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14 May 2018

How Long Does It Take To Remove A Mast From A Sailboat?

Exactly how long does it take to remove a mast from a sailboat? The answer is 27 minutes.

Of course, we're talking about deliberately removing your mast. Not having Mother Nature remove your mast for you, which happens in a horrifying instant, but probably feels like an eternity as you watch it topple over.

People remove their masts due to height restrictions on the water (like bridges or powerlines) or because they're going to transport their sailboat across the country. Some people even remove their masts each season when they store their boats.

Our friends on s/v Wild Blue had their mast removed because they're going to take their boat back up north on a truck. They're pros at this. They reckon this is the fifth time they've done this on this particular boat.

I came along for the show. And believe me, it's a show, especially when you have a large crane involved.


You really hope that the crane isn't going to hit anything else in the yard, like someone else's boat. It was impressive to watch the hand signals to the crane operator.


I watched it go higher and higher in the air.


Then the guys tied the mast onto the crane and the operator hoisted it off of the boat.


They lowered it carefully down to the ground.


Someone grabbed a line at the other end to pull it away from the boat.


Then they moved it over to the stands.


Down it goes.


At last, safely on the ground.


Do you like watching heavy equipment at work? Ever seen a mast removed?

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24 comments:

  1. Wow, 27 minutes. I don't think I could chug 3 margaritas in 27 minutes. That's impressive!

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    1. I don't know, Lucy, I bet if you put your mind to it you could chug 3 in 27 minutes :-)

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  2. That is precarious work! Have a lovely Monday. :)

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  3. I guess if you can't sail to your northern destination, going by truck is the only option. I didn't even know the masts came out.

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  4. I didn't know how long it takes until this post. They are fast indeed. We've some yacht club members that are trucking their Nordic Tugs to Washington state for the summer. Interesting process getting that done too.

    Have a fabulous day and week, Ellen. ♥

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    1. Until I saw it, I would have thought it would have taken a lot longer too.

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  5. This was pretty impressive. That crane operator knew his business. I do love to see those big machines in action. We had a dead tree removed from the back of our property. They brought a crane in and lifted that thing over the top of our house--the only way to do it quickly. And it was quick, all right! Quick and kind of scary.

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    1. It was impressive to see him work. I also enjoy watching big machines. For some reason, I find it so fascinating.

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  6. I would've come to watch the spectacle, too. What an undertaking.

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  7. only 27 minutes? I would have thought it would take longer than that

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    1. Me too - I would have thought it would have been a lot longer.

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  8. It is fun to watch big equipment at work, and no, i’ve never had the pleasure of watching a mast be removed from a boat. It’s certainly fascinating!

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  9. Oh yeah, I'm totally a sucker for watching big machinery at work, and it's amazing how precise those operators can be. If you look on Youtube, you can find some unbelievable videos of synchronized "dances" performed with big machinery.

    No doubt about it. I would've been watching the mast removal right beside you.

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    1. Oh, wow - synchronized machine dances! I'm going to look that up.

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  10. