You will need to plan your work area to allow for the width of spreaders and an adequate area at each end. Lay out a range of standard tools so that they are easily to hand. You will require vinyl tape and a sharp knife but no specialist tools are needed other than those you would normally have in your tool box. Be careful not to cut through any messenger lines when unwrapping and use the packing material for padding. Check the spars carefully for transport damage and make sure that there are no loose fittings in the packing materials.Check that all the messengers are in place and secured separately and fit the mast collar into place immediately.
Electrical wiring should be installed using the messenger (if not already fitted) and fit your mounting brackets for electrical equipment to the masthead (but not the equipment). Lighting can be checked with a 12 volt battery if required.
FITTING RIGGING & SPREADERS
Identify all the standing rigging, main, intermediate, forestay, backstay, etc. and fit them to the mast. They will be one of 4 types. Swaged Eye Into External Tang. Fit pin and secure with split pin, ensure that the pin is taped over to stop rigging and sails catching on the split pin. Shell Terminal. The shell terminal will be fitted to the shroud. To fit simply manouvre the shell through the hole in the mast wall. If you wish you can tape the shroud in position around the mast to ensure that there is no movement of the shell during the stepping procedure. Once the mast is in place the shells are securely held in place by the rigging tension.
On CHARLESTON-SPAR OCEAN masts with cast spreader brackets, drop the shrouds through the relevant holes in the spreaders - they will be held captive by the rigging tension. Ensure there is a stainless steel cup fitted between the stemball and the spreader bracket. With double spreader rigs fit the cap shroud in the forward hole of the spreader and the intermediate in the aft hole. Through Bar Spreader Fittings On Charleston-Spar Performance Spars. Push the stemball through the larger hole in the spreader bar then locate it on the seat provided. Follow the instruction provided. T Terminal. Offer up to the T Terminal seat at a 90°C angle to allow the T to enter its seat, then swing through 90°C to secure it. Fit rubber stopper or stainless retaining plate to avoid accidental release of T Terminal (especially important with running backstays). Continued overleaf :
Next fit the spreaders using the pins provided and tape over the whole assembly to stop ropes or sails snagging the spreader pins. Secure the rigging to the spreaders with the cap shrouds at the front and intermediate shrouds at the back of the spreader tip fitting. Make sure that when the mast is stepped the spreaders have a slight angle upwards to ensure the proper transfer of load from the shroud through the spreader to the mast. Again make certain that the cup washers are in the stemball rigging seats where fitted, and that the mast collar is fitted if the mast is keel stepped. Check that the turnbuckles can be fully adjusted and that the threads are not damaged. These should be lubricated with WD 40 or similar. All the running rigging should be fitted using the messenger lines, which should be tied and taped to the new halyards. Finish installation with "figure of eight" knots on the halyard ends. Prepare for stepping by tying all rigging loosely to the lower part of the mast, except the forestay (furling jib) which should be loose, ready to attach when the mast is hoisted.
WIND INDICATOR & INSTRUMENTS
It is convenient to install the wind indicator and instrument sensors whilst the mast is on the Quay. If your appointed crane driver is experienced it is unlikely to be damaged, but the safest way is to fit the masthead instrumentation after the mast is stepped.
MEASURING THE YACHT
Before stepping it is wise to check that the mast step is centrally fitted along the centreline of the boat as any inaccuracy can create mast tuning problems. Check the chainplate deck fittings to be sure that the turnbuckles are compatible in pin size, width and clearance. If you are stepping a mast to the keel then measure the distance from step to deck and check this against the "bury", the distance between the mast base and deck point. This should ensure that there are no embarrassing moments when the mast is offered into place.
STEPPING THE MAST
Before stepping, make sure that there is a clear run for electrical wires. When hoisting by crane, it is best to rely on experienced staff who regularly step masts as they are aware of the loads and wind effect involved. The mast should be lifted with a soft strop at, or just above the centre of gravity. The strop must be secured so that it cannot slip upwards. The heel can then be swung into position. Secure the forstay and cap shrouds, steadying if necessary with the halyards. Once the mast is secure, the strop can be removed and you can start on the important task of rig tensioning.