Installing a new mast without measurements

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Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby marcusg » Sun Apr 07, 2019 8:47 pm

Hi there, new to sailing and found myself an old Sailstar Explorer 17 (hope that it's okay that I ask for help here, since this is a Daysailer knock-off.)

This boat came to me without it's original mast (which had snapped in two,) but with a new mast from some type of Daysailer that the previous owner had bought with the intentions of fitting it to the boat. He was not sure how long it should be cut, so that part we (he's my neighbor) still have to figure out.

We still have the bottom portion of the snapped mast (along with the riveted-on tracks for the book and the jib) and assuming all else is equal on the new mast (which is 24' 7" long or so,) it seems to be the right size for the Sailstar. The previous mast was deck-stepped, and the new mast appears to be meant to be keel-stepped. When I measured from the slot where the sail is fed into the masts, the difference between their size is pretty much exactly the distance from the floor under the cuddy to the top of the cuddy.

Firstly, neither of us have any experience with this. From what I gather, we not only need to attach the deck-stepped portion of the mast to the hinge plate on the deck, but we also need a section of mast to go under it as a "mast stub" so that it connects to a fixture on the floor which is presumably on top of a compression post under the deck. The hinge plate type thing we have that allows the top part of the mast to rotate does not look like the kind that attaches to both mast and mast stub, but maybe I just don't know what I'm looking at. I can get pictures soon.

But before we go and cut a hard-to-find mast, we want to be sure. Our thought is to lay out the new mast along with all the sails and boom and pretend to pet it all together to make sure it fits. Would this provide a close enough "simulation" to make sure we're cutting in the right place? I've never rigged a mast before so I'm not sure what to look for as out-of-place.

Thanks,
Marcus

P.s. the guy whose boat I bought is on here as "waterbug" and has asked some questions before.
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Re: Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby GreenLake » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:22 pm

My suggestion to you would be to simply rig the boat as if it was a DS. From all accounts the hulls are similar enough that even if the Sailstar sail plan was not an exact replica, it would sail well with a DS rig. The DS boom is long enough to fit a 10' foot of a mainsail (stretched). If your boom matches that, then you can proceed as suggested.

You may want to replace the standing rigging so it fits (or can be adjusted to) the exact length needed for your new mast. The best person to ask would be Rudy at D&R Marine. He would also be the source for a DS-style mast hinge that will guaranteed fit your new mast. (This assumes that your boat has a hole in the deck through which you can lower the lower portion of the mast with the hinge attached so it rests just above the deck. That lower portion needs to also be secured so it can't rise up during mast stepping -- but let's see some picture of your boat first to make sure about the existing layout.)

The luff length of a DS main is 20'6" or less if stretched (and, as stated above the max foot dimension is 10'). The boom is supposed to be 2" or more above the deck. If your sail is a bit shorter, don't worry, You can still use it. If it's longer in the luff, you'd need to get a DS sail to use with your mast.

(The same for the jib: luff length is 15' or less under tension for the DS).

I would not encourage you to change the mast dimensions trying to match a no longer existing mast. One reason is that by sticking to the DS mast you can be sure that you can later obtain DS sails whenever your current sails wear out. As you are new to sailing you may perhaps not appreciate that sails as a "consumable" on a boat: like break pads on a car, they last for a certain distance before needing to be replaced. They don't get "thinner" but they lose their shape and actually make it bit harder to set them or to control the boat in stronger winds. A good reason to start with new or new-ish sails. Anyway, if there is any difference, DS sails are probably easier to source.

The other reason to completely replace the rig is that you don't need to change any of the hardware, assuming your replacement mast came with spreaders and jib blocks. (Replacement spreaders for a DS can be purchased at D&R Marine if you need, get the beefy ones).

Anyway, enough suggestions; let us have some pictures or other details we are missing.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby marcusg » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:47 pm

Greenlake, thanks so much for the detailed response.

