R 22

Rhodes 22


Mast Raising System

The new mast raising system recently discussed on the list sounds good. How is the system rigged? Is there a winch assembly mounted in or on the boat, front or back? Is there extra bracing or pulleys to cantilever the mast up as the rigging is tightened. Any photos or info would be appreciated by us new Rhodes sailors.

Jim and Linda Hartig

I don't know if you got an answer to how the mast raising system is rigged or not, if so please excuse the redundancy.

The gin pole mounts on a pivot on the foredeck just forward of the mast. The aft lower shrouds attach to the free end of the pole. The forward lower shrouds are connected to their chainplates as normal except with an aluminum extension about 8 inches long. It's the geometry of this extension that keeps the mast centered as it goes up and down. There is a trailer winch on the free end of the pole with a line that runs from it down to the bow cleat. The rear support keeps the mast at about a 25-degree angle to the boat when the mast is stepped in the tabernacle so the gin pole can raise the mast from rest. Just crank the winch and when it's up, walk the forestay/ furler to the bow and connect the forestay. Lowering is the proverbial reverse of raising.

I originally did not order the raising kit. GB brought it anyway for the initial set up. When I tried to lift the mast alone, I wrote the check for the raising kit.

Dave Walker
s/v Windswept

Here are some questions about the newer mast hoist system: does it still use the aft lower shrouds attached to the top of the crane to raise the mast? Is there some other attachment point/cable used now?

That's how mine works. This causes the spreader tang to rotate forward as the mast comes up. If I tighten up the thru bolt holding the spreader tang, I wonder if it will prevent this rotation and create other problems with mast raising. With the mast resting horizontally on the boat, the spreaders are loose enough to have several inches of play. (I thought they were supposed to be rigid.)

Additional questions: with the mast hoist, does your spreader bracket ("tang") rotate? Are the spreaders rigid or do you have some movement there?

I'm thinking about replacing the tangs because it looks like the hole for the thru-bolt is starting to enlarge. I will definitely replace the bolt and Nylok nut that hold the spreader tang in place.

Gary Sanford
s/v Raven
Syracuse, NY

I did not like using the aluminum brackets, changing the settings on the turnbuckles, etc. I have a system that allows me to keep all shrouds attached to the boat except the forestay, and as Doug mentioned, I use many bungee cords to hold things in place in transit. I keep all the shrouds off the deck, etc. with bungees.

When you follow the directions, the mast tang does turn, and I assume that it should. It would be really difficult to affix it with just one bolt and make it stationary. I wouldn't worry about it turning. Our spreaders should be a level or slightly elevated. Unfortunately, I had taken the shrouds loose from the spreaders and lost the end cap on one spreader. The quick fix was to use a cable tie and electrical tape for our trip to KY Lake. And wouldn't you know Doug captured my half-assed repair on film! After we returned, I made an end cap of that great space age plastic and reinstalled with screws. If done properly, the shroud would support the spreaders a bit. And not allow a floppy, down angled spreader.

I would not think the tangs should need replacing for just a little slop. Remember that the tangs are put in tension by the shrouds and should not have much movement anyway. I might look at a larger bolt as a quicker and less expensive answer if there is that much slop.


On my '81, I secure the aft lowers and upper shrouds to the chain plates. Then I use the aluminum extenders on the ends of the forward lower stays and connect to the pole of the mast raising system. To raise the mast, the pole of the mast raising system is vertical and the line is to the forward cleat. The winch is then turned to bring the pole down towards the cleat and the mast up.

This is how the fellow who delivered my boat (not Stan or Elton) showed me how to do it.

s/v Pax
Mt. Zion, IL

Stan showed me how to operate the mast hoist last spring. You attach the aft lower shrouds to the lift, the forward lower shrouds to their chain plates using the aluminum extenders, and the upper shrouds to their chain plates. You also attach the aft lower shrouds to their chainplates. You then raise the mast; the aft lowers prevent the mast from falling forward; forward shrouds keep the mast steady during the first half of the raising; the upper shrouds prevent the mast from swaying side-to-side during the last half of the raising.

Once the mast is raised, you remove the aluminum extenders and attach the forward lower shrouds to their chain plates. This will prevent the mast from falling back as you remove the aft shrouds from the lift and attach them to their chain plates.

