Mast Stepping

No, “mast stepping” is not a dance you do on the deck of a sailboat. It’s the job of hoisting and placing the mast, which on Wayfinder is “deck stepped.” That means the mast rests on a plate right on the fiberglass decking.

This is a tricky job at St. Francis Marine, as it requires pulling the boat within a few millimeters of the factory. We had very high winds, and so the process was tense, but everything was handled perfectly, and now she’s ready to go sailing.

First, the boat comes out of the shed. Jaco and me with Wayfinder.
Next, the mast is counterweighted and hoisted.
High winds made this tense, but the boys did an amazing job.
Now the boat is pulled into place.
The crane was designed for a 44′ boat, and so the 50 has to get right up to the factory.
Now the mast is inched into place.
Duncan watches his latest creation come to life.
Anton, who played a pivotal role in bringing this boat together.
Running backstays keep the mast from tipping forward or side to side.
Now she’s stepped. Note the rigger at the lower spreader.
The sails are bent on next.
And the boat is ready to go in the water.

16 responses to “Mast Stepping”

  1. That is a thing of beauty! Can’t wait for more interior pictures.


  2. Congrats!! Absolutly cool!!!

  3. Thanks for sharing – this is as close as I’m probably going to get to this particular profession – and it is cool to think of you getting ready to live on this beautiful sailboat.

  4. Beautiful boat. I think you’re going to accomplish your second goal this time, seeing as how you have a first mate who is supportive and by your side. Congrats on how things are turning out for you Hugh!

    1. I’m not with anyone at the moment. I do have a crew to help me cross the Atlantic. And I’m sure I’m bound to fall in love with someone along the way.

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong … but what happened to Amber? Forgive the old romantic here, but I thought that I was following a love story as much as I was following a dream. No judgement either way, but you have shared your life in so many ways, it leaves me wondering. Like one of my favorite characters has been killed off without me knowing. Is it too rude to ask?

  5. She’s stunning. Truly stunning. I’m curious. At 50 ft, would you be able to singlehand her?

    1. I will, but I hope to have friends and family aboard most of the time.

  6. Have followed for a month or so. Was fun going back and reading from day 1. Suspect your getting itchy to go sailing on her.

    Thanks for the info on the tweaks you made. Always good to see how someone else addresses common issues.

    Have a launch date? Or maybe already done by the time I read this post.

    Enjoy. We are headed though the canal going east this fall. If you ever see a Lagoon 470 named Moontide swing by.


    1. The launch date is today!

  7. Hugh, you should sell this little story on Amazon, with pics see how much you sell loll

  8. Today’s the day Captain! The seas are ready for you (well, as ready as they can be…)

  9. It doesn’t happen often, but I’m really jealous !!
    Great boat and I hope we cross paths someday.

  10. Hugh,

    That is such a cool process–I always wondered how they did that. Hat’s off!

  11. Edward Athur O'Toole Avatar
    Edward Athur O’Toole

    First that is my pen name yet to be used. I have been knocking around the conventional and cat and I wondered if you would share your decision making process. I cant find a reason to knock either one, they both seem to have the pros and cons. The space usage on the cat surely draws me, Handling and simplicity of the conventional S/V makes me think they are more seaworthy. Certainly I need more hands on research!

  12. Edward Arthur O'toole Avatar
    Edward Arthur O’toole

    Whoops my email address had disappeared. I made a new one ! AH this was the one I wanted to use for my authoring address. Guess I had better start using it !

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