I’m sure that I’m not the only single handed sailor that finds the sailing the easy bit of the episode. Raising and lowering the mast is probably the hardest thing to do single handed. A Carbon Fiber mast would be ideal as it would shave about 30% from the weight of the Red Fox mast (which I think would be about 25Kg) but I've been reliably informed that this will not fit in the standard tabernacle for the Red Fox and would cost in the region of £7,500. As most of us are not prepared to spend this much money on a mast, there are a number of things which can make the mast raising more straight forward.

The most useful asset is a mast ‘crutch’ which sits over the outboard well. This enables the mast to be move aft to enable the pin to line up with the hole in the tabernacle whilst ensuring it doesn’t over balance and end up smashing the masthead light on the ground (an event that has nearly happened a couple of times. The ropes are attached to the winches and stop the crutch from toppling over backwards.

A block and tackle system is used in place of the trailer winch. The bitter end of this pulley is fed through the clutch and round a winch. This means the mast can be easily raised from the cockpit and I can free any lines or stays – which always seem to get caught on the deck hardware when raising the mast! The wood behind the support can be used to raise the mast for the first 40cm – always the most difficult part of mast raising.





Items required


Winch handle


Fender with rope on both ends


Mast strut


Mast support


Wooden chocks


Trailer keys


Ratchet tie-down straps


Bathroom scales


Large G Clamp


Cable ties


Small spanner for rigging screws


Allen key or similar for bottle jacks






Ensure boat is attached to trailer at the bow


Ensure boat cannot fall backwards (chocks or attached to car)


Remove trailer board.  Push trailer board mounting struts right in


Attach VHF aerial to mast.  Check it is straight with wind indicators either side of mast


Check masthead light is ok


Move mast aft.  Put bolt through tabernacle and mast.  Ensure bolt has washer on it in the correct place


Tie off jib halyard so it can’t slip through the mast using a Flemish bend


Attach mast raising strut.  Use G clamp if required


Attach jib halyard to mast raising strut with a bowline


Attach trailer winch to mast raising strut


Stand bottle screws up so they are vertical.  Cable ties?


Check lines on mast to ensure they are all untied


Check lines on mast to ensure they will fall the correct side of the spreaders


Check shrouds to ensure they will not foul on anything when the mast is raised


Check forestay / furler to ensure it won’t be damaged / cause damage as the mast is raised


Check there are no lines that could foul the tabernacle as the mast comes up. Especially the spinnaker downhaul


Raise mast using trailer winch. 

                Keep an eye on the mast as it comes up

                Keep an eye on the shrouds as the mast comes up


Put forestay into mounting on anchor roller


Tighten upper shrouds.  Check mast bend is right.


Tension lower shrouds until they are hand tight + one turn


Attach boom to topping lift.  Put topping lift through clutch.


Attach boom to goose neck.     Check reefing cringle is right way around


Attach main sheet


Attach lazy jack lines


Put main halyard through clutch


Attach kicking strap.  Put kicking strap line through clutch


Put bilge boards in


Attach bilge board lines


Feed jib into furler groove.  Tie halyard off at mast


Attach jib furler line (check it is in the right way). 

Turn furling  system (the correct way until jib is fully furled).  Do three more turns


Attach jib sheets with bowline.  Feed jib sheets through clutches


Connect VHF and masthead sockets at base of mast


Put outboard on bracket.  Pass through pushpit and connect to fuel tank & power


Put rudder in


Attach fenders and lines