Mast Crutch Support For When TraileringArticle By Shorty
Mast Crutches & Supports
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 (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 less abuse.
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.
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, but a friend of mine gave me some old stainless hand rails that came off a powerboat, and those work great on the bow as a toe rail to keep my from slipping off the bow. 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 an water gets in there, it will drain out instead of pooling in there & rusting it away.
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.