Stepping the Mast - Single Hand

By Fausto Deguzman:

This is an on the water mast take down on a boat with a jib down haul (purple line).

Jib down haul line on the port side going forward.

Looking forward.

The line runs through a small block on the bow.

Tied with a bowline to the jib halyard. Make sure the jib halyard is cleated (and double check) before disconnecting the forestay. Also, loosen the backstay as well.

Disconnecting the forestay. Many a forestay pin have been dropped into the water during this step. Always carry spares.

Forestay in hand. Mast is now held up by the cleated jib down haul.

Ready to lower the mast. Slowly uncleat the jib downhaul and let the mast down.

Mast coming down. Jib downhaul slowly being let out.

The mast can be gently caught and guided into the mast crutch.

Uncleat Jib halyard.

Mast resting on the crutch.

Close up of the crutch. Notice the rollers. This makes it easier to move the mast forward or backwards.

Finally, the mast base plate.

The jib down haul is highly recommended as it makes the job of raising and lowering the mast much easier. It is also critical when raising the mast single handed. It obviously makes the lowering the jib possible without having to go forward onto the deck.