Building a mast

The Sage 17 mast is provided by Dwyer Aluminum Mast Company.  Each mast arrived with the t-ball fittings, mast foot pivot pin and PVC pipe used to run electrical wire installed.  The fastener holes are also drilled & tapped for the masthead fitting & spreaders.

First task to putting the mast together is to remove the pivot pin and then remove the lower section of the PVC tubing.  The tubing needs to come out so it isn’t cut while I install the mast hardware.

Next I work from the foot of the mast and drill the fasterner holes for the hardware: exit plates for the halyards, ClamCleats for the reefing lines, gooseneck fitting, strapeye for the terminal ends of the reefing lines and cunningham, bolt rope feeder (or mastgate for boat owners wanting slugs on the main’s luff), main halyard cleat, and the exit block for the jib halyard at the hounds.

Fastener holes have been drilled.

Fastener holes have been drilled.

Once all the running and standing rigging fastener holes are set I will then cut the necessary fastener holes and pass-throughs for the masthead light (if ordered).  this includes holes at the foot and head of the mast for the wire to run though, strain relief strap for the wire and installing the masthead light bracket.

The faster holes for fittings near the masthead.  The bracket in place is for the masthead light.

The faster holes for fittings near the masthead. The bracket in place is for the masthead light.

Once all the holes are drilled I now re-install the bottom PVC pipe and run the masthead light wire.  The PVC conduit keeps the wire from slapping inside the mast (no fun to try sleeping with this noise) and assure the internal halyards don’t accidentally become twisted on the wire.

This picture is of the masthead light wire at the foot of the mats.  Look closely and see the PVC pipe used to run the wire up the mast.

This picture is of the masthead light wire at the foot of the mast. Look closely and see the PVC pipe used to run the wire up the mast.

With the wire in place I install the strain relief loop.  This is needed so the weight of the wire doesn’t pull the electrical connectors out of the masthead light.

Masthead light wire at the top of the mast is held with a strain relief loop - in this case a zip tie.

Masthead light wire at the top of the mast is held with a strain relief loop – in this case a zip tie.

Next I install the internal halyards (click here to read why the Sage 17 has internal halyards).  To assist in this I use a cast-off backstay wire that is lead through the mast.   I use this wire to pull the halyard.  Works real slick.

Here are the main halyard (white w/green fleck), jib halyard (white w/red fleck) and the old backstay wire used to pull the lines through the mast.

Here are the main halyard (white w/green fleck), jib halyard (white w/red fleck) and the old backstay wire used to pull the lines through the mast.

While running the main halyard I also take care not to get it wrapped around the last few feet, or top of, the wire heading to the masthead light.

An old backstay is run in the mast so make pulling the internal halyards an easy task.

An old backstay is run in the mast so make pulling the internal halyards an easy task.

When running the jib halyard I also take care it isn’t wrapping around the main halyard.

An old backstay wire has been pulled through the mast.  the jib halyard is run through a block, and then down to the entry hole into the mast.

An old backstay wire has been pulled through the mast. the jib halyard is run through a block, and then down to the entry hole into the mast.

The halyards installed now I fasten the mast hardware in place.  Most of the hardware is installed using stainless blind ‘pop’ rivets.  These rivets are very strong and require the use of an air driven pop rivet ‘gun’.

Installing mast hardware with an air powered pop rivet gun.  These ClamCleats (CL211s) are for the main's reefing lines.

Installing mast hardware with an air powered pop rivet gun. These ClamCleats (CL211s) are for the main’s reefing lines.

Only a few pieces of mast hardware are installed with machine screws: bolt rope feeder, main halyard cleat, spreader brackets, the upper fastener for the masthead light and the Windex bracket at the top of the masthead fitting.

The BoomKicker hardware, gooseneck fitting and bolt rope luff feeder have been installed.

The BoomKicker hardware (owner specified option), gooseneck fitting and bolt rope luff feeder have been installed.

Fittings installed and halyards in place.

Fittings installed and halyards in place.

Once all the hardware is installed I now compete the wiring for the masthead light.  This includes putting the plug to connect to the boat’s electrical system at the foot of the mast and installing the light onto the masthead bracket.

The masthead light and windex fittings have been installed.

The masthead light and windex fittings have been installed.

Getting close now.

I install the spreaders onto the spreader brackets and then the shrouds are put in place.  The Sage 17 uses t-ball fittings for the side stays and the forestay.  T-balls easily install with a twisting motion and then held in place, when slack, using a Gibb insert.  (click here to read about the brand of t-ball fitting used on the Sage 17 being changed.)

Spreader is installed onto the spreader bracket.

Spreader is installed onto the spreader bracket.

The split backstay with the hardware for the backstay adjuster.  at the other end is the diamond plate where the single backstay coming from the masthead is installed.

The split backstay with the hardware for the backstay adjuster. At the other end is the diamond plate where the single backstay coming from the masthead is installed.

The upper shrouds are installed and held in place with Gibb inserts (the black rubber things).  Also pictured is the jib halyard running into the mast.

The upper shrouds are installed and held in place with Gibb inserts (the black rubber things). Also pictured is the jib halyard running into the mast.

When the upper shrouds are installed I tape the outer end of the spreaders in the color appropriate to each side of the mast: red to port and green to starboard (you can see this in the picture below of the completed mast).

The mast is now done and ready to be installed on the boat.  I will cover installing the mast and turning the rig in another post.

The mast is complete and ready to be installed on the boat (pictured in background).

The mast is complete and ready to be installed on the boat (pictured in background).

– Dave

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