Hit the road -Stepping the Mast ALONE

Take it Down and Hit the Road

The Scot is the perfect boat for a traveling regatta circuit. It can be rigged by one person and ready to sail in 30 minutes or less. Likewise, you can be ready to roll home in the same amount of time (or whenever the sails are dry and the trophies awarded). In an effort to get some of you stay-at-homes on the road, here are a few ideas that make traveling easy:

Stepping your mast alone (where is that crew anyway[?])

1.With the mast on the hinge-pin and the shrouds (side stays) attached, tie your bow line to the jib-halyard shackle, then run it through the bow eye handle and back to the cockpit to a cleat. (I have a small cam cleat on the forward edge of the cockpit coaming, but you don’t need to add a cleat, you can run the bow line through your jib block to your existing jib sheet cleat, or to one of the wooden jamb cleats on the side of the tabernacle.)

2.Now you are ready to raise the mast (after adding your Windex and removing your trailing flag). With the trailer attached to the car (or the rear of the trailer blocked up to prevent tipping), stand in the back of the cockpit, make sure the shrouds are laid in the boat and clear to extend. Lift the mast to your shoulder and then, facing forward, raise the mast over your head with both arms extended, walk forward, straddling the centerboard trunk, keeping the mast moving up in a steady, smooth motion. (Note: if it is windy, it helps to line your boat up with the wind to prevent sideways pressure while raising and lowering the mast.)

3.As the mast settles onto the step, the shrouds will become taut. Maintain pressure on the mast with one hand, check to make sure the jib halyard winch is dogged, then pull the bow line taut and cleat it. This will safely support the mast and you can now pin your forestay. If you need to, crank the halyard tighter to gain slack in the forestay. (For tight rig sailors there is an extra step. Pin the forestay in any available hole to hold the mast up. Transfer the jib-halyard to the bow eye and crank it tight to reach your desired pin setting on the forestay)

Tip…to avoid breaking the aluminum winch cranks which are designed to break before the halyard, Harry Carpenter suggests using a ¼ inch ratchet drive which will fit in the winch socket. (Of course Harry would rather sell halyards than winch cranks.[;)])

4.Unstepping is the reverse process… Tie the bow line to the jib halyard, Run the line through the bow eye and back to a cleat in the cockpit. Tension the halyard and remove the forestay pin. When you are ready (mast carrier in the rudder gudgeons, all clear behind you) put forward pressure on the mast and release the cleated bow line. Supporting the mast with both hands over your head, walk backwards until you can lower the mast to your shoulder and then down to the carrier.

5.Note: the mast is usually in the right position for trailering when the pole lift eye is directly over the mast step.

6.Use 18” black rubber bungees for securing the mast to the bow eey and rudder gudgeons. Leavbee the shroyds attached and coil then in the boat so the don't rub on the gelcoat. For longer trips, dress the stays along the mast using several wraps of duct tape with the sticky side out.

7.Boom, rolled sails, spinnaker pole, rudder and tiller can all ride safely in the boat. I try to keep then under the seats and out of the sun, rain and out of sight.

8.Plug out for travel - unless you have a trailing cover.

So take it down and hit the road… away regattas are great fun! [8D]

Bob New
FS 5143
Merritt Island Florida
Fleet Captain Fleet 179

I've used a similar technique without problems for years. I also installed a jamb cleat on the port side of the mast on the forward edge of the cockpit coaming and run the line through it after it comes aft from the bow eye. I use the port side because I'm left handed. As I raise the mast I keep the line handy and if I want to interrupt the mast raising I jamb the line in the cleat and rest the mast on my shoulder. I jamb the line in the cleat again after the mast is up to hold it as I go forward to attach the forestay.
I try really hard not to forget to attach the windex before doing this. Ditto for installing the plug.
Make sure that there aren't "trippables" lying around on the bottom of the cockpit. If you do have someone with you they can make certain that the shrouds aren't fouling as the mast goes up.
I keep a small 3-step ladder in the truck to use for getting in and out of the boat while rigging and I wear sandals that I can slip off before boarding to help keep the cockpit clean.
When the mast is down I loosely coil the shrouds and use my small bungee sail ties to hang them from the mast so they don't rub during transport.
Becoming comfortable with rigging and sailing the Scot solo was a great confidence builder for me.