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Mast Raising with Boom & Sail

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 11:27 am
by Erik Hardtle
I wondered if anyone else has done this. I have the standard mainsail with sail slugs and a sail cover for a 99' 26X. I usually raise and lower the mast everytime I go out and I just leave the boom/sail/cover attached. I do disconnect the boom vang and main sheet and stuff them into the cover, and I wrap one bungee around the boom and mast to keep them together when down. The only issure I run into is when I push the mast back just before raising, the end of the boom sometimes hits the vertical mast holding post... but that isn't too much of a problem to get around. Just wondering if anyone else does this... :?:

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:37 pm
by Chip Hindes
I'd be very interested in seeing exactly how you accomplish this.

In an emergency last year, while on the water, I tried lowering my mast with the boom attached. I asked my adult son as the only crew, to watch for any binding or interference as I lowered the mast and guided it into the crutch. The boom was resting on the cabin top and the mast was still a good 4-5' from dropping into the crutch when there was a loud bang, and the mast dropped the rest of the way into the crutch.

The aluminum fitting in the end of the boom attached to the mast at the gooseneck had fractured at the bolt that runs through the boom. That was the end of sailing for the day. My son was extremely apologetic but I blame myself for not giving him a better idea of exactly what he was supposed to be looking for.

I have since repaired the existing fitting. There was some damage to the gooseneck where it attaches to the mast as well, and I carried a homemade repair kit consisting of a couple 6" hose clamps and a stainless steel loop all season just in case it let go on the water. It made it the rest of the season. I intend to replace it before spring launch.

Just to see what happens, with the mast up I tried folding the boom up tight against the mast. Not even close.

So, how do you do it?

Boom Attachment

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:11 pm
by Erik Hardtle
Haven't had any problems with the attachment to the mast. Here is a picture of the attachment point from the boom to the mast



Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 5:11 pm
by Duane Dunn, Allegro
Certainly not the stock goosneck fitting I have on my boom.

Anyone else have a fitting like this on their boom? Did it come from the factory?

Came that way

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 5:44 pm
by Erik Hardtle
I purchase this boat used in August 03'... it came that way... I didn't do it... honest... I did replace the nut with the thumb nut for ease of removal. Anyone else have a 99' X to compare? Anyone know what the hook is there for?

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 5:56 pm
by Frank C
Eric's photo shows the standard gooseneck, at least since I received my new 2000 model in Aug '99. Since I had fractured the front boom casting at one point, I had occasion to discuss the design with Bill at the factory.

Many here have read this story before. Bill asked if the casting fractured when I lowered the mast with boom attached. No, I explained that I found the fracture after a day on SF Bay with very heavy winds. In efforts that day to hold heel less than ~30*, I had pulled the vang so tight that noticed a 2-to-3 inch downward arc in the boom, at which point I eased up. In fact, I'm fairly sure the casting fractured because I had overstressed the boom with the rigid vang.

Bill offered to exchange a new casting for the fractured item. He also said that Macgregor dreamed up the twin pivot gooseneck tube because owners very commonly fractured the gooseneck, as in Chip's case, by dropping the mast without removing the boom, but that the new design had nearly eliminated broken castings. I've heard others demean the Mac's gooseneck as flakey, but apparently it works.


Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:53 pm
by Duane Dunn, Allegro
That's certainly different than what is on my '96. On mine the black cast fitting that is inset in the boom end has a vertical slot. Into this is inserted an aluminum cylinder about 3" long and 1/2" diameter. A horizontal bolt passes through the boom, through a hole in the cylinder and back out the other side of the boom. The cylinder sticks out through the slot. The cylinder has a vertical hole in it's other end that attaches to the fitting at the mast. That fitting looks the same. The bolt that goes down through the mast fitting and the cylinder has a hooked top that serves as the reefing hook for the mainsail tack. The fitting can articulate about 45 degrees up or down before it makes contact with the cast end fitting, and as with Chips, breaks.

The stainless bracket on the mast end and the tack fitting with a pin are quite different. I'll have to check into retrofitting mine. The fittings in the picture look quite a bit stronger and are not such a rinky dink design as the ones on mine.

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:27 pm
by Chip Hindes
Eric's looks very much like mine like mine ('01 26X) but there's something different because there is an interference that keeps mine from folding up like Eric's is pictured. The boom's in the attic and the boat's in the yard, so It'll be awhile before I can drag everything out and figure out exactly what's different.

Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2004 1:26 am
by Frank C
Mine won't fold like Eric's either. Seems to me it's the bulk of mainsail that would prevent it. Seems that my bunched up mainsail within the first 2 feet of boom would cause the remaining 8 feet of boom length to create a leverage failure.

