Sweet Thing II Mast Crutch & Mast Raising System
One of my main objectives from the beginning with Sweet Thing II was to "Geezerize" everything possible. This new Sanibel by International Marine came with an HDPE rudder which collapses upward when not in use. The tiller is a separate piece that attaches to a "Tiller block" that can be easily removed and stored inside the cabin. The image below shows the rudder blade in the upright position.
The image below shows the part I fabricated from square tubing that attaches to the tiller block. Unlike the tiller this part slides into the tubing and is held in place with a simple lock pin. The opposite end receives a 36" length of punched square tubing that acts as the vertical support for the mast. In the lowered position the mast forms a "ridge pole" just off the hatch and horizontal to the hull line. A nice support for a trailerable boat cover.
The image below shows mast receiving end of the crutch with a built in bow roller. The crutch position being inside the stern wall places the roller in front of the jib attachment, eliminating the need to manually lift the mast and reposition it behind the crutch. Not a big thing, but every little bit helps. Both of the fabricated parts are just painted with Rustoleum so they are a little scarred up. Once I am sure everything is the way I want it to be I will have the parts chromed or remade with stainless.
The image below shows the lower part of the crutch. For the moment I am using a PVC "T" coupling covered with carpet to cushion the post on the boat's sole which works fine but should be replaced with something a little more elegant. Once at the ramp with the base of the mast secured to the cabin deck, the lower section of crutch is easily raised using the 8" bolts as hand holds to pull the crutch up in a hand over hand fashion, pinning the crutch with a bolt at the top as you go. You can easily reposition yourself for each lift and make use of your legs to provide the muscle power. No more arms over your head pushing up the mast's weight.
The two images below show the mast in the raised position at a significantly greater angle than the standard crutch support when it's time to raise the mast. Something more along the lines of what you would get with a "Mast-Up" crutch attached to the rudder gudgeons.
In the image below the whole mast crutch is shown in the full up position.
Once the base of the mast is pinned into the tabernacle and the crutch raised to to the maximum height it's time to raise the mast. Key to raising the mast is maintaining control of the sideways movement with the temporary Baby Stays. Adjusting the Baby Stay lengths as the mast is raised or lowered allows precise horizontal control at any point in the process. See below.
Baby Stays attach to the mast using a short length of chain with an S-Hook linked to the end. Stays turn through the lower attachment points and pass through the forward chock guides to the control panel. The forestay and jib furler drum are controlled with the use of a boot fabricated by cutting a side bumper in half and enclosing it in a canvas sock. See Below
Control Panel cleats allow adjustment of side stay lengths and main halyard used to raise or lower the mast. Horizontal and vertical position of mast can be locked in place at any point to adjust horizontal position or address any "tangles" of side or back stays. See Below.
Forward post is made with three 36" lengths of graduated punched square tubing secured by simple locking pins. See Below.
Mechanical Advantage is double blocks routed through Turning Block secured with locking pin at lower joint. Back Stay attaches to tow vehicle hitch assembly. See Below.
So, there you have it. A single hander's mast raising system that allows complete control of the process while firmly planted on good old terra firma. Mechanical Advantage allowing a twelve year old to pull or lower the mast into position. For sure it takes a little more time to do but I am confident in the knowledge I am not placing myself, my boat or anyone else at risk. Most important of all for me, it's a completely "Geezerized" system that will materially add to the years I will share with "Sweet Thing II."