|The American RL may be slightly different to Australian RLs but the basics of lowering the mast are similar for all trailer sailers. |
It is easiest to do it on the trailer so raise the keel, rudder and engine and secure anything that may hastle you while retrieving the boat. Without knowing the finer details of your trailer, its a bit hard to advise how to winch the hull up onto the trailer. We generally have the trailer backed down the ramp until the axle is just clear of the water. If the trailer has a tilt, release it, connect the winch cable to the towing eye and winch until the boat is on the trailer.
Perhaps you will need to sink the trailer deeper and float it on.
Park the trailer with boat on a level area.
The keel rollers need to support most of the boat weight and side rollers or skids simply stop the boat from falling over (minimal load). Adjust the rollers and skids.
Beware of over head electricity wires, the mast is still up.
Have a step ladder for getting on and off the boat if possible. Have 2 or 3 healthy people for the first time to share the load when lowering the mast. (one person can do it with practice but 2 or 3 for the first time).
The mast will tilt back at its base when you lower it. There should be a pivot bolt like a hinge at deck level just behind the mast. Some mast bases (steps) have another bolt at the front of the base, remove the forward bolt if fitted.
The mainsail and boom need to be removed and stowed below. Secure all the running rigging on the mast so that the mast can be lowered without lines fouling.
Check that the decks are clear and position 1 person behind the mast and one standing high in the cockpit.
Hold the mast forward. Undo the shackle or pin at the base of the forestay, which will allow the mast to drop but of course one of you is holding it forward and up. If it has a furler, the furler will be lowered with the mast. Come back so 2 people are just behind the mast then slowly lower it moving back along the deck until the person in the cockpit can take the load. It will not be heavy, just an awkward lift.
Most of us have cradles that hold the back of the mast while we undo the pivot bolt at the base. The person in the cockpit will need to hold it clear until the pin is removed then you can move it forward and leave it on some fenders for transport. My mast sits about 1 foot past the bow when stowed.
Most RLs on trailers have two wooden cradles to hold the mast while travelling. My boat has a bridge shaped cradle that straddles the hatch and a cradle on top of the pullpit. I tie it pulling it onto the craddles. I secure all the rigging with elastic straps tie down the yacht secure the rudder and I am ready to go.
Tow bar weight once the trailer is loaded with the boat should be about 200lb - 300lb. You may need to reposition the boat or trailer axle to get the weight right. Make sure the keel has a roller under it otherwise it can fall on the ground.
Have fun. Greg