Mast Crutches & Supports
By David "Shorty" Routh - Phoenix, Arizona - USA
images to enlarge)
There are many different types of mast supports that
people use to hold their mast while trailering. This
photo is a very typical support that I have seen on
many boats, it is just a piece of square steel with
a Y at the top, and a couple of bolts welded on that
fit in the gudgeons. It apears to work adequately,
but has one major problem: when trailing down the
road, all of the road bumps & jarring are transmitted
from the weight of the mast, onto the gudgeons. I
know they are very strong, but they are one of the
key pieces in the steering system and I wanted to
make effort to stress them a little less.
|This is the
mast crutch I prefer
This is the mast crutch I prefer (and made for my
Oday). The first thing you will notice is that I attached
a foot onto the shaft, so the weight of the mast is
actually resting on the gunnel, so the gudgeons get
A cotter pin in the pintle prevents the crutch from
jumping out, incase I hit a big pot hole.
Instead of being made of steel which will rust quickly,
I made mine from wood. It probably won't last as long,
but during it's life it won't leave rust stains everywhere.
Also since the shaft is 4" wide, I use it as
my backup emergency rudder. I have a couple of holes
drilled in the lower part which mate up with holes
drilled in one of my berth covers. I bolt them together,
lash on a makeshift tiller and I have a backup rudder.
When making the crutch, you need to figure how high
you want it to be. Some people like very tall ones
so they can drape a cover over their boat, and the
angle is steep enough to prevent snow from building
up. Others make theirs as short as possible so they
can roll their boat into their garage. I set mine
at the height just high enough so I could open my
hatch and get in the cabin, while the mast is lowered.
forward end of the boat, many people just
rest their mast on top of their bow pulpit
and bungee it on.
On the forward end of the boat, many people just
rest their mast on top of their bow pulpit and bungee
it on. On my Newport 17, I was storing her in the
garage and wanted to keep the mast as low as possible,
so I made this simple support which attached to the
pulpit with U bolts.
|My ODay didn't
come with a pulpit, so I had to make a crutch
for the forward end.
My ODay didn't come with a pulpit, so I had to make
a crutch for the forward end. My winch post is a fairly
large steel tube, so I made one which fits down in
there. I drilled a hole at the bottom of the winch
post so that if any water gets in there, it will drain
out instead of pooling in there & rusting it away.
a simple little crutch that fits on top
of the mast step.
One last issue, when trailering down the road, the
middle of the mast bounced up and down a LOT!!! To
support it, I made a simple little crutch that fits
on top of the mast step. I even use the masts step
bolt & cotter pin to keep it from falling off.
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