Went out today and played around with the boat, took measurements, took pictures, and got my wife's help to put the new sail (in it's full length) into the clear on the floor under the cuddy to simulate what it'd look like keel-stepped. No easy task on a windy day!

Since the new mast doesn't yet have the track for the boom, we couldn't stretch the mainsail and jib it on the mast. Instead, my wife and I tensioned them by hand and got these measurements for the lufts:

Mainsail: 20'3"
Jib: 14'8"

They'd probably stretch more when actually rigged.

Boat.JPG
Sailstar Explorer 17
Boat.JPG (233.41 KiB) Viewed 206 times


Cleat1.JPG
Cleat on floor under cuddy for mast/mast stub
Cleat1.JPG (182.94 KiB) Viewed 206 times

Cleat on floor under cuddy for mast/mast stub

Cleat2.JPG
Cleat2.JPG (196.42 KiB) Viewed 206 times

Cleat in perspective under cuddy
Last edited by marcusg on Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby marcusg » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:55 pm

As mentioned above, the slot in the boom for the sail foot measures 10', so that seems right. The mast, from my memory (the new one) measures about 24'7" or so.

Here is the shape of the bottom of the mast (with the bottom of the old snapped mast next to it, which is not smaller that's just because it's further from camera.)

Mast.JPG
Mast.JPG (65.91 KiB) Viewed 206 times


The bottom of the old mast has a couple attachments to it. This one fits the gooseneck? on the boom:

Boomattach (Small).JPG
Boomattach (Small).JPG (135.79 KiB) Viewed 206 times


And then this other attachment on the luft end of the mast I assume has something to do with the jib:

Jibattach (Small).JPG
Jibattach (Small).JPG (166.93 KiB) Viewed 206 times
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Re: Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby marcusg » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:02 pm

Mast has a small dent in it that slightly deforms the track. I should try to run the sail up it to make sure it works.

Mastdent (Small).JPG
Mastdent (Small).JPG (66.65 KiB) Viewed 206 times


Other than what's on the bottom of the old mast, we don't appear to have any of the old mast hardware for rigging the sail. The two aluminum spreaders fit on top of the fittings on the new mast but the pin holes in them don't line up. The new mast appears to have all it's hardware including stainless steel leads, but if it was missing something I wouldn't know to tell. I'd need to get new spreaders for it though.

My wife and I loaded the new mast (still uncut) into the hole on the deck and down onto that cleat under the cuddy.

Sailloaded (Small).JPG
Sailloaded (Small).JPG (87.9 KiB) Viewed 206 times


I measured a couple distances while the mast was installed:
deck to the bottom of sail-feeding slot: 36"
deck to center of rollers in picture: 9.25"
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Re: Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby marcusg » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:06 pm

Finally, here's the stuff that came with the boat to deck-step it:

Steppingstuff (Small).JPG
Steppingstuff (Small).JPG (103.24 KiB) Viewed 205 times


On the right is a plate that goes inside the mast stub that goes under the cuddy. This plate has screw holes that screw in to the tabernacle/hinge plate on the left, and the pin on the hinge/tabernacle goes through the above-deck portion of mast.

Likeso (Small).JPG
Likeso (Small).JPG (84.99 KiB) Viewed 205 times


Also, I forgot to add that the label on the sails reads: Ratsy and Lapthorn Inc, City Island NY

Thanks again for the help,
Marcus
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Re: Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby GreenLake » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:30 pm

Thanks for the pictures. Even with them, it's always hard to give remote advice, but let me try.

First, I measured my own mast. I can't currently raise it, or access the mast partners (deck opening), but I can see traces on the mast where it rubbed against them over the decades. For my mast, these traces are at approximately 29" from the bottom. There's about 1" from the backing plate under the deck to the top of the "lip" around the partners. Not sure, which of these corresponds to the rub marks.

Also, my mast sits on a "mast jack", basically a big circular nut on a thread, that is used to raise the mast against the stays to put tension in the rig. That makes my "mast step" taller than yours, by at least one inch. Still there may be a small difference in deck height, but that wouldn't worry me much.

The two tracks that you observe are for the boom and for some spinnaker or whisker pole (if the "track" on the front end of the mast is about 10-20" long).

The DS is used with spinnaker poles mounted to a ring (or two, if you want a choice in positions). Unless you have a spinnaker pole that works with the track on your old mast, I would not bother with reinstalling it and switch to a ring (if you ever want to fly a spinnaker that is, or use a whisker pole).

A whisker pole is used to pole out the jib, a spinnaker pole is used with a spinnaker. Both would be used when sailing downwind. (If you are as new to sailing as you claim, you can safely skip worrying about these details for now and retrofit them during one of the coming winters when you've mastered main and jib and are ready to take on the next challenge).

On your new mast, I see only one block (for the jib) near the spreader location, and I don't see a mast ring. I see some small fittings at half the spreader height on the side of the mast, not sure what those would be. Detail picture?

I take it (hard to see from your pictures) that the sail that you have sets in the same kind of slot that you have in the new mast, with only the gooseneck riding on the track. In that case you should be able to move the track over to your new mast. The widening of the sail slot that you show looks like the mast got bent at one point. Assuming that it was carefully straightened and shows no other sign of stress, I'd expect it to be fine. I don't think you should have any problems raising the sail and I don't think it will "pull out" at that spot (not if the luff is tensioned correctly) so you may find this a cosmetic defect only.

One of the pictures shows o the floor of the boat somethings that looks like a sliding gooseneck. I guess, what we are seeing is one end of the boom. The screw seems to attach to a bit of line intended to go through the tack of the sail? The DS boom has a pin for that purpose.

Since the mast profiles appear to be the same, your tabernacle should work: the oval piece should hold the upper part of the mast in place, and everything is supported by that rather massive plate. Do the slots allow the arrangement to hinge? If not, you may find a hinge more convenient.

Also, there's nothing inherently wrong with using a keel-stepped mast. You've already managed to insert it once. There's a bit of home-made gear I have on mine that makes that process easier. You could retrofit that and never have to cut your mast. (Purists find that keel-stepped masts sail better).

Here are a few pictures:

15451033

What you see is a circular base, a gate hinge, a wooden block and a bit of aluminum sheet metal forming a sleeve. You start with the thing folded down, insert the first 6" or so of the mast into the sleeve, hinge it into vertical position and then drop it onto the mast step. Something I can easily do single-handed. You appear to have enough clearance between deck and the lowest cleat to allow for such a contraption.

(You will also note the bent aluminum strip around the front of the disk: it's there to keep the jib sheet out.)

The place where I stashed the full write-up appears to be temporarily or perhaps permanently offline: here's at least the drawing.

MastRaiserDrwg.jpg
MastRaiserDrwg.jpg (21.93 KiB) Viewed 200 times


The hinge is the large detail on the right. Also shown is an A-frame that can be used by anyone, no matter how short/tall, to raise a mast. (I built one and then decided to retire it until I'm old enough to need the extra support).

You may have to measure the length required for your stays. That would depend on your spreader widths and there may be the odd inch of difference between the way a mast fits your boat and how it fits a DS. I believe DR marine can make stays to order and they will be able to tell you where and how to measure.

About your sails:

Ratsey & Lapthorn is a British sail making company based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, England and they had a loft in the United States.The loft was on Schofield Street on City Island, in the Bronx.


That seems to date them a bit, but what matters is not so much the chronological age as past usage. Still, more likely than not, you might be better off with a new set (always assuming that fits your budget). You find suggestions here, or check the list of suppliers for DS sails on the main DSA website "daysailer.org".

