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Old 08-21-2016, 02:51 PM   #1
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Tilting Mast (Question)

I have a Cheerman PT 38 tri-cabin trawler. I just leased a covered slip (to allow me to work on the exterior more often). To my dismay, the height limit is 17 feet and my mast turned out to be 17 and 1/2 feet above the water line. The local boat yards are recommending a tilting mast, which is a costly solution. I am thinking a better option is to lower the radar dome about 8 inches, and then cut off the top of the mast and build a new spreader, mount a new anchor light.

Before I do anything, I thought I would ask if anyone on the Forum has experience with tilting masts? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Thanks.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:12 PM   #2
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Origally the Eagle could not get under two of the Seattle Lake Union bridge so I cut three ft off.

It looks like there is several ft not needed.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:56 PM   #3
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Looking at your mast, it would be very easy to hinge it so you could tilt at whatever point you chose. Personally, if tilting, I would just tilt the very top either electrically or hydraulically. More conventional would be tilting low enough you could reach it by hand. The problem with hinging it is would you remember to lower it every time.

You definitely don't need and aren't using the top foot. It's really serving no purpose other than looks. I'd shorten it.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:38 PM   #4
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Why not just cut the mast above the spreaders and mount the anchor light there?
Less work.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:48 PM   #5
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Am I the only one surprised it's not already hinged if not otherwise able to be lowered?
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:50 PM   #6
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Other than a mounting location for your anchor light, does that top foot of mast actually do anything for you? If not, cut it off and remount the anchor light.

Keep it simple.
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Old 08-25-2016, 12:13 PM   #7
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Other than a mounting location for your anchor light, does that top foot of mast actually do anything for you? If not, cut it off and remount the anchor light.

Keep it simple.
Dave, and others...

This is how I feel too. The top of the mast just holds the anchor and spreader lights, and, of course "looks like a boat". One of the drawbacks of a tilting mast is that I must always remember and prepare to enter the slip, and must have some mechanism to raise and lower the weight of the mast and radar dome. Then when the mast lays down over the stern, making it hard for me to access the flying bridge for any usage or repairs topside while I am docked. There is another boat in this marina with a tilting mast, so I could see it first hand.

I am inclined to just shorten the mast, even though the "look" of the boat changes. However, that is cosmetic and personal.

As it turns out, the current radar dome is right at the height limit for the roof, so I will need to lower the radar dome, then remove the top of the mast and rebuild the spreader. On my trial run, I tried to enter the slip with full tanks (fuel and water) so when returning home with empty tanks, I will be riding higher in the water, with less roof clearance. So I have to plan for this in the final mast height.

I have found anchor and spreader lights at the usual suppliers (Fisheries, WestMarine, Defender). The current wiring for those lights travel up a hollow channel inside the center of the mast. I will need to make cuts in the mast with a reciprocating saw or panel saw, trying to preserve the wiring so I can splice in extensions to the new lights. If not, my guess is I will have to feed new wires down the channel and out the bottom of the mast (where the current wiring travels). Its a bit of work, but in the end it would keep things simple, strong, stable over time.

This is my inclination. I have not done anything like this before, so I thought I would see if others find my plans a bit strange. And I will need to find another person to help (this is a 2 or 3 person job). Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 08-25-2016, 12:22 PM   #8
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At my yacht club there was a boat house for years that had a large sign hanging just above and outside the boat entrance that read "Mast!"

Silly question, but do you need spreaders? It appears to me that the spreaders are simply cosmetic. If you shorten the mast you could support it without spreaders, eliminate the unnecessary spreader lights, and save yourself a bunch of work. Again, I could be missing something obvious....
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Old 08-25-2016, 12:41 PM   #9
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Can't they cut a piece out of the front of the slip roof and you tell them that you will pay to have it replaced when you quit your lease?
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Old 08-26-2016, 12:48 AM   #10
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Silly question, but do you need spreaders?
Not essential. Just used occasionally for illumination of the fly bridge and walkways at night. However, building a spreader from a piece of hardwood and fitting it to the mast is not much additional work, and the wiring for the lights is already there.
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Old 08-26-2016, 06:34 AM   #11
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Our boat originally had a stay sail and was 26' high. After consultation on the forum 4 years back I cut 6 ft off the mast which allows me up and down the Trent Severn Waterway. I have not looked back, it was the right move. In your case for covered slips you likely have to be shorter than my 19'7" current height.
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:14 PM   #12
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Tilting Mast (Question)

Want an alternative idea?


Cut the BOTTOM of the mast off. Leave all the wires intact. Just be CAREFUL to use a batten or some stick to keep the wires away from the saw blade. Hand cutting would be a good idea.

Cutting the bottom of the mast will keep 'the look'.

Cutting the bottom of the mast (as long as you don't nick the wires) is easiest. Then you can take the stays to a yard and have however much you take off the mast cut off the wires and have new swaged forks or eyes installed. You can reinstall the shoe of the mast back on to fit into the step. You split the mast section once you cut it, so you don't have to work it around the wires.

This is best done with the mast laying down so you can use gravity to help the wires lay down so they don't get cut. And roll the mast over each cut so the wires lay on the bottom. Stick a wooden batten down in the channel to force the wires down as you cut each side. Cutting a metal conduit lengthwise and trying to shield the wire would work too. Hand saw.....
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:33 PM   #13
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Want an alternative idea?


Cut the BOTTOM of the mast off. Leave all the wires intact. Just be CAREFUL to use a batten or some stick to keep the wires away from the saw blade. Hand cutting would be a good idea.

Cutting the bottom of the mast will keep 'the look'.

Cutting the bottom of the mast (as long as you don't nick the wires) is easiest. Then you can take the stays to a yard and have however much you take off the mast cut off the wires and have new swaged forks or eyes installed. You can reinstall the shoe of the mast back on to fit into the step. You split the mast section once you cut it, so you don't have to work it around the wires.

This is best done with the mast laying down so you can use gravity to help the wires lay down so they don't get cut. And roll the mast over each cut so the wires lay on the bottom. Stick a wooden batten down in the channel to force the wires down as you cut each side. Cutting a metal conduit lengthwise and trying to shield the wire would work too. Hand saw.....
I agree with this approach. Probably less work to deal with revised step issues that the upper end, though this is just speculation. It would save the original look, somewhat anyway. Good luck and beautiful boat!
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:55 AM   #14
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II am thinking a better option is to lower the radar dome about 8 inches, and then cut off the top of the mast and build a new spreader, mount a new anchor light.

What happens if you have a super high tide in the area? We've been floating about 2' higher than normal during the Hermine event, and it didn't even come all that close to where we are...

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