Dropping an Alberg 30 Mast

Stark and JoAnn Ferris built this A-frame rig to enable the two of them to pull the mast of Whisper (#356) for transiting the Erie Canal. They donated the rig to the Alberg 30 Association and it's pulled innumerable masts since then. The blocks and lines have been changed, but the poles are the same rig that's been in use over 20 years.

It's the nature of the Alberg 30 Association that boat-owners help each other out, much like an old fashioned barn-raising. But if you're too far from Annapolis to use this rig, it should be relatively easy to make something similar.

Whether you use this rig or your own, though, please be careful. Stepping the mast is a dangerous job if anything should go wrong. In the process, the rig is poorly supported for awhile, and you should be careful not to rock the boat. If something should slip or break during the job, a major injury could result. You know your own abilities; you must decide if you've got the knowledge and manpower to tackle this job.

The procedure describe here has worked many times, but you have to use your own judgement. I've worked to make the photos and description tell the whole story, but there may be important details that are ambiguous or missing. There may be better techniques. This is just the one I know.

Offshore Sailing book cover Offshore Sailing by Bill Seifert with Daniel Spurr

We went to a Windjammers lecture to hear Bill Seifert and I was impressed enough to buy the book on the spot. I've heard a lot of people talk about ways to improve a boat, but I've never heard one person suggest so many good ideas that I hadn't considered. Part of the charm is the specificity of the suggestions. Everyone says you should secure your floorboards, hatchboards and batteries. Bill shows good suggestions on how to do so.

The suggestions are very practical for the do-it-yourselfer, too. Many show how to make or adapt inexpensive solutions. Tip #12 on closing the deck blower vents is one that will pay off for me without ever going offshore. I'll implement that one to stop the wintertime storms from finding their way belowdecks.

Besides modifications, the book also includes advice for operating offshore, cooking, boat selection, dealing with bureaucracy, and more.

Bill Seifert has worked at Tartan, TPI, and Alden Yachts. He's a veteran of many Marion-Bermuda races and now runs his own yacht management company. His tips are born of experience--not of book-learning--and it shows. He obviously knows his stuff.


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Last modified: Wednesday 05-Feb-2003