A Multi-step Mast Step

Stepping the mast on a sailboat seems to be an intimidating and difficult task to me.  Well, at least, ever since I learned that magical sailing unicorns and wind pixies didn’t place the masts on deck under the cover of darkness.  How does one raise a huge mast and bolt it into place? Today we address those fears and get it done!

In similar fashion to all the projects so far, we will learn by doing. We’re a couple of engineers, I a mechanical engineer and Dave an electrical engineer. So you know a lot of planning went in to this before we even lifted a finger. Nevertheless, we still encountered some surprises and the day went longer than expected. As they say, even a bad day of boating beats a good day in the office. In this case, the the boating wasn’t even on the lake and just in the boatyard.

Oh and hey, I know there is no such thing as sailing unicorns that do magical mast stepping! I am well aware that the pixies do all the work!

After an hour or so of trailering along on the interstate, Just Enough sits safely in the boatyard, ready to raise the mast.

In fair warning, this post is not a how-to in stepping the mast, but rather an anecdote of our experience. Well, and some lessons learned at the end, so it may be more useful than I think. Nevertheless, I’ll post more how-to articles when we gain the experience and expertise to warrant speaking on the topic.

Working on Just Enough is a unique and enlightening process. When Dave acquired the boat, it came with a valuable bonus feature: the previous owners. No, they weren’t discovered trapped in the cabin after removing the hatch boards (thankfully). Instead, they “come with the boat” as actively involved, loving owners who want to continue enjoying the boat by sharing every last bit of knowledge they have about her.

We received an incredibly detailed list of steps, ideas and suggestions from Arly, one of the previous owners, with his take on stepping the mast.

(I need to find that and list it here!)