mast step

Can someone explain the function of the second mast step located between the deck support stanchions? I have owned (2) FS and both boats have this feature but I do not understand why. Thanks

It's an alternative way to raise the mast.

Prior to the mast hinge being introduced, the way we did it back in the day, was to plant the mast heel in the stanchion and walk the stick to vertical. The slot in the deck kept the mast from falling sideways as you approached the moment of truth. When the mast was up, the shrouds attached to the chain plates--clear of any potential fouling (and slack)---you braced yourself and simply lifted the mast straight up and forward to the real mast step. Brute force and ignorance worked well. It was our Class version of the caber toss. It could be quite spectacular if you lost control with all those shiny aluminum and stainless bits flying about.

Sentimental though I am, I do not miss it.

Thanks very much. I had an inkling that that was the reason!! I'm sure it did turn into an adventure at times. Paul