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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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
18 Nov 2000
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.
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.
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
"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."
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?
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.
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
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.
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
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:
That's the whole deal.
- 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
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.
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:
|1||1/4-20UNC X 8" long hex head machine screw, galv steel|
|2||1/4" nom dia, scd 40 X 3" long pipe, galv steel|
|1||1/4" lock washer, galv steel|
|1||1/4-20UNC 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
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?
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.
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.
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