Rich Rugen
S/V Friendship II
18 Nov 2000

I would strongly suggest first connecting the forestay before you disconnect the stays you're using to hoist the mast. Just a safety issue with me. I would hate to take one of the stays loose from the hoist and find that the screw was loose on the hoist bail or something. Or maybe you already do this and didn't mention it.


According to the directions from GBI, once the mast is raised you do the following:

Disconnect the two forward lower shrouds from the aluminum strips and fasten them directly to their chain plates. This will prevent the mast from falling back.

Ease off the hoist and release the lower aft shrouds, attaching them to their chain plates.

Remove the mast hoist.

Remove the furling jib from the mast holder and walk it forward, attaching it to the bow chain plate.


That is according to GB's instructions. I skip about 3 steps, don't use the shroud extenders and have other shortcuts for mast raising and rigging. I have the GB write-up too. I would always connect the forestay before I disconnect any other hoisting lines. For one thing, our forestay is a bit hard to attach, with very little slack, so I lean on the hoist to pull the mast forward just a bit as I connect the forestay. It makes it much easier to do. And what exactly is the downside to connecting the forestay as quickly as possible?


If you are raising your mast from the rear, using the GB standard setup, the forward lowers attach to the mast hoist. The aft lowers attach to the forward lower chainplates on the cabin top with the extender straps. The aft lowers control the sway of the mast in the first part of the lift, then the upper shrouds tend to take over as you get closer to the top.

I also was wondering about the spreaders being a little loose, mine are too. I believe that if you tighten them up very tight, they will still pull to the front of the mast while raising the mast, but will be hard to get back into position once the mast is up and they are out of reach. Lifting the mast, especially the first part of the lift, requires a lot of force.

Rik Sandberg
17 Nov 2000

Thanks for all the mast hoist discussion.

If memory serves me correctly, my mast goes up with the aft lower shrouds and the upper shrouds attached. Once vertical, I attach the forestay, using the crane to leverage that last 1/4-inch. Then I release the aft lowers from the crane, rotate the spreader tang and attach forward and aft lower shrouds.

To deal with side sway, my rig uses a line on each side of the mast from about 6 ft up, to fittings on the cabin top rails. Might be tempted to try Alex's method, just to see the difference.

As mentioned, the trick is being sure the furled genoa/forestay is on the outside of the lower shrouds!

Gary Sanford
s/v Raven
Syracuse, NY

Thanks to all of you for the mast raising discussion. Stan and Eldon gave us a set of the aluminum extenders when they returned our boat after the Alameda (Calif.) boat show a couple of years ago. We were a bit baffled and haven't used them, just followed our old "aft lower shrouds to the lift" method and bungees to control the forward shrouds until the mast was up. We are now fully informed!

Julia and Jay
S/V Blue J
Sacramento, Ca
18 Nov 2000

Hi gang, Am I the only one with a GB mast hoist system that utilizes a bail, about 6 1/2 feet from the bottom of the mast, in lieu of using the shrouds to lift and lower the mast? I purchased the system last fall and used it for the first time this spring. It worked flawlessly.

Bruce Chisholm
s/v Compass Rose
20 Nov 2000

Very interesting! The bolt must pass thru the forward mast chamber, where the wires run. I'd be interested in seeing the instructions, when you get a chance.

I don't really like the idea of the spreaders twisting around each time I raise and lower the mast. I removed them this fall to get the lower shrouds off, so I can have them re-cut (longer). With the spreader tangs off, I saw that the mast has been "dimpled" in, just above the hole for the thru-bolt. Not a lot, but enough to cause the spreaders to be loose.

I think I'll try to change the angle downward by loosening the clamps at the end of the spreaders. Have to do some measuring etc. in the spring and re-set them.

Thanks for the info.

Gary Sanford
s/v Raven

From the General Boats instruction sheet:

"The latest mast hoist system uses a rope from the crane (pole with the winch) to a boom bale bolted about 6' to 7' up the leading edge of the mast. If your mast does not have this connection, it will be included in the mast hoist system sent to you and you will have to install it.

"There is also a new connection to the aft top of the crane.

