RL24, RL28, and RL34 Trailable Yachts
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Novice owner needs instructions for lowering mast
Recently purchased a RL24 from a broker. The boat is in the water (no trailer) and I donít know the previous owner, so have no one to show me how to lower the mast and prepare for trailering. I have ordered a LDO 2074 G drive-on (or float-on) trailer from Long Trailer Co. to be delivered this month. Itís winter on the Chesapeake, so I want to bring the boat home. Anyone know where I can get information on lowering the mast. Thanks from a new, and so far happy, RL24 owner.

Clarence Wiley5-Dec-2003    Edit    Delete 
lowering the mast
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

Greg5-Dec-2003    Edit    Delete 
lowering Mast
Take a piece of rope and tie it to your jib halyard and the the bow cleat. Have it set up normally around a winch and get a person standing high in the cockpit who is also controlling the jib halyard. Use the halyard to take the pressure off the forestay so you can disconnect it. (Mast is held up by halyard) Then stand at the base of the mast and guide it down as the person in the cockpit slowly lowers it using the halyard. Then the person in the cockpit can catch it and its ready to be stowed.
Ben Skennerton7-Dec-2003    Edit    Delete 
Mast lowering
A tip given to me that makes lowering a much more safe exercise is to use the toping lift to secure the base of the mast to the step. I pass the halyard through the the step and around a cleat on the mast, you could just take a bight on the mast. This stops the bottom of the mast from kicking out of the step and is especially useful if it is windy.
Martyn18-Dec-2003    Edit    Delete 
Pain-free mast lowering for an RL28
I haven't seen a reference in the posted messages on lowering masts to the method given to me by the previous owner of my RL28 ("Jezabel"). Before I was shown this method, I lowered the mast "manually" using the forestay and paying out a rope to the pulpit. This gets very difficult and hard work when the angle of the mast to the horizontal becomes small. Also, Mr Hercules needs to be in position in the cockpit with a strout prop (to receive the mast) and be ready to duck for cover if things go pear-shaped!

The alternative method I now use by myself and it's effortless. A piece of 75mm x 40mm hardwood (about 3 metres long) is propped against the bow side of the mast step. This end of the beam is secured by rope (as a safety precaution) to the mast step. Lanyards are attached from the other end of the beam (the free end)to the safety line stanchions to prevent sideways movement. The forestay is detached and attaches to a shackle in the free end of the beam. The main sheet then also shackles to the free end of the beam and to the forestay anchor point of the boat. Playing out the main sheet then slowly lowers the mast. The key seems to be the exact dimensions of the beam and the lanyards to allow correct turning moments and correct play. My layman's observation suggests that the tension in the mainsheet is within the tollerance of the mainsheet blocks and line.

I also use an additional safety line played out around the pulpit just in case of main sheet / other failure. The mast weighs a fair bit and would do a lot of damage to the coachtop etc if released.

Perhaps others use this method and have assumed that it's the accepted way?

Phil Gardam30-Dec-2003    Edit    Delete 

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