Haulout and Mast Lowering

It just so happens that Maine gets cold in the winter and sailing with numb hands is not fun. So, rather than move to some place warm, we pull our boats out of the water for "scheduled maintenance". (So why do we stay in Maine? For the skiing of course! Sailing and skiing seasons don't overlap thank goodness.) So after a couple of bone chilling sails I decided that it was time to haul out for the season (plus my slip rental was up at the end of October). After reading all the wonderful advice from the Tanzer Group and reading the "Tanzer Talk" newsletters I decided to try the single-handed mast lowering using the spinnaker pole as a gin pole. Some of the approaches I read required extra brackets or braces or more than one person so I came up with a slight modification that I think makes it less complicated and easier.

The rigging consist of the spinnaker pole connected to the mast ring about 3 feet up from the deck. The other end is connected to the shackle on the jib halyard and it is raised until the spinnaker pole is horizontal. Lateral support is provided by taking the main halyard to the port chainplate and the spinnaker halyard to the starboard chainplate. At the chainplates I have rigged a single block with a shackle and I rove(?) the main and spinnaker halyards through these and lead them aft. I bent (meaning tied, I'm still learning the sailing language) on some genoa sheets to lenghten these lines so they can reach the genoa blocks, come up to the genoa winches and then back to the cleat. The reason for this is to provide a little give in the lines so as the mast is lowered the lines can stretch a little if the plane of supports is not exactly aligned (i.e. the reason I bent (meaning folded over, not straight anymore) the chainplates when raising the mast!). I also tied some lines from the fore end of the gin pole back to these blocks on the chainplates and just tied them off tight. This prevents the gin pole from moving sideways. Then the mainsheet tackle is connected from the fore end of the gin pole down to the forestay chainplate. This is pulled tight before the forestay is removed.

A mast crutch at the transom is necessary to prevent the mast from landing on the companionway hatch when the mast is lowered. I built a simple one out of 2x4's as shown in the pictures below. When everything was ready, I tightened the mainsheet, disconnected the forestay and shrouds, then uncleated the mainsheet. I was expecting the mast to start moving on its own but I actually had to give it a push to get it started. The 4:1 purchase of the mainsheet gives you great mechanical advantage and it was very easy to control the mast as it was being lowered. The process was much easier than I expected which goes to show you the value of planning, preparation, and the information that is available through the Class Association.

Every Picture Tells a Story...

  Click on the pictures below for a larger image
Rigged and ready to roll. It really didn't take too long to do.
  Rigged for lowering, forestay still connected
   
Here is the main sheet arrangment. I used a longer line so that if I had any problems I could move around the boat while holding the line. I probably didn't need to do this because I could use the jam cleat to hold the position. The 4:1 purchase allows you to remove the forestay without worrying about the mast moving.
  Mainsheet used for lowering, jibsheet tied to end of pole for side support
   
One concern I had was the spinnaker pole slipping on the mast ring and causing unwanted stress, torque, or jerking. I used a short piece of rope to hold the end in place. I didn't read anything to indicate that this was a problem but it's not hard to do and it wouldn't hurt. The pole did not move a bit during the process.
  Rope around mast ring to prevent pole from slipping sideways
   
Here is the block shackeled to the chainplate. The force pulling back is countered a bit by the force pulling forward so there isn't too much lateral force on the chainplate.
  Block shackled to chainplate where lower sidestay was removed
   
This shot shows that the pivot point of my temporary stays is almost directly in line with the pivot point of the mast. This should prevent any increase of forces as the mast is lowered because everything stays in the same plane.
  Note pivot point of side support lines aligns with mast bolt
   
This shows how the lines for the temporary side stays are made as long as possible to provide some strain relief as the mast is lowered. If things are aligned correctly this is probably not required.
  The genoa sheets are tied to the halyard side supports and lead back to winches and cleats.
   
View of the whole rig (boy, looks like a good day for sailing, what am I doing pulling the boat out?!)
  Jib halyard goes to bow end of pole, main halyard goes to port, spinnaker halyard goes to starboard
   
Shot of the mast showing the lower shrouds removed and the temporary ones using the halyards in place.
  Lower shrouds removed
   
This is my poor man's mast crutch. Just a couple of 2x4's bolted together. Support is gained by tying a line from the crotch to the main sheet pin and from the legs to the pushpit railings. This pushes the feet against the wall of the cockpit and the crutch is very solid. One advantage is that if the bolt is loosened up the 2x4's just fold up for easy storage.
  Simple mast crutch using 2x4's and tied to rail and mainsheet pin
   
Here's a nice side view of the whole boat.
  Side view of mast lowering rig
   
I motored over to the lift and was tempted to keep going but I was on a schedule.
  Ready for hauling
   
The people at South Port Marine are great! They are very friendly and helpful. That would be one of the main reasons for going back there next year.
  Adjusting the straps for such a tiny boat
   
I'm already going through withdrawal symptoms! I don't know how I'll get through the winter without sailing. I guess, working on the boat, doing website stuff, and trying to meet other sailors will do.
  Sad and excited at the same time!
   
