1 (edited by Gingerbread 2013-02-18 15:22:32)

Topic: Raise and lower the mast myself?

In my consideration for buying a Contessa 26 I have a few questions;

- Can you (I) step the mast myself or do you really require a crane?

- how "trailerable" is it?  (I have a Ford EXCURSION)

Thank you all.

Re: Raise and lower the mast myself?

Trailerable indeed, but not easily launchable. This is a bigger boat than you might be thinking. An excursion might be able to pull one and her trailer (~6500 lbs I'm guessing), but I wouldn't consider it a trailer-sailor by any means.

The mast is pretty heavy, though I'm not sure exactly how much. I am sure it can be raised without a crane, but it'll be a lot to manhandle.

Re: Raise and lower the mast myself?

Adrian, thanks for the reply.

I had suspected, rightly, that my car can pull it but it will be difficult.

As to the mast, well, when the time comes, if I'm so happy to get a Contessa 26, we'll see what can be done.

I'm trying to minimize the "marina fee" portion of any sailing effort.

Re: Raise and lower the mast myself?

Yes. I can totally understand that. But trailoring a contessa for that reason seems penny wise and pound foolish in terms of effort!

Re: Raise and lower the mast myself?

The Excursion is a big truck so towing capacity is not a concern.

However, I wholly agree with Adrian.  It is not worth the time and effort to raise and lower the mast many times in a season just to save a few dollars on marina fees.  Towing home for winter storage does make some sense but do your research -- my Club's winter storage fees are just $300.

Here in Montreal it is common to zip out to the boat after work for an evening sail.  If you have to tow the boat to a ramp, launch it, raise the mast, and bend on the sails before you can sail, (plus the reverse operation in the dark to go home!), you not only will not sail in the evenings but you may find that you will not even want to daysail -- the boat will become a weekend/holiday boat.  Plus, dealing with launch and haulout and the mast requires crew.  The Contessa is easily sailed alone if already in the water and ready to go. 

These concerns are the same whether you choose a Contessa or another boat.

My point is that the easier that you can make it to use your boat the more it will be used. 



Re: Raise and lower the mast myself?

All of your comments are much appreciated.

In my area of the US the storage fees are pretty high which really spoils any interest in getting a boat which isn't trailerable. A wet slip would be around $2,500 per season and Winter storage is around $650.

It's easier for me to trailer the boat to and from a marina, spend a few weeks or months on the water and then go home.

At least that's the theory of it....

I hope you fellas aren't laughing too hard.

Re: Raise and lower the mast myself?

I use an electric crane to raise the mast. I untie all the lines securing the mast and all the rigging and line. Install the spreaders. Prep the standing rigging. Raise the mast. Then I dismantle the wooden mast supports. tighten the standing rigging. install the sails. run the lines back to the cockpit. route and hookup all the mast wiring. tune the rigging and install the pins. That takes me about 3 hours. I am sure it would be faster if I did it more than once a year and I could remember where all the lines ran. Having to raise the mast everytime to go sailing would definitely eliminate evening and probably most weekend sailing of me.

Re: Raise and lower the mast myself?

What does your crane system look like?

Re: Raise and lower the mast myself?

Sorry I was a little vague on the electric crane. It's the marina's 40+ foot tall crane mounted on land with a rotating arm.

Re: Raise and lower the mast myself?

I don't know about putting the mast up, but getting it down by hand on my boat took four big strong guys and it was pretty dicey.  I would definitely recommend a crane.
I do recall seeing a system online where someone could lower and raise the mast easily.  Luckily, I'm not too good at cleaning out the old stuff off my computer.  If I still have one I'll try to post a pic.

Re: Raise and lower the mast myself?

I've never heard of someone trailer sailing a CO26... so... that's interesting.  I don't think I would do that.

Perhaps a compromise option for you would be to dry-sail it?

Lastly, marina fees are really very high.  Perhaps you might want to consider a yacht club?  They tend to be cheaper than straight-out marina's in the long run.

Re: Raise and lower the mast myself?

You're right about yacht clubs. I've applied to one and am waiting for their reply. It's much less expensive than Marina$ (sic).

Still no success in getting a Contessa. I know of 5 that are for sale and only 1 of them is worth considering. There is one on the Pueblo Colorado Craigslist which might as well be scrapped.

If you know of one that's for sale on or around Lake Ontario (or Champlain) please let me know. If it has a trailer (in useable road condition) so much the better.