Fred's Mast Crutch & Mast Raising System

Last Updated: December 10, 2006

Since the day I bought my Sanibel I have wanted a secure and simple means to carry the mast and boom. Owing to my use of the Los Angeles Freeways to reach my sailing areas a secure method of containing the mast and boom is mandatory. Also I didn't want a lot of things I would have to take off, store and put back on at the launch ramp. Also, I wanted to avoid having to store the boom in the cabin. Here are some pictures of the system I feel is the ultimate answer.

There is no bow pulpit on the Peorian (Some crew members of mine removed it for me, without my permission). The front of the mast is carried by a very sturdy wooden support. The 'support' is mounted to the front bow cleat and the forestay bracket. This gives fore and aft support as well as side to side support for the mast, and is the only part that needs to be removed and stored for sailing.

At the stern I have a stainless steel mast gallows that holds the rear of the mast and the rear of the boom. If wanted, the gallows can be easily removed. Due to low bridges in two of the LA harbors I had to mount the stern mast carrier a bit high. The mast has to be raised and lowered, single handed, while on the water and the extra height helps tremendously. Actually I surprised some of the Potter 19 gang last month when I was able to raise the mast by myself without any cranking devices or aids. I did hear one of them say Potter masts are heavier than Sanibel masts, right. The boom part is new but the mast system has been in use for quite some time and it works flawlessly.

The front of the boom is slipped on to a stainless steel support on the rear of the sliding hatch. A wing nut locks it into place. The part of the boom that slides into the mast is a perfect fit for this support.

You have now trailered your sailboat to the launch ramp parking lot when you discover your first obstacle, "How does one get that mast up into position?"

To help over come the initial weight of lifting the mast on my Sanibel, I use a leverage device called a "gin pole". It is a steel bar with a "U" at one end and an eyebolt at the other end(could be wood as well) mounted at the base of the mast at a right angle to the mast with a line runing up to the top of the mast.

This gives you extra mechanical advantage in starting the mast upwards and allows you to stand closer to the mast on its journey.

To keep the mast from swinging sideways a second person is real handy or you can add "baby stays". The bottom of the baby stays have to be mounted close to the mast tablenacle on the cabin top and at the same height as the pin in the bottom of the mast that fits into the tabenacle. Think of an "A" mounted at the same base as the mast. The other end of the stays I mounted to the bracket holding the outboard stay shrouds with eyebolts. For cost considerations low/non stretch double braid line can be used, but stainless wire looks better.

Due to low bridges at some of the launch facilities I use, I had to come up with a means of keeping the mast from swinging sideways in the lowered position while motoring and to give me an extra edge in raising the mast after passing under a low bridge. A normal stern pulpit wasn't high enough so I constucted a permanent taller mast gallows mounted to the stern that is also used as the mast holder while the boat is being towed. Basically it is just an upside down swim ladder but it really helps get under those bridges and holding the mast at less than 180 degrees helps overcome some weight in the beginning to lift it up.