Mast Wedges

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prjacobs
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Mast Wedges

Post by prjacobs » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:41 am

Trying to think ahead to launching day, I've been Googling mast wedges. There seem to be many ways to do this, and I was wondering if any Ballad sailors have any advice or words of wisdom on the subject, and also what type of boot is used to make the thing water tight.
Thanks!

B173
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:10 am

Re: Mast Wedges

Post by B173 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:01 am

Hi Peter,

I have 3 rubber blocks supporting the mast in the hole. I seal that with vulcanizing tape to make it watertight. To protect the tape, I have made a cover from an old tyre tube. The tube is currently a bit too loose so it leaks a bit. In winter, the mast will come off and I will make it tighter.

I ll send you pictures.

Bram

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prjacobs
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Re: Mast Wedges

Post by prjacobs » Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:07 pm

Thanks for the pictures, Bram.
I'm going to take a good look at Spartite which seems like a good solution. If I understand the literature correctly it stays adhered to the mast and can be used over and over again. I wonder if it's flexible enough to adjust mast rake? And it still requires a waterproof boot over the top.

Bob McGovern
Posts: 279
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:08 am
Location: Wyoming, USA

Re: Mast Wedges

Post by Bob McGovern » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:20 pm

Spartite is a nice product, and a proper installation can be both effective and tidy:

Image

Prettier than the typical accordian-fold bootie. Rake adjustment might depend on adjustability of the mast foot on the step. Is there any fore-and-aft range there? If so, a very small tilt at the fulcrum should give lots of rake up high. If the foot location is fixed and you have to get your rake at the partners, you may need to dial that in with temporary wedges before pouring the Spartite.

I've always been un-sold on keel stepped masts myself, & I'm still half-inclined to make our Ballad deck-stepped. I think I've seen a couple with tabernacles: can anyone help with examples? There's an ingrained belief in the superior strength of keel stepped, but really almost all the force at the deck is compressive. The lateral components on a tabernacle or base plate are not much worse than those received on traditional partners. Most cruising catamarans have deck-stepped masts, and the lateral loading on those rigs is enormous!

It would be hard to justify the complexity and cost of going deck-stepped, since we don't plan on stepping the mast more than once. Other things to like, tho: You can make the compression post smaller diameter than the spar section; lots less water gets below decks; you can attach turning blocks to the mast itself -- either thru exit sheaves inside the mast foot, or shackled to the mast's baseplate, and all the compression stays in the spar. If you turn your halyards on a keel-stepped mast, the blocks normally attach to the deck itself & you must use tie rods to keep the deck from pumping like a diaphragm. :( Also, you can raise and lower the stick yourself at need.

Anyhow. I hear good things about Spartite. May need to get the rig tuned to your satisfaction before committing to it.:)

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prjacobs
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Re: Mast Wedges

Post by prjacobs » Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:57 am

The Ballad mast base has quite a bit of leeway for adjustment, with 7 different options (the front 2 holes are not useable, being too close to the bulkhead).
Image

Image

A quick calculation shows a theoretical range of about 1m (about 39") at the top.
It would appear that the most used hole on my boat was the forward one, #3, giving maximum rake. Holes 4 and 5 show some use too.
Having got the boat with the mast down it's going to be a best guess as to where it should go at first. Can anyone on the Forum tell me where the average position on the step is?

Also, can anyone with a Harken MK IV furler tell me which model they have: a "UNIT 0" or a "UNIT 1"?

Thanks.

Liese
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:08 am

Re: Mast Wedges

Post by Liese » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:14 am

Hi Peter, Hi Bob,
Ballad.de posted a trim Guide for the Ballad initiated from the Danish Ballad Club .
http://www.ballad.de/index.php?id=32&tx ... dc415646cd
I am sure you guys alteady found it:-) using google with 'Ballad trim sail'
The position or the Mast is Defined by the distance between engine Cover and mast.

Maybe that helps.
In our forum there are as well some more experienced Racing skippers. Maybe they can help.

Best regards,
Joerg

Bob McGovern
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Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:08 am
Location: Wyoming, USA

Re: Mast Wedges

Post by Bob McGovern » Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:35 pm

Thanks, Peter & Joerg! That answers the question about foot adjustability, & therefore probably your question about Spartite. It should work very well while leaving the ability to tweak mast rake. Such a well-thought-out boat.:)

Hadn't seen that tuning guide, Joerg. Thanks, I've bookmarked it for (much, much) later. Do you know any Ballads that have converted to a deck-stepped or tabernacle mast system?

Liese
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:08 am

Re: Mast Wedges

Post by Liese » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:16 pm

Never heard of such modifications...
What might be the reason for such a mod?

Best regards,
Jörg

Bob McGovern
Posts: 279
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:08 am
Location: Wyoming, USA

Re: Mast Wedges

Post by Bob McGovern » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:55 pm

Ease of stepping & unstepping mast without a crane, even in remote areas. Watertightness below decks, esp. in the bilge (the rotten mast step supports on Ballads are a testimony to water coming down the mast.) Ease of turning halyards and control lines at a mast base plate, to lead lines to the cockpit:

Image

Ease of tuning for mast rake, column, and pre-bend. Many high-end and performance builders are changing to deck-stepped masts, including the J/70, Chris White's huge catamarans, and Hallberg-Rassy.

http://chriswhitedesigns.smugmug.com/AT ... &k=5JNkGsM

Image

Low bridges: :D

Image

Downsides are cost of changeover, one less 'panel' in the mast column (an engineering claim mostly debunked), and the need to bring electrical connections thru a watertight deck grommet. There are always tradeoffs. If you aren't leading lines aft and keep your mast up always, keel-stepping makes a lot of sense. It makes good practical sense. But the technical reasons for it are not compelling. Ericson 35s, a production boat similar to the Albins, have always had deck-stepped masts. They aren't losing rigs left and right.

ETA: It might be worth mentioning costs. It may be different in Europe; but here in the US, paying a typical boat yard to unstep or step the Ballad's mast costs $300-600USD each time, depending on how much preparation the owner does. The place my boat is sitting charges $13.50US per foot for full-service unstepping (57 Euros/m). That's 432 Euros to raise or lower the Ballad's mast, just once. :o I will have to eat that cost, this time. I'd not like to make a habit of it. ;)

Hepne
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Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:56 pm

Re: Mast Wedges

Post by Hepne » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:03 pm

Hei

Mast wedges are described in the original Albin Ballad manual, they are rubber plates and called spacers.

A pdf copy of the original Albin Ballad manual in english can be found on the German Ballad club's pages. (http://www.ballad.de/fileadmin/user_upl ... ndbuch.pdf). You should download and print the manual.

On page 8 in the manual the mast rubber spacers 150x110x25 mm are described. I bought rubber spacers at the local boat chandler, but I obviously did not get the correct rubber hardness, so i had to make them thinner. To install them in accordance with the instructions in the manual, I need to use very high force on the winches, and alternate tightening up on each side, little by little, to keep the mast in the center of the hole. I also need to lubricate the rubber spacers by soap.

My Ballad, build number 510, named Hepne, has a Selden mast.

Regards John
Stavanger, Norway

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