mast raising

A key requirement for any trailer-sailer is that raising and lowering the mast must be simple. And it is with the Atalanta and Titania.

raising and lowering the mast - tripods

A standard modification is to fit tripods to the cap shrouds.

The mast

Some Atalanta are fitted with alloy masts, but most have wooden masts. Standard wooden Atalanta masts are relatively heavy. However they can all be raised and lowered safely by the crew using the following technique:


Mast raising and lowering is straight forward using the optional rigging tripods fitted to many Atalanta’s. The Association can provide a copy of the drawing for this Fairey Marine rigging modification. It consists of a pipework tripod to attach each shortened cap shroud to its chainplate. This brings the bottom of the rigging screws for the cap shrouds into line with the mast pivot pin. When the mast is lowered the shrouds do not slacken, so the shrouds control the sideways movement of the mast throughout the lifting and lowering process. The main sheet and its blocks are used in conjunction with the spinnaker pole to actually lift the mast.

Getting ready

Firstly the mast has to be lifted from its travel position and moved backwards so that it extends over the transom, The foot of the mast has to be lined up with the mast step. A special pin is used as a pivot. This is actually the most difficult part of the whole operation.

mast raising

raising the Atalanta mast

Using the spinnaker pole

The bottom of the pole attaches to the base of the mast, the top of the pole is held vertical between the fore stay and the main sheet. One end of the main sheet goes to the forestay chainplate, and the other to the end of the forestay. The spinnaker sheets are used to hold the pole vertical. Their ends tied to the pivot point for the raised cap shrouds. The sheets stop the pole falling sideways, and stay tight as the mast is raised.

Raising the mast

It is just a matter of hauling in the main sheet and up goes the mast under total control. Once it is up you can attach the forestay, and fore lower shrouds at your leisure.

Just watch out for the back stay snagging on something. It will!

3 thoughts on “Raising and Lowering the Mast

  1. Hi does anyone have more detail on this – ie closer in pictures!? I am planning a remast and launch soon and was trying to get my head around all the bits of string…
    Plus where would i get hold of the rigging tripod!?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Not sure why you need a special winch. Only having done this on dry land I took the sheet over the fairlead in the bow and back to the jib sheet winch. Wroked fine, but maybe members think this is safety issue – being near the potential landing zone of the mast in case of a failure?

    Have also devised a temporary clamp for the front stay- for Titania height of mast mounting, if of interest to anyone.

    Comments please?

    1. I don’t know where you got the “special winch” from? I have not mentioned a special winch.

      My description says use the main sheet to lift the mast. That gives you a good mechanical advantage when lifting it. It does also mean you are on the foredeck, and as you say out of the way of a falling mast.

      There is always the risk of something going wrong. If you use the main sheet you will feel when something has snagged. The backstay in particular has a horrible habit of catching on everything. Using the sheet winch you will just keep winding – and something will give. So I wouldn’t use a winch.

      However like Dominic I have stopped raising and lowering the mast myself. I also let the yard do it for me.

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