Mack Sails Completes Mast Replacement

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Team MACK SAILS has completed our hurricane Maria repairs with the installation of our new Charleston Spar #S622 and all new wire rigging with swagged tops and Sta-Lok stainless steel fittings on the bottoms. This team is so professional, and it is very obvious they all have done this hundreds of times before.  With Colin Mack leading his team of 5, and the expert crane operator on site for 3 hours, the mast installation and rigging was flawless.

The crane lifted our new mast (56 feet) from the trailer in the parking to our boat in the water.

Last week the deck opening was cut larger and a new mast collar was bolted down to the deck to allow this new section to fit into our boat. They no longer make the NG-60 Isomat Spar, so this is the recommended replacement. Jeff, the master craftsman, cut the deck and seated the new keel step. Now it was time to step the mast.

Jeff cutting the deck to make room for the larger mast
Island Packet builds a great yacht, this was solid and no gap presented as the hole was cut larger!

Overall, the cutting of the deck and the mounting of a new keel shoe was not that big of a deal. We were worried about this part of the job, but Mack Sails has 31 people on their team with everyone is skilled in different areas, so the work was easily handled. Great job, Jeff!

In with the mast, let’s go! The crane picked up the mast 55+ feet overall, 500 lbs, and lifted it from the new spreaders which have a solid bar thru the mast. The crane rotated around as Colin and his team positioned the mast over the deck. Jose and I went below deck to help guide the mast down into the keel. The 7 wires coming out of the bottom of the mast needed to be fished through a side hole, then fished into the keel and forward thru a chase to the junction boxes. The final process was directing the crane fore, aft, left and right to position the bottom of the mast onto and over the shoe. The mast shoe has a groove and a raised metal ring that matches the profile of the mast. This locks the bottom of the mast into the keel and secures it. At this point, the mast was through the deck collar and onto the keel shoe, so it will stand on its own now.

The view from the boat as the crane lifts the mast
The mast shoe with very special Bahamian coins and a silver dollar earring which belonged to a dear friend for good luck. These were under the mast before, plus we added a new coin from the Dominican Republic from our travels last year!
The mast being lowered into the deck. The wires will be led out the side hole once it is inside near the keel. Very, very dangerous!
The Mack Sails Team and crane operator work so well together. It is obvious these crafstmen know what they are doing.
The view from below deck as the wires lead the way down.
Jose guided the mast down and I helped fish the wires out the side hole and into the keel. You hope and pray the mast does not fall while reaching under the rig!

With the mast NOW in place, it was time to cut the standing rigging wires and tighten down the rig. The wire tops had stem balls swaged onto the wire using hydraulic presses back at the Mack Sails Shop, and the bottom fittings were cut on-site using Sta-Lok fittings. What a great way to rig the wire. These Sta-Lok fittings are easy to repair at sea or in a remote site. They are expensive but they are strong, if not stronger, than swaged fittings. Sta-Lok info here.

The stem ball mast fitting insert
The stem ball inserts into these mast fittings and the fitting is inserted into the mast cutout and secured in place. The rig loads are distributed over this fitting, pulling against the mast.
Sta-Lok wire fittings can be installed on site as the wire is cut to length.
New Sta-Lok turn-buckles ($140 each!) installed on my new (2013) chainplates.

The mast installation wrapped up with the mounting of our B&G 4G radar antenna just below the spreaders. This needed to be drilled and tapped into the mast and wired. They waited to do this to make sure the mount did not hit the rigging wire as it exited the mast. We like the radar up the mast, even though it is more complicated to wire.  One IP owner said, mount the radar as high as the highest waves you want to see over. So, it is up the mast for us. We want to see over 10-15-20 foot waves!

Radar mounted under the spreaders
Radar at the spreaders

At the end of this afternoon, the Mack Sails team had the mast installed, radar mounted, all wiring rigged and cut, new Tides Inn Strong Track installed, new boom gooseneck and new boom vang fittings mounted to the mast. This was an amazing process. Working with a team of people who hustle and simply know how to get it all done was a joy. Again, we cannot imagine trying to do this job in Puerto Rico. Our decision to ship back and to hire this company was the right decision. We have ZERO concerns with their work. Thank you, COLIN MACK and your entire team. WE HAVE A NEW MAST.

Colin Mack and Hayden Cochran on Island Spirit, with new mast installed

Thank you also to Ed who shot video and photography material for use on the Mack Sails website and their YouTube channel. This added even more excitement to the entire job. Great job, Ed!

Hayden and Ed, a selfie as the mast is installed.

The next day, we installed sails and Richard returned to complete the spinnaker car track mounting and winches and cleats on the mast. At the end of that day, we backed out of the service slip at Apex Marine and hosted a Jib and staysail and we sailed down the river. It was wonderful to be sailing again! IT HAS BEEN A LONG PROCESS….but now we can begin the shakedown, stretch in this new wire and begin our 2018 season.

Roll out a JIB
Test out a Jib and a Staysail. Next the mainsail…

Team ISLAND SPIRIT is BACK…..Hurricane Maria knocked us down and Mack Sails rebuilt us back to better than ever.

Now, time to buy Radeen a nice new present, I think a new CODE ZERO would be very nice for her……..go MACK!


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9 Replies to “Mack Sails Completes Mast Replacement”

  1. Congratulations. I know you are both excited to get this mast replacement behind you. Thanks for allowing us to share this journey with you.

  2. From Kathy McCoy: Congratulations to team ISLAND SPIRIT! Hayden and Radeen, though retired from your profession, you continue to exemplify and embody the best qualities of passionate, talented, and idealistic educators. Gary and I have followed the highs and lows of this most recent journey with admiration and concern (and — we admit — relief that we sold our Sabre 42 GATSBY — LOL). Smooth sailing to team ISLAND SPIRIT. Thanks for generously sharing your indomitable enthusiasm!

  3. What a repair “marathon” that was! You really inspire us! What a brilliant narration of the project, Hayden! GO Hayden and Radeen! The rehab for my stroke continues to help me revoner, but, oooh, so slowly.

  4. Now the fun part continues!
    Congratulations on creating a plan from the mess created by the hurricane, and through so many setbacks, following through with beautiful results! What stories you wrote!
    IslandSpirit is new again!
    You’ve brought her back and she’s ready for a big new adventure with Hayden and Radeen.
    Have fun – Love
    From Dick Carol Bosley
    s/v Gusto!!!

  5. Congratulations on a project well managed!
    Rumor has it from undisclosed sources that your directed Radeen to “get rid of some of those sails and make room for more whiskey & beer!”
    Capt Dan
    IP 27 Meridian
    Barnegat Bay, NJ

  6. Glad to hear the project has been completed and you’re back on the water! What a feeling it must be to be sailing her again! Can only imagine what you’ve gone through these many months but you’re on the other side now and we hope there is only smooth sailing from here on. Loved your posts. Loretta and Jim, I.P. 380 Plan Sea

  7. I was so excited to see this post. What an amazing journey you and Raydeen have just completed. Great job!!! Thank you for sharing the whole process so that others can learn too. Can’t tell you are both teachers!! Funny that it’s only March and you’re not even really late starting the season. Cold front season is almost behind us. Enjoy sailing!

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