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 Post subject: trouble stepping mast
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:46 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:04 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Central California
anyone else have this problem? on my 1999 boat, when stepping the mast, with the mast base in the 16 hole on the mast step link (double checked), the base of the mast ends up about a half inch or more too far forward when raised, necessitating a bystander having to come over and offer help to push the base of the mast rearwards while I hold the mast upright and helper number one pulls forward on the front forestay., turning what should be an easy 2 person job into a semi-difficult 3 person job. I should mention I parked on a slope so the bows were pointing down (below the stern for easier stepping.

Additional info, when lowering the mast, the mast step link can only fit on the 14 hole, however, in the past have tried the 14 hole to raise it, and it makes the problem worse, as it is in front of the 16 hole so moves the base of the mast even more forward.

do I just have worn parts, perhaps an incorrect part? have the parts changed? I don't remember ever having this issue on my old 1984 boat. The 1999 is an ex race boat, could someone have used a "hot, trick set-up" part on my boat?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:43 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:02 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Clinton Lake, Kansas
Check this... there are small "ears" on the step link that should be bent outboard so that the link rests on the mast base. If these are bent inwards, the link will fall in the groove allowing it to move forward farther than planned. Newer links have a cross piece support to prevent these ears from bending inward. Links (new and old styles) can get easily mangled after repeated usage or stepping fubars, so as you stated, a new step link may be in order, but also Stainless Steel can be bent back in to shape.

Another thing to try when stepping
When mast is 2/3 to 3/5 the way up, give a pregnant pause to your "lift"
Gravity and weight will allow the link to rock back and down so the mast ball lines up with the base.
If you rush to throw the mast all the way up in one motion, the link will never have a chance to rotate back/down.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:15 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:33 pm
Posts: 206
Location: Southern California
This is a very common problem. The newer boat with raked mast may be why you see the issue now. Many will push past the point of hang up when raising the mast and break their mast base!

Pausing about half way up for about a second works great, you will feel the mast base drop slightly.

It is critical to use the "16" when raising. Using the "14" hole when lowering mast is not an issue at all. No critical alignment is needed when lowering - the mast base just comes up out of the cup whichever hole is used.

One trick I use is to use a #3 Philips screw driver rather than the pin that is supplied with the step link. Much faster.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 1:20 pm
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Location: Clearwater, FL
When raising the mast solo, you can also use your left hand to reach down and pull the lower section of the mast back towards you while you continue pushing the mast up with your right hand. This will make sure the mast base is aligned properly with the mast step.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:34 pm
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Location: Hartland, WI
I have bent the small ears of the link outward on mine. Also it really helps if you have the boat either level or low in front. The mast base drops right in place then. If you are too high up front it'll tend to bind.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:00 pm
Posts: 476
Location: Charlottesville, VA
I have found that I have to use the 14 holes to raise the mast. I still have to finesse the mast into place, but it doesn't come anywhere close to working if I use the 16 hole. I think that link was designed for much older, upright mast arrangements.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:54 am
Posts: 16
I have the same problem on my 16. I use the 16 hole. Even when lowering the mast, it will "pop" out of the base when the mast is at a certain angle. Obviously, raising it is when this becomes a problem as you noted. From my observations, the binding is reinforced by the weight of the mast getting "caught". However I have found that simply applying a quick but controlled upwards thrust of the mass releases the pressure or bind and the mast drops in the base easily (as noted by flatlander in an earlier reply). I am able to do this all by myself while keeping both hands on the mast. I would not park on a slope as this will make it more difficult for you to apply the upwards force on the mast and get the mast ball to slide into the base.


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