Stepping the Mast

Solo Mast Stepping

By Gary Friesen

If boat is on a trailer, be sure that it is tied to trailer at both front and rear. 

Untie all shrouds and trapeze lines and pull them outward. 

Tie a towel around the rear crossbar so that the mast can be dragged across it without scratching. 

Set down the mast on the rear crossbar, on towel. 

Lift the mast off of the front trailer support and push the whole mastback until the mast base is in place at the front crossbar. 

Insert mast stepping hinge pin. Sit on the mast here if necessary to hold it down while inserting the pin. 

Situate all wires so that they are going to rise without snagging. Wires will route from pontoons over rear crossbar on each side of mast and then they will have slack behind boat on the ground. 

Install a shackle on the bridal tang at a point below where the forestay will attach. If this is not possible, tie a loop of heavy line around a bridle wire to form a loop. 

Using a piece of 1/4" line about 20 feet or more in length, attach the end of this solo-step line to the lower end of the forestay using a Clove Hitch knot. 

Run the solo-step line through the loop or shackle at the bridal tang and then back to the top of the trampoline. Lead it down through the tramp and back up around one of the tramp lacing lines and then tie off the end. 

Wear shoes, get on the tramp and take hold of the solo-righting line where it comes back up through the tramp. 

Stand on the rear of the tramp, facing the mast, with one foot on the rear cross bar. If your mast has diamond wires, you should be standing between the mast and the diamond wires with both feet. The 1/4" solo-step line should come up from under the diamond wire. 

From here, do a visual check for safety:The trapeze and shroud wires should not be under any obstacle such as the rudders or trailer lights/license plate.The forestay should be forward.The mast stepping pin should be seated in the hinge.The boat should be tied down.The area around, under, and near the mast should be free of any live traffic. 

Check as well for distant approaching traffic, especially children and pets. 

There should be no wires or any other obstacles overhead. Your feet should be planted firmly and not on that towel or any of the rigging. 

Squat and grasp the mast. Your rearmost arm should be grasping underhanded on the side that you are standing on. Your foremost arm should be over-top the front side of the mast and grasping overhanded. 

Lift with your legs until you are standing straight. 

Now re-grasp and lift the mast until it is at shoulder level. 

Stop, turn to face the bridle, and rest the mast on your hand and shoulder. 

Catch your breath, bring in the slack on the solo-right line by pulling it up through the tramp. 

Check one last time for traffic and tangles then lift the mast all the way up. 

Now pull in all the slack on the solo-step line. 

Stand with one foot back for support and push hard forward on the mast with one hand. 

Use the free hand to tuck the slack solo-step line in your hand at the mast. Then reach down for another purchase on the solo-step line and bring that up to your mast hand. 

Repeat this movement until all the slack is out of the solo-step line and the solo-step line is drawing the forestay and the bridle toward each other. 

At this point, you should be able to let go of the mast while firmly pulling up on the solo-step line. 

Now tie off the solo-step line. You can use the cleat on the mast base or just tie it off to itself where it wraps around the trampoline line. 

Get down carefully and go forward to secure the forestay to the bridle tang. Once it is fastened, remove the solo-step line and remove the mast step hinge pin. 

The solo-step line may double as a docking and or towing line and kept aboard the boat. 

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