"A rope is provided that is to go between these two updated connections. Also provided are the means for making the ends of this rope fast on the mast and crane connections.

"With this system it is no longer necessary to connect the two aft lower shrouds to the crane. Instead these two shrouds can remain connected their respective chainplates before raising the mast and before lowering the mast. This should reduce the set up and breakdown time by 5 to 10 minutes."

Bruce Chisholm
s/v Compass Rose

On mine, the winch line looks to be about 1/2-inch braided dacron or nylon. Is that similar to what you have between the mast and the top of the crane? My crane pole is about 6 ft tall, I'm assuming that your drawing was not to scale :-). The fitting at the top of the crane looks to be maybe a large U-bolt, bolted through the crane tube. Is that it, or something custom made?

Gary Sanford
s/v Raven

My crane pole is the standard length, about six feet. You're right about the drawing not being to scale. The large u-bolt is actually bolted to two brackets that are in turn mounted to the crane pole. The line between the mast and the crane is the same size as the line from the crane to the bow cleat.

Bruce Chisholm s/v Compass Rose 22 Nov 2000

I'm getting a fairly clear picture of this now. And the boom bail is thru-bolted through the forward mast chamber with a 3/8" bolt? (That's what's used for the spreaders and at the tabernacle.)


Actually it's a 1/4-inch bolt with a locknut. I had to drill the mast myself. I followed the "measure five times and drill once" school of thought.

22 Nov 2000

A few months ago I bought a 1982 Rhodes 22 and have been re furbishing it for 2 months. I am ready to put it in the water now, but need some advice as to raising the mast (it has inter mast furling). The crane that General boat sells is too much for me (I paid $3000 for the boat). Does anyone have some advice as to how to raise it without help? It will be my wife and I alone. I could make something up myself, but would be interested in how some of you handle the situation. Does anyone have a picture of how you raise it, perhaps a photo of the mast raising crane in use to help me out. The boat will be kept in the water so I would only rarely have to drop it, so some sort of clumsy arrangement would do fine.


Dale G.
04 Mar 2002

The GB rig sets up with the mast over the stern rail. The original manual insturction set told you to bring the mast over the bow pulpit. I find either way to be a challange. You don't have the leverage of walking the mast up like a ladder if you go from the bow because there is just so much foredeck and you are feeling most of the weight.

The stern and cockpit offer more space to walk the mast, but you are salso standing lower and cannot elevate quite as much. However, I think you might try this approach. You raise the mast as far as you can, and your wife (at ground level) could use the topping lift to pull the mast after you get it up so far. Another possibility mentioned was using the winch on the trailer. I would prefer to use the mainsheet block and tackle to assist in pulling the mast upright.

Someone also made a set of poles that criss cross like a teepee pole (two 2x4's with a bolt through each. They attached these somehow to the boat and used them as a fulcrum to change the angle of pull and used the topping lift and block and tackle to bring the mast up.

There are ways to do this, but remember that the mast is very heavy because it has the boom, the mainsail and the jib weight that all must be lifted at once. Rummy's comment about getting a couple of guys would be a good idea, even if you have a system.

04 Mar 2002

I raise mine from the stern. I put a 6 foot folding ladder in the cockpit which allow me to seesaw the mast to get the bolt thur and provide more leverage. I hook the backstays, lower aft stays and then hoist the mast. Hook the forestay, forward lower stays, and then upper stays. Me and one other guys can do mine with Marilyn hooking the forestay when the mast is raised. However, mine is a standard mast.

04 Mar 2002

My mast raising routine is pretty much the same as Runny's.

I don't have the hoist option.

I did build a mast crutch arrangement (the Marc Beroz system) with a come along, but REALLY didn't feel good about it. I t didn't have enough control over sise to side motion.

With the exception of actually raising the mast, I can do everything by myself.

Unitl you've done it a bunch of times, I recommend having the steps written down as a check list in front of you. I laminated my checklist and keep it on the boat, though I don't use it anymore.

