Rig for ketch rigged sailboat

It was time for us to start an overhaul on the rig for our ketch rigged sailboat.  As it is ketch-rigged we have two masts; one bigger main mast and a smaller one, called a mizzen mast. The mizzen mast is positioned in the cockpit and is much smaller than the main mast. The main mast is keel-stepped, which it means it goes through the deck.

rig for ketch rigged sailboat
An old drawing of the rig, it is not exactly correct but almost.
Main Mast

We started with the main mast, which is made out of aluminum and has one pair of spreaders. First up was to loosen all straps that held the stays and shrouds together. We went over the shrouds and stays, took a close look at all the wires and they all looked good. We organized them to figure out what they all are. 

The main mast are held in position with:

  • 2  upper shrouds (starboard and port)
  • 4 lower shrouds (bow; starboard and port, stern; starboard and port)
  • 1 headstay, with a furling system
  • 1 cutter stay
  • 2 backstays (starboard and port)
  • 1 top stays that goes from the top of the main mast to the top of the mizzen mast. 

We did the same procedure for the halyards, and those we could remove we did so that we could bring them home and clean them and take a closer look at them. 

On the main mast we have the following halyards:

  • Main halyard
  • Head halyard
  • Cutter stay halyard
  • Spinnaker/gennaker halyard

Then we cleaned the mast to get rid of all old dirt it had collected over the years.

Cleaning the mast.

Another thing we went over is the electronics on the mast, on the main mast we have:

  • 1 combined navigation light in the top of the mast (combined light for sailing (red-green-white) and anchoring (white))
  • VHF-antenna on the top of the mast
  • Windex with light
  • 1 navigation light, masthead light (white) half-way up the mast for driving under power
  • 2 deck lights, one on each spreader

We had bought a new top navigation light (the old one was broken) and a new windex. Right now we have incandescent bulbs in all our light on the masts, which we will change to LED bulbs in order to get lower electricity consumption. The reason we bought a new top navigation light with incandescent bulbs instead of LED was the price. A top navigation light with LED bulbs cost more than three times as much as the one with incandescent bulbs. So instead we will just buy new LED-bulbs and replace the old ones.

Other things we have on the main mast:

  • Lazy jack
  • Topping lift
  • Mast ladder
  • Flag line (for courtesy flags and Q-flag)
The top of the main mast. Here we have; VHF-antenna, electric box (this box will most likely be removed later on when we have decided what electric parts we want to have in the top of the main mast), the combined top navigation light, windex lamp (we will mount the windex just before rigging the masts). Other things that can be seen in this picture are the top of the furling system, the topping lift (blue), the spinnaker halyard (red-white) and the shrouds and stays connected in the top.
The main mast seen from the top. Here the topping lift (blue) and the main halyard (wire) can be seen. The topping lift goes outside the mast and the main halyard is an internal halyard.
The spreaders on the main mast. A deck light is located on each spreader. Just below the spreaders the masthead light is located.
The attachment on the spreader on the main mast towards the shrouds.
The attachment on the spreaders towards the mast. The reason for having this is to compensate for the play in the spreader holders.
On one of the back stays we have two isolators which makes it possible to use the back stray as an antenna for long range communication. We do not have equipment for that today but we have thought about investing in it.
The bottom on the main mast. Here we have a lot of things; topping lift (blue), spinnaker halyard (red-white), winches for main halyard and head  halyard, bottom of furling system, a mast boot to prevent leakages under deck and  holder for jib stick.
Mizzen mast

We also took a look at our mizzen mast. It has been placed in the marina and first up was to get it down. This mast is much smaller and lighter than our main mast so it was pretty easy getting it into position. The mizzen mast is also made out of aluminum and has swept spreaders.

Takin down our mizzenmast.

On the mizzen mast we also begun with the shrouds and  stays. Fortunately they looked good as well except for a small damage on the jumper stay. But as it is located on the top of the mast and therefore isn’t exposed for very much force it will hopefully be good enough.  On the mizzen mast we have the following shrouds and stays:

  • 2 Upper shrouds (starboard and port)
  • 4 Lower shrouds (bow; starboard and port, stern (starboard and port)
  • 1 jumper stay
  • 1 top stay (between main mast and mizzen mast)

The top stay between the main mast and mizzen mast isn’t used to keep the masts in position as they both stand by themselves.

We removed the halyards we could so that we can clean them. On the mizzen mast we have the following halyards:

  • Halyard for mizzen sail
  • Halyard for mizzen stay sail

We also have some electronics on the mizzen mast and they are the following:

  • Radar
  • Horn (right now compressor-driven, we will probably change to an electrical instead)
  • Deck light

Some of the cables on the mizzenmast had dried out and needs to be replaced. Other things we have on the mizzen mast is:

  • Mast ladder
  • Topping lift
  • Flag line
The top of the mizzen mast. The flag line will go from the metal in the top to the bottom of the mast. Other things seen on the picture is the topping lift (blue) and the mizzen sail halyard.
The radar located on the mizzen mast, haven’t tested it yet but hopefully it works fine.
The bottom of the mizzen mast.
The spreaders on the mizzen mast. As can be seen on the picture they are swept.

Of course we also have a wish list of instruments we want to have in the masts, some of them more important than others:

  • Antenna for AIS-transponder
  • Antenna for GNSS
  • Wind instrument
  • Electrical horn

Next up will be a post about cleaning our halyards and then the mast stepping. The first sail is not so far away now…

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