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Raising and Lowering the Mast

Started by rosswaddams, August 11, 2017, 06:55:29 AM

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I'm sure I've seen a thread about this topic on the forum somewhere but annoyingly can't now find it. So I'm starting a new one.

WB25 is nearing her first (for me) launch so I'm practising whilst waiting for the September holiday on the Norfolk Broads to roll around. The first time I got the mast up, it took four of us, all cursing and swearing. The mast is the original heavy old lump of solid wood. I was rather disheartened because I'll be doing all my sailing single-handed. There had to be a better way. Thinking cap on; computer on.

Here is a video of my new method

I'm rather pleased with it. I don't claim any originality (we stand on the shoulders of giants) but I do want other newbies to know that it's easy when you know how.


Hi Ross - I extended the forestay with some rope, lead it through a block at the end of the bowsprit and back to the cockpit. Then to raise the mast just push the middle of the mast up with one hand, pull the forestay rope with the other hand and up it goes, then cleat off when upright. Vice versa to lower. Can be done underway on a river to shoot bridges etc, and if at sea for extra security can use a bowsprit bottle screw in addition.
To avoid a rats nest of halliards etc I use quick release bungees as ties around the mast, I also use lazy jacks as I'm often single-handing.


Ross, have a look at an earlier subject, strangely enough titled 'Raising & Lowering the mast' on page 2 in 'The Rig' section.  Everything you would like to know has been posted there.   I still find it so quick and easy to dip the mast using my system, even with my advancing years.


Thanks, Rick and Dave.

I'll have a go with Rick's suggestion as I'm keen to be able to raise and lower when underway (the Potter Heigham bridges are between the Swallow Boats yard at Ludham and Hickling Broad). It sounds a lot simpler than my system.

I don't know why I didn't spot that "Page 2" - derrr. Heading over there next...

Dave - the link to your video doesn't work. When I saw this post originally I couldn't figure out how it all worked from the photos so that's when I got my Thinking Cap on. Have you got any other photos or a working link to the video?


Hi Ross - personally I wouldn't try shooting Potter Heigham bridge until you are absolutely certain you can do it! It's probably the worst bridge on the Broads.  :o

Acle bridge is probably the most straightforward - at least you can see a reasonable distance through the bridge  to see what's coming at you!  8)

Best of luck


The only way to do it safely single handed is to moor up before and after the two Potter Heigham bridges.  There are dedicated moorings for yachts which are raising/lowering masts, west bank downstream (south west) by Herbert Woods quay and upstream (north east) on the east or west bank.  With experience, shooting Potter Heigham (with a motor) is no problem with two on board.  We do a lot of mast lowering and raising when on canals for bridges, power lines and tunnels and it only takes 5 seconds to lower and less than 10 seconds to raise with the boom and gaff jaws safely stored away from the mast.
Sorry my video has got well and truly lost with time, but it did show how holding the running forstay halyard with your teeth and taking up the slack whilst simply pushing up the mast comes in handy.  I will try and make a new video when we are next out on Markie, September in Northern Ireland. 


Thanks, Dave and Rick. I shall heed your advice and think of a suitably caution Plan B until I've seen the Markie Magic in action.


We have returned from our Irish travels, Lower Lough Erne is a great place to explore with a Winkle Brig, some fantastic sailing in a fantastic landscape.
Our new mast lowering and raising video is now live on youtube.
Just search for 'VID 20170918 103744'
or search for 'winkle brig mast'


Gosh - that looks easy! Your mast seems to be made out of balsa wood compared to mine. But I shall have a go with your set-up and see how I get on - it's far better than all my tackles and A-frames.

Just for interest, I've weighed my mast and it seems to be just over 19 kgs with the shrouds and halyards.