure that as hot and dry as it has been here we'll probably have one of those cold, wet, nasty winter.
There are some problems with Gaston Lake. First it is narrow and long and there is a causeway splitting the lake so sailboats are limited to one side or the other. Then there is a problem with hydrilla - weeds that choke up the lake, and the lake is crowded with homes all around it. It is relatively small. The good part about it is that the level is maintained at +/- a foot if possible by getting water from Kerr Lake. Kerr can fluctate quite a bit.
I am thinking about the regatta at Jordan also but it depends on how much rain we get to fill it back up.
i use a similar method raising solo but here are the differences.
After pinning the masthinge, I tie a length of 1/4 rope (10ft) to the thimble on the end of the forestay.
There is a shackle that I have mounted to bar on the trailer just above the winch. I run the line through that shackle on the trailer. This is my forward anchor point. I take the line back to the tramp and climb up on the boat.
I put this line loosely in my pocket. I go to the back beam and pick up the mast facing aft making sure the shrouds clear the corner casings.
If you pick it up smoothly and make a turn to put it on your shoulder, the effort required is not that bad. Now push the mast up. You might have to pull the bottom back a bit to get it to fall in the socket.
Once in the socket, lean on the mast to get it forward as the shrouds will allow.
Remember that line in your pocket? Pull it out, pull the slack and use a cleat on the mast to tie it off. Use the figure eight on the cleat.
Hop of boat pick up bridle wires (with plate) match up with plate on forestay and insert another shackle, pin ect.
Go uncleat the 1/4 line off the mast and untie from thimble
Hey hrtsailor, I forgot to mention in my other posts that if you are ever heading back down to Emerald Isle to sail let me know. I've really been wanting to take the boat down there but I usually like to have another boat on the water with me when I sail in the sound/ocean. If you let me know enough in advance my family/aunt has a cottage down there off of Coast Guard Dr. where I normally stay. You can contact me at james060583 at aol dot com.
James 1983 Hobie 16'
Re: One-person mast stepping
#34893 03/09/0810:13 AM03/09/0810:13 AM
i made a 'gin pole' mast stepper from a tapered (spar quality) 2 x 4. i looked at the 'mast stepper' diagrams and figured it out. its sooo much more relaxing to just crank the mast up with a wench...i mean winch ; ) doing the work. i remember too many times hoisting the mast over my head while wobbling around on the tramp, then having a shroud get hung up on a rear corner post. then what??? with the 'gin pole' mast stepper, i can raise and lower it as much as i want, clear the shrouds, drink a beer and have a conversation, whatever. no stress, matey. i made mine from scraps, i imagine the commercial version is even better.
heres a link http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2778577940053419764CtTtxd this is a proof of concept prototype, maybe it could use a coat of paint? : ) the procedure is to use the bipod to suupport the back of the mast so it can be pinned. run the jib halyard through the gin pole slot and mount the bottom end of the gin pole to the base of the mast. the gin pole should be vertical at this stage. tie the gin pole sidestays to the front corner castings. tie the trapeze wires to the front corner castings tie the winch line (1/4" dacron) to the jib halyard with a clove hitch (do you trust your knots?) just above the jib halyard thimble. this keeps the thimble unobscured so the bridle can be attached after the mast is raised.
Crank it up! then attach the bridle to the jib stay. i guess thats clear as pluff mud, but its very simple to do and... it works!
Hi! I'm a new comer to your forum, and I stumbled upon it looking for suggestions for one person mast stepping. Thank you guys for posting such detailed instructions! I can't wait to try it out and figure out what I can work with. Also, has anyone tried one of those righting bags that fill with water so you can right the boat alone? I'm thinking of getting one but was hoping to hear some opinions first... Thanks again!
Perfect! And much gentler on the old wallet... Thanks!
Keep in mind that the Blades Pete is referring to weigh like half as much as your H-16, or something ridiculous like that. <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> I doubt a couple of gallons of water will do it for you. In other words, I'm recommending you forget the Alabama trash bag.....see if you can find a Texas-sized one!
Seriously, search this forum for righting and you'll see some other options. I have the large Murray's bag. It's an expensive PITA, but it works....every time!
Whatever system you choose to try, practice with it under controlled conditions with help available. Light wind is generally considered worst-case since, with proper technique, the wind helps you right. You need to be confident your system will work when you really need it!