Anyway, here's how I do it:

  • 1. Secure the boom to the mast with bungees or shock cord about 5' from the base of the mast.
  • 2. Secure all shrouds and lines to the mast with shock cord.
  • 3. Tie a line loosely from grab rail to grab rail on the fore deck over the mast. Tie a second one one the bow pulpit loosely over the mast. These will act as restraining lines to keep the mast in control and not tipping over once the majority of the weight is forward of the pulpit.
  • 4. Lift/Slide the mast in to place so the bolt hole winds up lining up properly with the tabernacle. You'll need to lift the steaming light on the mast over the rail of the bow pulpit. You'll also need to untie and retie the lines once or twice to let the spreaders go forward.
  • 5. Attach the base of the mast to the tabernacle with the bolt.
  • 6. Get rid of the restraining lines.
  • 7. Remove the shock cords from the shrouds and lines on the mast, & Connect the lower forward stays and masthead side stays to their chainplates.

    Now you're ready to raise the mast. Wave beer or 10 dollar bills in the air until you attract the attention of 2 other people.
  • 8. Have your impressed labor quickly walk the mast to vertical. Quickly but in control is the secret. I like to have 2 - 3 people raise the mast. I can lower it with only 2 (me and one other)easily.
  • 9. Connect the rear stays, put in the traveler and tension it just enough to make it secure enough to pay off your help.
  • 10. Now that you're alone, connect the lower rears and the headstay.
  • 11. Ease of if necessary on the backstay adjuster. Properly tesion everything else, than re-tension the back stays.
  • 12.Run your furling line and jib sheets.
  • 13. Let down the boom and attach the topping lift andfiddle block.
  • 14. Drink the remaining beer unless you've raised the mast on land (which is definitely easier), in which case launch before drinking.
That's the whole deal.

Bill Berner
06 Mar 2002

When we trailer the boat these days, I have a couple of strong teenage sons to help step the mast. I put them both on the foredeck & I help hoist from the cockpit. One of them gets to pull on the foresail halyard. The other one pulls on a T-handle I made especially for the clevis on the bottom of my Harken unit 0 roller furler. The T-handle was made from the following pieces/parts which should all be available at any good hardware store:

# ReqdDescription
11/4-20UNC X 8" long hex head machine screw, galv steel
21/4" nom dia, scd 40 X 3" long pipe, galv steel
11/4" lock washer, galv steel
11/4-20UNC wing nut, galv steel

Assemble the T-handle onto the clevis in the following order:

machine screw/pipe/clevis/pipe/lock washer/wing nut

I leave the T-handle in place when we trailer.

I also have the GBI mast raising device for stepping the mast single handed. As you have noted, the Harken headfoil is too long to be secured to the mast as Stan recommends with the standard GBI furler. I lift the Harken headfoil ABOVE the two lower sidestays which lead to the mast raising device & set the headfoil on top of the downward angled railing on my foredeck. Put it preferably on the starboard side so it doesn't interfere with cranking the winch on the mast raising device. There is enough side-to-side play in the forestay up at the masthead to permit this. As the mast is raised, the headfoil slides down the top angled railing & ends up getting captured in-between the top railing & the bow pulpit. It all happens very slowly & controllably & you are standing right there to intervene if something should start to go crooked. The GBI mast raising device is very clever & well-engineered. I like it a lot.

If I have sufficient help to step the mast, I never bother with the mast raising device as it involves considerable extra rigging & time. Pulling on the T-handle & halyard is quick, easy, & pretty foolproof if you have enough helpers.

I haven't been following this mast raising thread. This all seems perfectly straight forward & intrinsically obvious. Somebody bring me up to speed, please. What's the issue here?

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
08 Mar 2002

I wanted to thank everyone for their comments on mast raising. I ended up making an A frame from 2 8 foot 2x4's. I drilled holes in the feet and tied them to the front of the cabin top railings, sitting on the cabin top, as the fulcrum. I also had a 2x4 across the base to prevent spreading. I then used my electric winch between the front padeye and the top of the A frame, with an automotive tow strap from the A frame top to a point about 7 feet from the base of the mast. It lifted up easily by myself without incident. Now the real problem...The inter mast furler is constantly jammed. I am not sure what the problem is, but it is a knock down drag out fight to get it out. It furls back in fine. I wonder if the plastic parts are jamming up due to absorbtion of water and expantion over the years? The sail itself looks fine, but tends to get wrapped around itself during furling. Does anyone have experience with these sorts of problems? I expected it to "Sally Forth" as in the literature, rather than fight me tooth and nail.I am looking forward to getting it fixes ASAP, as the sailng weather is upon us.

