Tabernacle FC Mast

Has anyone had any experience with tabernacling an FC mast? I can see what I need to do, but some words of experience would help. Any advice? Thanks.

I think you may find the answers on the Nor`Sea yahoo groups if you cant find them here, seems lots of those guys have trailers. When I stepped my mast it was with a crane, these are very heavy masts!

The FC22 tabernacle mast is a convience worth learning. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind. I learned to tabernacle on my old Westsail 32. Rather than spending time aloft, tabernacling saves time and money for maintenance and upgrades and provides access to the mast step. I am installing a small radar, replacing mast lights, wiring and radio wire (a 20 meter ham radio whip atop the mast), and a Taylor kerosene cabin heater.

Preparation is key; take time to make fast, adjust lines, and get a mental idea about what will happen as the mast lowers.

Lower the mast in tiny starts/stops all the way until the mast rests on the gallows. The last few feet are the most sensitive. Let the rigging vibrations settle down before easing the sheet. When the mast is eased down in segments, the starting and stopping will cause the rigging to vibrate after a stop. Just wait 30 seconds for the oscillation to stop before easing the sheet. Let out 1/2 inch at a time.

Watch videos on youtube, read about cranes and A-frame derricks to learn the principles involved. Here is a nice image:

Remove sails. Disconnect the boom. I used the boom as the gin pole, placing a piece of wood between the boom and base of mast, and lashing in place. I’ve thought about attaching a boom attachment in front of the mast at the level of the mast hinge for quick connect.

Make fast blocks to the hull straps either side of the mast which run in the same plane as the mast; the lower shrouds. Doing so makes the boom into an A-frame derrick. Run ropes from the tip of the boom (the end now sitting over the bow), through blocks (port and starboard) and each to its own winch aft. Lash ropes to boom tip so there is no port/starboard slippage. Ropes will require fine adjustments as you lower the mast, keeping the boom perpendicular and preventing port/starboard drift of the boom tip. I think this particular concept is very important; any port or starboard drift of the boom tip will result in an uncontrolled descent of the mast, especially the last few feet (voice of experience learned aboard a Westsail 32). I’ve found keeping the ropes taut with the winches is best.

Take the main halyard forward and lash to the boom tip. Fasten a block to the anchor rollers, make fast a line to the boom tip and run the line through the block then aft to a winch.

Tighten all four lines to the boom tip using winches, keeping boom perpendicular to deck and 90 degrees to mast. Base of boom should rest at the tabernacle hinge.

You can now unship all rigging forward the tabernacle hinge point and secure to mast.

Sit down and look it all over. This is a good time for a cup of coffee.

Ease main line in 1/2 inch increments while pulling on the backstay so as to tilt the top of the mast aft. Once the mast is about 15 degrees down, gravity will take over. Take your time and do not rush. Let the vibrations settle before easing the main line again. Keep port and starboard ropes taut so as to keep the boom perpendicular to the deck. Keep yourself safe under the gallows.