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Leaky mast step

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Slycat777 says:

I've a few jobs to do on the boat if she was out of the water.

The most pressing is addressing the leaky mast step. There are two through deck bolts holding the mast step in place and when it's wet I get drips of water coming down the bolts into the cabin. I'm pretty sure its just coming down the mast and down the bolt holes.

It seems that the bolts at this point go through some sort of metal plate. I know this because drilling them was a huge pain in the ass.

Question is, if I cant get the boat out of the water this season, I'll not get to this job.... is it a serious issue?? My concern is that water is getting into the balsa core and needs addressed ASAP.
12:25AM, 12 December 2011 PDT (permalink)

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Andrew Curry says:

Get it sealed asap. Why risk getting the core wet. The mast is as easy to drop with the boat afloat as it is with the boat ashore.
Originally posted 92 months ago. (permalink)
Andrew Curry edited this topic 92 months ago.

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Slycat777 says:

Andrew,

Any tips for dropping the mast while afloat? I know I cant hold the weight of it myself on the cabin roof!

Ashore we trailer the boat near a very tall wall and use a rope attached to the forestay to lower

Had planned to take the boat out of the water last weekend but we couldnt get the damn thing on the trailer!!


Chris
92 months ago (permalink)

busy home [deleted] says:

I think you are pushing your luck trying to drop whilst afloat.. !
Remember Andrew went for a sail one weekend .. half way around the world.
Try gobbing silicone around it on a nice warm day next week!
92 months ago (permalink)

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Slycat777 says:

Yeah, the problem is the mast is on top of the bolts that hold the step down.

Its an inverted 'T' base (mast foot sits either side)

Was thinking I could loosen the stays on one side, then slip a thin disk of stainless steel with sealant on the bottom under that side of the mast foot then repeat on the other side. Might stop water running down the bolts....
92 months ago (permalink)

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Andrew Curry says:

Hi

I been dropping and raising my mast with the boat afloat for years. It’s really quite simple and no more complicated than doing it with the boat ashore.

1. Reverse the boat into the pontoon.
2. Using your spinnaker halyard and a length of rope take it to the front of the boat through a pulley or the bow roller then bring to back to one of the winches on the cabin roof this is used to support the mast on the way down/ up
3.Get yourself a long length of timber say around 14 foot by 2 ½ inches square and cut a piece of wood into a U shape and screw it to the end wood. This is then used to catch the mast as you slowly lower it down.
4.Find three friends
5.To drop the mast you have one person standing on the after deck with pole. Another on the winch and one at the mast. Take the lowers shrouds off, loosen the cap shrouds. Tighten the spinnaker halyard and take the pin out that holds the forestay in place. Slowly ease the mast back taking weight on the spinnaker halyard then as soon as you can catch the mast with the pole then slowly ease the mast down.
6.Buy your friends a beer for helping out.
Originally posted 92 months ago. (permalink)
Andrew Curry edited this topic 92 months ago.

busy home [deleted] says:

Crushing the hatch garage is the problem.
The mast has to be held whilst some one knocks the bolt out, then two people man handle the mast foreward .. I find a shorter pole and U is handy. to hold mast about 7ft at that point.
92 months ago (permalink)

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rothwell_neil says:

I have dropped and put up the mast afloat 3 times. An A-frame and the winch work in both directions and cushions on the garage take the mast until you un-bolt it. Two man job to put back up as need to help it up a bit before you can winch it up the rest of the way. Did lower it on my own once, once being the important word in that sentence. My picture stream shows the A frame from Mike and the wooden version I used when Mike moved to the East Coast. Bad drawing www.flickr.com/photos/14026017@N04/4486093931/in/photostream
Originally posted 92 months ago. (permalink)
rothwell_neil edited this topic 92 months ago.