Dale G
08 Mar 2002

The enclosed link is a photo of the stern of my boat. The boat is on the trailer & the mast was raised. Actually, what was going on in this photo was the boat was getting its final fitting for the side curtains on the custom bimini room.


For the purposes of the mast raising discussion, note the custom made mast crutch assembly on the stern pulpit. This mast crutch is adjustable up & down. The picture shows it in the upper position for stepping/unstepping the mast. Height adjustment is made by loosening two big U-bolts on the mast crutch shaft, sliding the shaft up & down as desired, & then retightening the U-bolts. The 6-sided plate visible on the stern pulpit was custom designed for my stern rail to work with my mast crutch system. This 6-sided plate is clamped onto the stern pulpit with four U-bolts & is removed prior to launching the boat.

For securing the mast for trailering, note the 2-piece clamp assembly on top of the mast crutch. This mast clamp was machined from a single piece of 1" thick aluminum plate. The clamp separates in the middle & the upper & lower halves are held together by two machine screws. The design is similar to the big end of an automotive connecting rod where it clamps around the crankshaft. The interior surfaces of the mast clamp are shaped to fit the mast & are padded with adhesive-backed 1/4" thick weather stripping foam. In the picture, the top half of the clamp is in place so I wouldn't lose it. For stepping/unstepping the mast, the top half of the mast clamp is removed & the bolts are screwed back into the lower half of the clamp. Also note the boat trailer roller on the forward surface of the lower half of the mast clamp. This device is attached with two bolts which have been drilled & tapped into the front surface of the mast clamp. It is attached for stepping/unstepping the mast, but must be removed for trailering. With the roller in place, the two bolts screwed back into the lower half of the clamp, & the mast crutch in the upper position; the mast can easily be rolled by one person from its over-the-road trailering position to the ready-to-step position hung out over the stern of the boat. The design of the lower mast clamp with the roller & high sides causes the mast to be absolutely captured during this operation & yet almost effortless for one person to move.

My over-the-road trailering system for holding the mast includes a total of three of these custom mast clamps. Besides the one pictured, I have another one which supports the mast midway at the mast tabernacle on top of a custom made "mini-mast" & a custom made assembly which clamps onto the bow pulpit. All three stations use the same design mast clamp. My mast is absolutely secure going down the road, clamped down & padded in three places, & yet quick/easy to setup for stepping/unstepping.

As you can see, I have quite an investment in my mast carrier configured to step the mast with the masthead hung out over the stern. I've never even tried the opposite setup with the masthead hung out over the bow. I built this mast carrier system at the same time I built the custom railings back in 1987. They were designed to be an integrated system that has been totally functional & bulletproof over many years & many thousands of miles of trailering. As you can probably tell, I have very little tolerence for halfway solutions to bothersome little problems. I only trailered the boat once without this system, the day I bought it from her previous owner near Grand Rapids, MI.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
09 Mar 2002

If you want to raise/lower your mast, BY YOURSELF, you will need the stay extenders. These, extending the aft lower stays and attached to the forward lower stays chain plates on the front of the cabin top, will control the side to side motion of the mast as you first lift it off your mast crutch and through the first half of the lift, until the upper shrouds become tight enough to take over. As you lift you will see the lower shrouds getting looser and the upper shrouds becoming tighter as you go.

Those that are not using the extenders are probably not raising their masts single-handed. They have a helper to steady the mast during the first part of the lift. Nothing wrong with this, and there is no doubt this is quicker and easier, but you're not going to be able to do this alone. While it might be possible to not use the extenders under perfect conditions, i.e., no wind, perfectly level ground, or no motion, if you are on the water, any wind, motion or other small change can have the mast swinging in a pretty big arc, without someone to hold it still. The lower you have it, the further it will be able to swing. This can get pretty hard on the tabernacle. You CANNOT crank the winch handle and steady the mast at the same time, by yourself.

Glad to hear your water problems are working out well.

09 Mar 2002

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