I bought the boat mid summer so I wanted to get it in the water ASAP. I did nothing to the bottom before launching and I don't think anything had been done the previous 2 years. The bottom was pretty slimey but not too bad.
  I don't remember painting the bottom fuzzy green
   
My first haulout and I was not emotionally prepared for the end of the season. I have to view videos to try and keep me till next summer.
  No, go back in the water!
   
I was worried about what would happen to the keel because I did no preparation when launching. I can see where some new rust has developed but it's not too bad. A full keel job is planned for this spring using POR15.
  Keel didn't get too much worse than before
   
I grounded the first time I took the boat out and the mud stayed there for the rest of the season. Sticky stuff! No wonder it took me so long to get free.
  How did that mud get on the keel?
   
The rudder had more growth but I think it was due to more sunlight exposure. I wonder if anyone pulls the rudder when not sailing.
  Can you do my car while your at it?
   
I wasn't going to get a power wash at first because I read where it takes off some of the ablative paint because it is soft. I am not sure what is on the bottom but there is not a lot of build-up so I assume it is ablative. I will be redoing the bottom this spring so the power wash will eliminate some sanding and washing. It wasn't too expensive anyway.
  I don't want to be seen hauling a boat around town with a muddy keel
   
Ready for loading on the trailer.
  Clear for landing
   
My trailer has a slot for the keel and it has to fit in just right.
  Back, back...
   
I've been wondering how to re-do the bottom of the keel. Some people say it doesn't matter and just before launching the slap on some anti-fouling paint. I would like to do the POR on the bottom as well but I don't want to have to pay for a sling for a day. Not sure how to solve that problem yet.
  No, we can't wait here while you sandblast the keel
   
It's tough putting the boat on the trailer because the slings in the front line up with the pads on the trailer. The jack stands allowed the sling to be moved out of the way. Once we got it on the trailer we noticed their was no weight on the aft pads. Since my pads don't adjust and the boat did have weight on the aft pads when we launched I can only assume that the boat changed shape. I expect that since the boat was on the trailer for two years that the keel pushed up slightly (due to most of the weight being on the keel) which caused the aft end to settle on the pads. After being in the water for three months the keel dropped down a little so that when it was put back on the boat the aft end was a little higher. I might have to make the pads adjustable. In any case we just strapped it down tight and said good enough. I put shims in the back when I got home.
  It doesn't fit! The aft pads don't make contact!
   
Finally got to test the mast lowering rig. I tightened the mainsheet pulling the gin pole down, loosened the back stay, disconnected the forestay and shrouds and nothing happenned (that's a good thing!). I started to ease the main sheet and I actually had to push the mast a little to get it started. It lowered very easily and it did not take much effort on the main sheet. I stopped half way down to take pictures. Everything seemed very stable and nothing was too stressed. One thing that is important is to watch the stays to make sure they don't get hung up on anything. I removed the lifelines just in case but I don't think it was neccessary.
  Mast being lowered, it was too easy!
   
Here is the block position when the mast is down. Everything is still tight but not too tight. The key is to keep everything in the same plane as the pivot point (the mast bolt) so its geometric shape does not change when the mast is lowered.
  Making sure there is not too much stress on the chainplates
   
Forward view. The extra long line for the mainsheet helped because I could move around and still control the mast.
  Lower the mast with one hand, take pictures with the other
   
This is a good view showing the final position of everything. One important note is that the height of the mast crutch helps when the mast bolt is removed. If the crutch is too low, then the foot of the mast will kick up when the bolt is removed. Even with this set-up you have to be careful once the bolt is removed as the mast is moved forward to a more stable position. I put pipe insulation tubes on the bow pulpit and cockpit rails ahead of time to rest the mast on when I take it out of the crutch.
  Mast down, it was too easy!
   
Everything stowed and tied down. I take almost everything out of the boat first and make a separate trip home so that the boat is as light as possible and nothing bounces out of place. Last thing I need is the battery to break of the holder and spill acid all over the place. It is amazing how much stuff is in the boat! I filled the van and I just do day trips (I hope to do some cruising next summer!)
  Ready to roll home
   
Here we are back at the ranch. I mowed down part of the field so I can park the boat off the driveway for the winter. I hope it doesn't sink too low when the ground gets soft this spring.
  Let's see... winter storage cost is ZERO!

Now, let's see, what do I have for winter projects: re-do portlights, re-do all teak, replace or refinish all deck hardware including stanchion bases and cleats, replace cracked forward hatch, re-bed chainplates..... I have a feeling I will be making a lot of post on the Tanzer Yahoo Group!

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