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NormanKlipspringer is a group administrator NormanKlipspringer says:

Chris,
Have a look at the links on this page for mast handling. They link to previous discussions we have had on Flickr. www.achillesyachts.co.uk/page9.html
I personally have raised and lowered my mast while afloat and have a purpose built A frame which does the job just great with a couple of friends. I also have a cross tree made of timber to support the mast at a sufficient height when lowered so that it does not hit the garage roof even when still attached to the step. Incidently I always remove the mast step bolt and replace with rope whenever I raise or lower. This avoids possibly damaging the step if you lose control of the mast sideways. I have also while afloat used a halyard on an adjacent (opposite side of the pontoon) larger boat. I have also used the hyab (hydraulic crane) on the truck that launched me. All these methods are fine but I find the A frame provides more control. I also prefer to raise and lower while afloat since the boat is much lower relative to the you on the pontoon than when on the ground. Good luck. Get the leak fixed.
As an afterthought it might be possible to move the mast off it's step while still up. I have not tried it but I would have thought if the shrouds and stays are slackened and a piece of timber placed on the coach roof that you could winch the mast off its step once the fixing bolt is removed. You would need to be careful that it does not slip by using appropriate ropes to steady the base and prevent too much movement while moving it. The mast is not that heavy and can be picked up by one person. I take no reponsibility for this going wrong if you try this later method.
Norman
92 months ago (permalink)

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Eclipse 1 says:

Chris;
Made a frame which was a success, which was also lent to Neil Rothwell a few years ago; simple, cheap, and controllable with two bods present. I was always wary of trusting bow fittings with the load imposed on them by a mast at 45 degrees from vertical!, and the possibility of braining a willing helper, although thats probably just me....
The frame was a self supporting tripod which stood on the foredeck, and attached via a tackle to the spreaders. See earlier posts..
John
ps Neil posted some handy photos of the device; check his earlier photos!
Originally posted 92 months ago. (permalink)
Eclipse 1 edited this topic 92 months ago.

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rothwell_neil says:

www.flickr.com/photos/14026017@N04/2346402948/in/photostream
www.flickr.com/photos/14026017@N04/2346402944/in/photostream
92 months ago (permalink)

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welkman001 says:

I've just done mine with me and a mate, up and down.....I did once use one of those poles to push up the mast on my old 1/4 tonner but it snapped and landed on my head, came to on the floor with mild concussion......
92 months ago (permalink)

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Slycat777 says:

Thanks for the info guys.
Going to make a few mods to the trailer and try one more to get her out.
If I cant I'll use these tips to take the mast down afloat to reseal the step
92 months ago (permalink)

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Slycat777 says:

Just spoke with the harbour master. If I keep the boat in over winter I can start a full time berth and so keep a full time berth in the Marina here. Will work well as its difficult to get a full time berth here.

I'll just drop the mast while afloat to fix the step leak.

Will keeping the boat in the water all year round cause any issues? The harbour is very safe etc, just wondering if the Achilles hulls are prone to getting waterlogged if afloat for long periods?
92 months ago (permalink)

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Skykomish E29 says:

Not really a problem, though best practice for any GRP boat is to have the boat lifted out every two years for a winter to give the hull chance to dry out a bit, however not essential. Due to financial constraints and Marina jacking up the cost of hire of a cradle we are not lifting ours out this year.
Achilles boats seemed to have proven more resistant to Osmosis than many due to Chris's built quality, but they are not totally immune as they have now been around for nearly 40 years.
92 months ago (permalink)

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Slycat777 says:

Great, thanks for the info
92 months ago (permalink)

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Slycat777 says:

Thanks for the advice on this one. We used the old slip at Ballycastle which is _very_ steep and tied the boat up at the bottom of the slip. The ramp is so steep that someone could stand on the slip and be at the same height as the forestay attachment!

The tip about using rope instead of the retaining bolt was great, gave me good piece of mind and we dropped the mast with no problems. Should be able to refit the step now and get rid of one set of leaks at least!
92 months ago (permalink)

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