Advice on installing mast steps?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by HCB66, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. HCB66
    Joined: Oct 2017
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    Location: USA

    HCB66 Junior Member

    I want to put some mast steps on my sail boat , any advice? Fasteners, should I calk where the step connects with something?
     
  2. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Location: Colorado

    Blueknarr Senior Member

    Several no mentioned factors influence the use and type of bedding compound.
    What is your mast made of?
    Wood aluminum carbon?
    What is the wall thickness?
    What is the shape of the mast?
    Rectangle teardrop oval round?
    How perfectly do the steps sit on the mast? Will shims be required to mate the steps to the mast?
     
  3. HCB66
    Joined: Oct 2017
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    Location: USA

    HCB66 Junior Member

    Mast is aluminum, oval not sure the thickness.
     
  4. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Location: Colorado

    Blueknarr Senior Member

    Still need some more information before advice directed specifically to you can be given.
    Material of step?
    Fit of step to mast?
    Wall thickness?

    IMO deformation of mast by loaded step is greatest potential danger to the mast. If a step has any movement it will be prying and distorting the mast wall. This could cause the mast to collapse. A hard noncompress able shin (wood plastic or resin not squishy caulking) should be made to compensate for any miss matching surface profiles between mast and step.

    I prefer machine screws tapped into the mast wall over pop-rivets.
     
  5. HCB66
    Joined: Oct 2017
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    Location: USA

    HCB66 Junior Member

    I haven't bought steps yet, I'm thinking stainless or maybe aluminum, leaning to stainless. I don't know the wall thickness of the mast and I won't get to my boat till the end of next week. Do you know a good way to check the mast wall thickness? Also any tips on fitting the rigid shims to the mast? Maybe use a belt sander and just check them against the mast till they fit?
     
  6. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    If the mast has shrouds, there will be compression loads. The step must be robust enough to endure the downward thrust of the mast. At least a casual bit of trig will be involved in calculating the column loads and the transfer of those loads to the step. The angle of the chain plates for starters, angle of forestay or backstay. Deck cleated halyards will also contribute to down thrust as will vangs if deck ended.

    Describe you boat. Is the mast deck mounted or keelson mounted?
     
  7. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Location: Colorado

    Blueknarr Senior Member

    Hcb

    Your use of "steps" (plural) led me to believe that you are installing a mast ladder.

    Or are you as MrE suggested
    Going to"step" a mast into it's vertical useful position.
     

  8. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Woe is me. I assumed the OP was speaking of the base of the mast. Aha, he is talking about a mast ladder as Blueknarr astutely reasoned. Semantics can cause misunderstanding. Even to the extent of having your nose punched.
     
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