Martin 16 Mast Stepping


by Pete Hogg

1. Make sure the two screws at the base of the mast are reasonably tight but don’t over-tighten. Then run a strip of rigging tape over them and around the mast to protect the and prevent them from falling out if they come loose.

2. Make sure that the outer ends of the spreaders are intact, securely attached to the spreaders AND that they allow the shrouds to move up and down through them. Also check the brackets that hold the spreaders on the mast and make sure that they are held securely on the mast by their screws or rivets.

3. Before raising the mast, make sure that any lines near the mast step on the deck are on the proper side of the mast step. Also make sure that each of the “T” connnectors for the shrouds and the forestay are in the mast and pointed in the right direction to allow the shrouds and forestay to extend to their full length when the mast is up. Also make sure that the halyard shackles for the jib and mainsail are tied off in some way or secured near the base of the mast along with their tail ends to prevent their running up and into the mast while its being raised.

4. Connect the port and starboard shrouds to the port and starboard tangs/chain plates using the the third or fourth hole from the bottom on each but the same on each side.

5. Raise and step the mast while checking to see that the tangs on each side don’t get stuck and therefore prevent the shrouds from deploying properly.

6. While still holding the mast in its upright position, pull down on the forestay cable and work your way forward keeping pressure on the forestay cable (so the mast doesn’t fall) and secure it with the forestay line that is attached to the bow eye and threaded through the hole in the center of the bow deck edge.

7. Make sure that the mast is as straight as possible (90 degrees fore and aft and port and starboard) in relation to the deck of the boat. There is some argument among Martin16 owners about the advantages and disadvantages of having a slight aft rake to the mast. I’ve noticed the top sailing winners being very careful to measure the distance from the stern to the top of the mast but none of them are volunteering any info. (See the Martin 16 Tuning Guide for more information on this.)