Bridge Ducking

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:25 pm
by Erik Hardtle
A word about bridge ducking... I try to avoid it. Not that the mast is heavy or the boom is a problem... it's the wires... I'm always afraid the back stay will get caught in the prop... and I'll have a jumble of wires on the deck which is unnerving... so I try to stay away from bridges. (unless they open)

So with that being said... I mainly lower the mast with boom attached for trailering... but I have done it once "bridge ducking"... just make sure to give your boom vang and main sheet a lot of slack or disconnect it... I usually disconnect and shove the vang and sheet into the main sail cover... keeps down on the noise and extra line dangling around. Just make sure to compare my picture of the boom connection to yours.. you don't want to break your connection.

I wouldn't swing the boom to one side or the other as it may make the mast lean one way and harder to bring the mast down.

On the farm (out of the barn) is a perfect place to practice lowering and raising... don't practice on the water... you may regret it.

Bridge ducking and mast raising

Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2004 9:21 am
by moondoggy
I have an :macm: and although I have not done it yet I think an M boom should fold as the one in the previous photo but only because the connection looks just like what I have on my boat.

That issue was to be the first issue I addressed in my thoughts about and plans for a MOD this spring. I am considering an installing an electric winch in the bow to raise and lower the mast and boom for " Bridge ducking".

There are plenty of small winches that will take the stress and w/o a backstay ther are no wires to fall into the motor. However I don't picture doing this while under way. Am " I MAD,,,,, INSANE,,, or just lazy?

Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2004 2:31 pm
by Frank C
Anonymous wrote:Thanks Eric.
My boom connection is much more rudimentary. A bolt traversing the end goes thru the pin which slots onto the bolt on the mast... snipped
Hello Max,
If your marina is behind a bridge, you haven't any alternative but to drop the mast. The newer gooseneck design will make the process much safer for the boom & mast. Just phone the factory and ask. It would probably cost less than $25 including shipping to the UK.

Addressing a different comment above, you haven't any alternative but to partly lower the mast 'while on the water.' Doing this "while underway" might be necessary indeed, since I find that being slowly "underway" stabilizes the boat by a great deal, versus remaining still in the water. Also, some other things to remember ...
1. It's mandatory for safety to first attach the baby stays.
2. I'm sure that I could not do this without using the factory mast raising system.
3. I assume that you will handle the mast. Since the mast raising system will hold the mast, you should be able to manage shrouds. It would be unfortunate to repeatedly dunk slacked shrouds into salt water, but the river is probably not so bad.
4. Finally, I would certainly need a mate to manage the backstay and the helm.

On a mild day, not too bad, and I think lots of the owners in Florida do this. On a boisterous day .... Best of luck ... remember those baby stays!

Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:22 am
by Frank C
Anonymous wrote:Thanks Frank!
Do you mean the newer gooseneck design is the one in the photo above in Eric's post? .... Max
Yes, that is the latest gooseneck design. If you need to lower the mast by less than 45 degrees or so, an older gooseneck design may work fine as is.

Edit: I was just indicating that the Mac factory has always been very accomodating to owners with questions, or needing parts. I suppose it would be a complication if you need to change the mast fitting, since you'd need heavy-duty riveting.

mast lowering (long)

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 3:06 pm
by norbert
i posted it several times before, but the archives being not longer available i do it again and hope this helps.

mast lowering and raising on the water is no problem for a crew of 2 and even easily possible alone. i did it at least 50 times when sailing on the berlin lakes, lot of bridges here round. even now in the baltic shore i do it when i would have to wait more than 1/2 hour for a bridge opening.

i suppose that you have the mast raising system installed. i would not do it on the water without. the baby stays are a must. attach the vang of the mast raising system and bring the line to the starboard winch. i then lower my mast in the following steps:

1. detach the boom. i replaced the bolts and nuts by clevis pins and cotter rings. i have to remove 2 of them to free the sail and the boom from the mast. the boom (with the sail bungeed on it) is stowed on the port cabin top along the lifeline stanchions.

2. detach the backstay. i have a pelicane hook there, but will soon replace it by a vang. important to stow the backstay out of way. i let drop it into the cabin. be careful to not have it hanging outside the stern and fowl the prop!

3. tighten the mast raising vang with the starboard winch. go to the fordeck and detach the forestay. there again i replaced the small clevis pin by a longer one and the flimsy original cotter ring by a stronger one.

4. go back into the cockpit, let the vang line slowly out until the mast sits in the crutch. again: watch the backstay if you are motoring during the operation!

when doing all this single handed while underway and running under autopilot take specially care not to go overboard! the boat will continue on her way! wear your pfd and a harness when working on the foredeck. be sure to be always attached to the boat!

to raise the mast do the same thing in reverse. with some experience i need 2-3 minutes each way with crew, 5-6 alone. practising while the boat is on the trailer is certainly a good idea.

Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 3:43 pm
by Frank C

If you study the photo on preceding page, you'll see a boom folded fully parallel to the mast. Part of the discussion in this thread was whether one could partly lower to mast without removing the boom. Since you've done some many times, do you think you could do so, and would you save any time by leaving the boom attached to the mast?