“Stepping” the Mast!

Posted September 30, 2015

Click here for the previous article, “Pulling the Mast”

Annapolis, MD—On September 28, the mast was reinstalled on Celebrate, our Taswell 58, at the Bert Jabin boatyard (called “stepping” the mast). We had our mast “pulled” for much-needed maintenance after our World Circumnavigation. We are very happy to be sailing again!

Why Pull Your Mast?

For general maintenance purposes, as Celebrate is 12 years old and just completed a World Circumnavigation, it was a good time to really examine the mast condition.

A major concern was deterioration of the paint. Mast paint is important because with our aluminum mast, all the stainless screws and fittings can cause corrosion which will weaken the mast if left unchecked. The primary symptom: I would return from a trip up the mast with white powder all over where the paint had rubbed off.

While the mast is out of the boat, you might find and repair:

  • Corrosion where fittings are attached to the mast
  • Fittings which are overstressed (bent or expanded holes)
  • Missing/loose hardware
  • Damaged/corroded standing rigging
  • Water damage in chainplates or surrounding deck
  • Damage to partners (where the mast meets the deck)
  • Damaged or tangled wiring inside the mast
  • Damage/corrosion to mast step (the plate which holds the “heel” of the mast)
  • Chafed running rigging

While many of the above items can be found and corrected with the mast in place, having the mast out is an ideal time to carefully examine the entire rig while you are comfortably on the ground. We also took advantage of the mast being out to change to LED lighting on the mast lights.

The Stepping Process

Here are the primary steps:

  • Lift mast from cradle and hang upright
  • Slowly lower mast into deck unfastening wiring and rigging from the mast as the mast is lowered to the Step
  • Lightly fasten the shrouds and stays
  • Install the partners
  • Remove crane from mast
  • Adjust shrouds and stays to marks of previous positions
  • Install the mast boot
  • Reconnect wiring to mast (in our case add connectors for the digital radar cable which needed to be cut when the mast was pulled)
  • Install Boom (in our case, using the crane again)
  • Install Vang & Topping Lift
  • Reinstall the Mainsail, Genoa, and Staysail
  • Take a test sail and enjoy the sunny weather

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

Hoisting the boom into place

Celebrate in the evening with the new LED lights on the mast

Minor corrosion under a mast-mounted winch. The prep and repaint stops additional corrosion before it weakens the mast.

The rig neatly tied to the repainted mast is lifted by the crane

Lowering the mast into the deck, fastening the partners, and attaching the shrouds