I wrestled with this a few months back. I bought a 92 Mac 26 this summer and actually dropped my mast to the port side once it was down with only about 15 degrees to go. It cost me the little tangs at the bottom of my mast step pole. Thankfully, those are cheap to buy.
Anyway, I have two little harken stainless eye straps on my deck that are roughly a beam the mast bolt. I have average size blocks snap shackled to those eye straps. I also have a Mast Eye about eight feet up from the deck. If you looked at the Ronstan Mast Eye Pad on the West Marine website, you'd have a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about. I don't know if this is standard equipment or if this was a previous owner add on. There is another one just like it about knee high from the deck.
See if you can imagine this. If not, let me know and I'll try to email a photo.
My main and jib halyards have snap shackles on them which are clipped to the mast eye at knee level. Then, the halyards run up along the mast and to their respective pulleys. The halyards then run back down the mast through the mast eye at 8 feet. If you think about it, the halyards always run down the mast, so it does me no harm to let the downward running line remain inside that mast eye at eight feet at all times. I never had to remove them from there. The end of the halyard with the snap shackle has to run free of that eye or it wouldn't be able to lift the jib or main.
Anyway, from the eye at eight feet, my halyards run down to the deck and through the blocks attached to the eye straps. From there, they run back twice around my winches and then through a clete.
Thus, my halyards temporarily act as my baby stays. (I also tighten them when driving down the highway to help keep the mast from dumping overboard on the highway. It beats bunjee cords.)
My topping lift is a heavy duty rope with a snap shackle at either end. For mast raising, I leave one end shackled to the mast eye at knee level and run the other end to my step pole.
So, I stand in the cockpit, put the mast on my shoulder and start pulling the line on the step pole.
Unfortunately, our boats are old enough not to have the babystays that the new ones come with.
I'm not saying this system is the best. I'm just saying that it's easier and I feel safer than self stepping the mast on my Hobie 16.
I'll probably set the boat up this weekend in the yard to do some work on my engine as it crapped out last Friday. If you'd like, we can discuss over the phone or I can try to email you some photos next week.