I'm sure I forgot something; there's a bit of detail here, but if you are methodical you should be able to figure things out.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby marcusg » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:16 pm

Thanks Greenlake for all the info. It seems like the best thing now would be for me to remove the boom track from the old mast and rivet it to the new one (which I'll need to learn riveting to do, but that actually seems pretty easy from the videos I've watched.) Is it okay to just use aluminum rivets for that? Are there certain types/shapes/sizes of different rivets that are better for sailing? Once I have the track on the new mast, I can just keel-step it for real on dry land and try rigging up the sails on a calm day to see where everything goes and to make sure I have everything. Looks like I'll need to get the right spreaders for the new mast but for now I'll probably just drill new holes in the old spreaders just so I can get an idea of what length the new ones should be (if they're abnormal or not.)
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Re: Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby GreenLake » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:51 pm

Your plan seems generally sound. Definitely use aluminum rivets (similar metals avoids galvanic issues). Specifically, get closed ones - generally the mast should be sealed to help reduce its tendency to make the boat turtle on capsize. Some masts contain foam near the top - if so, check whether it's waterlogged and should be replaced (requires taking off the mast head).

The rivets that will be on the mast are both closed and with captive mandrel which makes them a bit stronger, but not sure how important that is for any other than those holding the tangs for the stays. You can source specialty rivets online.

The HW store manual rivet tools are marginal. See whether you can get a better one somewhere.

When sourcing rivets, make sure to select not only by diameter, but length of "grip". That should be the final distance between outer and inner surface once the rivet is tight.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby marcusg » Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:14 pm

Okay, almost have the mast all ready to try to rig. Brother in law is here and excited to help me. We might even make it out to a pond tomorrow just to put it in the water to rig it so the thing doesn't blow over in the trailer (I live on a farm surrounded by fields so it's windier here than in the water.)

My next question is about the "mast partners" you mentioned. We're still just keel stepping the mast for now. Pictured below is what the hole looks like that the mast goes through. Does this need to be "protected" somehow from the mast swaying back and forth from its base below? Shouldn't be too big a deal for tomorrow since we're not really going to sail it. But I will need to figure this part out at some point.

IMG-5826 (Small).JPG
IMG-5826 (Small).JPG (115.28 KiB) Viewed 39 times


Thanks,
Marcus
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Re: Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby tomodda » Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:38 pm

Hi Marcus:

Chiming in here, great looking DS-1 "knockoff," wishing you fair winds and lots of fun with her. No, you don't need any extra protection at the mast partners/hole in the deck. The standing rigging (wires) will hold the mast pretty steady. And any bending will be above the partners. You'll be fine :). Look at the Daysailer bylaws here:

https://www.daysailer.org/resources/Doc ... bylaw3.pdf

....for the regulation measurements. As GL wrote, stay as close as possible to regulations, you can't go wrong and you'll be able to get "standard" Daysailer sails in the future.

Cheers,

Tom
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Re: Installing a new mast without measurements

Postby GreenLake » Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:38 am

As Tom wrote, your mast partners are designed to hold the keel-stepped mast without any further reinforcement. You do need to securely place the foot of the mast in the keel-step. The tension of the shrouds should hold it down, so it can't go anywhere.

About that tension: those with musical ears claim you should be able to strum an F (not sure which octave :roll: ). Actually, I stop just about at the point where the vibrations turn into some recognizable note (rather than rattling sounds). Maybe just a tiny bit beyond that point.

When sailing with some wind (6-10 knots, or 8-11.5 mph) you might find that the leeward shroud appears slack. That is OK.

The forestay tension is fine (for those conditions) if there's no pronounced sag in the luff of the jib - in some cases, you might need a bit of jib halyard tension in addition (if your jib has an internal luff wire, or a high strength luff rope for more modern sail, then it's the jib halyard's job to provide a good part of that tension.

Make sure to rig an outhaul on the boom, so the clew (back corner of the main) gets pulled back. Unless winds are rather light, you'd want the bottom part of your sail fairly flat.

Good luck!
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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