Mast Raising and Other Things

BY DAN ROGERS - DIAMOND LAKE, WASHINGTON - USA

Like a beautiful Phoenix Bird.  Up from the ashes of neglect, and unfortunate decisions.

Poor little Lady Bug has been sitting patiently, here and there.  Now, and then.  Cold and hot.  Wet and not-so-wet.  I finally made it her turn in the barrel.  And, high time for that.

A proper cooling water barrel, a workable lift, a well-thought-out assembly procedure and special made appliances to help with the job.  And, presto!

Mr. Nissan is ensconced, and apparently, happy with his surroundings.

And, that’s a very encouraging sign.  Because I have been working toward this bend in our common road for nearly a decade.  But, I think it’s time to revisit some old inventions.  Stuff that has taken longer than a decade to arrive at.  Much hole drilling, much moving of things.  But, some things seem to have worked out.  Pretty much from the getgo.

I met a guy on a launch ramp a month or so ago.  Fern Ridge, with the COOTS.  He told me his name was Captain Dufus.  Seems he can claim sinking the same boat, twice.  And, I do have to agree, that sort of notoriety might be best left at the door.  Anyhow, we got to talking about who had the better mast raising system.  Of course, I do.  And, I told him I‘d send pictures.  (Just as soon as I got the sticks and muck and detritus of two winters dug out and hosed off.)  Speaking of Dufus’.  I figure it’s too hot today to go sailing.  A day fit for mad dogs and Englishmen out in the noonday sun.  So, I went out in that 100-degree noonday sun to make these shots.  Now, I’m busy slopping aloe on my extremities and wondering about dufusness.

Stuff that seems to be still state of the art.  Mast raising.

Lady Bug has a modified beach cat rig, about 6 feet longer than the original – to support a full-battened main and a flat-cut jib.  She also has an extended rudder with a six-foot tiller to manage some of the wee-haw forces incumbent in such a potential overpowering.  It takes a lot of strings and wires to hold all that in place and move it where I think it should be moved.  But, there’s a plan to this apparent chaos.  For starts, both mast and boom stow off-center to allow for simple access in and out of the companionway.  This also allows for motoring trips on the water, without having the sticks crowding the cockpit.

Getting started is a simple matter of sliding and rolling.  No real lifting.   The foot gets pinned with a loosely fit ½” bolt thru the tabernacle that I made out of a couple chunks of scrap aluminum channel.  The lifting A-frame resides permanently on the foredeck, and pivots on some homemade chain plate and thrust-bearing contrivances that also mount the inner shrouds that stiffen the upright mast, and control its tendency to lay over to one side or the other when raising.  This constantly-messed-with mast also has internal halyards to eliminate at least some of the tangle of cordage.

The mast crutch also has homemade rollers set at an angle to keep the mast oriented and the shrouds, lazy jacks, halyards, etc., contained until they come taut.

The bi-pod attaches to what will become an inner forestay when the stick is upright.  The two-part tackle is led aft to a cabin top halyard winch.  Just crank it up.

This works both in the water and on the trailer.  Rolling about at anchor, even.

The head stay waits patiently until it’s time to fasten it to a multi-part tackle at the stem head.  Both the head stay and inner forestay are tensioned with tackles and jamb cleats.  Presto.  The rig is up and no need for split rings, turn buckles, none of that stuff you’re likely to drop overboard.

Still working.  Still, petty much untried by just about anybody else.  If your macaroni-rigged boat takes longer than 30 minutes to launch and sail away, then I’d suggest trying some of this stuff.

Just gotta dill some holes…




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