“Pulling” the Mast!

Posted August 12, 2015

Click here for the next article, “Stepping the Mast”

Annapolis, MD—On July 27, we had the rig removed from Celebrate, our Taswell 58 at Jabin's Boat Yard.  Having just completed our World Circumnavigation, the mast needed new paint as it was shedding white powder on anyone going up it. On closer inspection by our rigger, Steve Madden of M Yacht Services, there were signs of minor corrosion where the winches, mast steps, and other fittings were attached—a sure sign the paint had deteriorated and the mast needed repainting before the corrosion caused structural damage.

In general, removing the mast involves disconnecting everything from the rig, then using a crane to lift the mast from the boat. In practice, it's a big job and on our boat the project took about 6 hours with 2 people, plus additional people for the crane work. On Celebrate, the mast is 77ft long and weighs 2,800 lbs with all the rigging and furlers.

Here are some details:

  • The mainsail, genoa and staysail were removed from their furlers.
  • Below decks, all the wiring to the mast was disconnected. On Celebrate, all the wiring was attached to a terminal block at the mast base except for the cable to the digital radar (installed in 2012) which had to be cut and will have to be re-attached with a connector when the mast is replaced.
  • Up the mast (via the main halyard), a sling was attached to the mast and wood reinforcements were inserted to keep the sling from damaging the mainsail track which projects about 2 inches from the mast. With a rig as heavy as ours, the sling position needs to be correct so the mast is reasonably balanced when it is lifted with the crane.
  • In the cockpit, all the halyards and control lines brought aft had to be pulled out and feeder lines fed in to facilitate re-rigging later.
  • All the lines going up the mast were then coiled and secured to the mast. The wiring was removed from the electric genoa furler The Spartite/Starboard sandwich around the mast at the deck was sealed with Silicone which was removed..
  • All the shroud and backstay turnbuckles were marked with tape and then loosened so their pins could be removed after the crane arrived.
  • The crane arrived and was attached to the boom which was then lifted off and placed on a dolly after freeing the vang which was supporting the boom. With our in-boom furling, the boom is heavy, perhaps 500 lbs.
  • The crane was attached to the mast sling and all the shrouds were detached from the chainplates. The freed backstay allowed the mast to bend forward enough to remove the pins to free the genoa and staysail furlers.
  • The crane started to lift the mast.Then it was fount that the Spartite was attached to the deck collar more than it is attached to the mast so the Spartite stayed in place while the mast is lifted. This meant that the wiring had to be pulled to lead out of the bottom of the mast rather than a side hole so it wouldn’t be jammed at the partners. A considerable amount of force is required to lift the mast with.the crane operator reporting a pull of over 3,300 lbs to get the mast free and only 2,800 lbs to lift the rig once it was clear of the deck
  • Finally, the mast was free of the deck so the genoa and staysail furlers could be swung over the lifelines and secured to the mast. The mast swung gracefull over the waiting carts and was lower gently in place.

The project ran smoothly with many thanks due to the work by MYacht (Steve, JD, John) and the crane work at Jabin’s Boat Yard, Annapolis.

Removing the Boom

Attaching the crane and the view of the mast/deck joint

The mast comes slowly out of the deck

Moving the mast to the waiting carts