Simplifying the Mast Support

While sailing with Howard Rice at the 2015 Scamp Skills Academy in Port Townsend, we noticed that my mainsheet was fouling on the aft mast support.  In the future, Howard urged me to remove the mast support before launching.   I was resistant to this idea because I wanted to minimize the time required to launch my Scamp.  However, after seeing the main sheet wrap around the aft mast support several times, I knew something needed to be done. DSC00416I started by epoxying the front bolts and washers to both mast supports.

DSC00419Now, these bolts will not come out of the supports.  This means when I remove the supports at the launch, I will not loose the bolts and washers on the launch ramp.  I then took a drill and slightly over sized the holes for easy insertion through the mast box and rear transom.  This allows me to insert both mast supports without any hang ups.

DSC00417Then, I purchased stainless steel wing nuts to secure the back sides of the bolts. Notice, I had to cut the Port side washer to fit around the fillet.  I still need to tend the washers and wing nuts on the back side of the supports, but this is much easier than tending bolts, washers and nuts for both sides of the support.

DSC00418This allows me to quickly remove the mast supports prior to launch.  Howard, are you proud of me?


It requires a lot of finesse to get a boat right.  This is why I decided to build my own sailboat…I can get it the way I want it.  I love my Scamp.  

Mast Crutch Supports

Here are the mast supports I designed for Shackleton.  

Warning:  this may be way too many photos for your liking.  DSC00418 DSC00421 DSC00425 DSC00426 DSC00428 DSC00431 DSC00433 DSC00435 DSC00436 DSC00416 DSC00417 DSC00419 DSC00420 I used 2″ nylon webbing to wrap the supports.  I secured the supports with 1/4″ ss bolts and fender washers.

Still on track to launch this Saturday ˜

Mast Support Crutch & Tiller Arm

When you live in Idaho, traveling with a sailboat is a necessity.   I like my gear neat and secure.  I hate disorganization…I knew I needed a system for all this to come off right.  I also wanted it simple, fast and convenient.  Here’s what I came up with.

DSC00439Meet my mast support crutch.  I’m using 3/4″ baltic birch.  It’s strong, has no voids and works up beautifully.

DSC00440I cut out the center area to reduce weight and provide a convenient attachment point to tie down to spars.DSC00442I notched out the back of the transom cap to allow the crutch to mount tightly against the transom.  The blue tape helped protect the painted surface. DSC00444Mocked up here to check for rudder head interference.  None.  Also, I needed to check and make sure I could still remove the rudder.  No problem.  Notice the length of the lower support arms (8″ – 9″) which stabilize the crutch in the fore and aft direction.  This thing feels very secure.  DSC00443Notice the shape of the upper support arms.  They looked OK to me…but this is all about to change.  DSC00445(First Generation Ham n Egger Enters Stage Left)  Pops was not fully satisfied with the shape of the upper crutch arms.  Before I could say a word, he was reshaping the arms on my band saw.  I quickly snapped this photo as proof of him tampering with my build.  I was forced to give a pass to this unauthorized procedure.  DSC00446No doubt the upper shapes of the crutches benefited from his eye.  DSC00447The front support will be bolted to the forward face of the mast box.  It was curved slightly to match the shape of the cabin top.  I kept it low so it wouldn’t interfere with the boom (which will extend forward of the support when sailing).


I designed the mast crutch with one spar support cutout as opposed to two.  This will reduce the time and effort required to secure the spars.  I plan to wrap something around all the spars and simply tie them down to the supports.  This design provides about 3″ of clearance between the bottom of the horizontally secured spars and the top of the veranda.  I needed clearance to accommodate the bundle of sail, spars, lines and sail cover.  

Now for the tiller arm.  

DSC00448I had this piece of red oak laying around (left over from my skegs).  It looked like it might just work as a tiller handle.  After drawing a design that fit the stick, I decided to proceed with the cutout.  DSC00449Rough cutout waiting patiently for the refinements of life to follow.  DSC004502 minutes with the venerable Shinto rasp cleaned up the ends.

Now for the refinement of the tiller arm.

DSC00408 DSC00412 I made this cutout on the underside of the arm where the arm passes through the rudder head assembly.  It provides clearance for my rudder up/down haul lines.  DSC00409

DSC00454Now I’m ready to clean up and do something else for the rest of my Saturday.