Contessa 26 Tech Notes

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Contessa 26 Tabernacle

by Steve Stewart

Here are the pictures of the mast base and bow roller I worked up. The perforated plate is one of those off the shelf items. I made a cut out to fit the mast base tennon. The plate is secured to the base with 10-24 screws and threads tapped into the mast base. The placement of the strap eyes is very critical in order to allow the foot of the tennon to clear the aft lip of the mortise in the cabin top when the mast is tilted forward. The straps are secured to the cabin top with 1” long #10 sheet metal screws. I established the positions by assembling the mast base and perf. plate without the mast. This allowed me to rock it around to locate the positions of the straps. I use the boom as a lever to raise and lower the rig. The bow roller is a Super Bow Roller available from West Marine. The bracket to fix it to the bow pulpit was home make out of 1/4” aluminum. The roller allows me to raise and lower the mast by myself even though I must stop and go forward to lift the steaming light over the roller at one point in the process.

Groop Questions and Steve’s Answers:

#1: it appears that you are using the same stainless base as is sold for Catalina 22 refits???

Answer: No, It is larger. The C22 uses a smaller plate with 4 holes to the side. I looked on the Web for a source for the plates but had no luck. They are available from Svenson’s Boat Works in Alameda, Ca. But I don’t know how much they cost.

#2: What holds the mast to the boat as it is raised into position…where is the hinge?....certainly the tennon alone would slip out of the mortise as shallow angles in the process…..

Answer: If you look carefully at the pictures you will notice that the two shackles form the hinge.

#3: When you raise the mast using the boom as a gin pole, how do you control the potential side to side sway as it is going up

Answer: Two sets of guys are necessary. The first is set to the end of the boom to prevent it from falling off. The second set to the top of the mast or perhaps better to the spreaders to prevent the mast from yawing (I used two halyards). These must pivot at the hinge point of the mast. It is somewhat difficult to explain. The best thing I can recommend is to pick up a copy of “The Sailors Sketchbook” by Bruce Bingham N.A. published by Seven Seas Press, ISBN 0-915160-55-2. This is a wonderful book with great illustrations that explains all the complexities of rigging the guys and many other options for outfitting and decorating your “Yacht”. If it offered nothing else, it is great eye candy for a sailor. The author is the designer of the 20’ Flicka, that “little dutch shoe” as my wife calls it, made by Pacific Seacraft.

Mast Tabernacle 1

Mast Tabernacle 2

Mast Tabernacle 3