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Stepping the mast of Quartette

On Thursday 22nd October I sailed as mate with Richard to take Quartette from her berth around to Gosport Boat yard to have her mast re-stepped. It is a fairly short passage just turn left after the Gosport ferry and follow the pontoons along in Premier marina until you run out of water, both on the surface and under the keel. We arrived on a rising tide and as we came alongside a Bavaria 35 the depth under the keel dropped to 0.1m plus on the helm I noticed she was going even more slowly than I expected.

It was a bright day, sometimes actually sunny so I decided to take some photos of the interesting surrounding activity.

First the mast was removed from our neighbour and it was apparent from the size of the hook on the huge crane that it was usually used to pick up heavier items than a boat mast. The crane man attached ropes of about 20mm diameter under the lowest set of mast spreaders and attached the lower mast winches to that rope too. Then they undid all of the connections from the mast to the deck on our neighbour, tied everything to the mast. Lifted and away it flew.

Attaching our neighbours mast to the large crane hook

During this exercise the tide had risen a fair bit and covered the exposed mud against the shore and as an estimate it rose at least 0.3m and our depth under the keel still showed 0.1m, confirming my earlier suspicion that we had been ploughing a groove into the mud at the bottom of the yard’s slipway.

Our neighbour’s mast flies to the shore

At that point we had a bit of a wait and it was spitting with rain so I went below, and came up to a call from Richard of you have nearly missed it, which was not quite right since I had totally missed getting a photo of our mast flying back onboard. The rigger proceeded to attach our new shrouds to our chain plates and it was a much slower exercise than simply disconnecting them on our neighbour.

Our rigger starting to attach our shrouds to the side plates

The crane man then sat on his working seat and took our new wind gauge and hawk up to the top of our mast and attached them in place.

The crane man being hauled aloft with our wind gauge
The crane man fixing our wind gauge in place

Whilst we were waiting for them to decide it was all correct I was watching the crane remove a small boat which is usually kept in Haslar and clearly it was still nowhere near the crane limit.

A small boat from Haslar being lifted out while we were getting ready to leave

A web search told me later about Gosport boatyard’s recently purchased crane, which can lift boats up to 100 ton. So our mast and the other Haslar boat are indeed nothing compared to its capacity. Just in case you cannot immediately know how big a 100 ton yacht is, Quartette’s displacement is 6-7 tons.

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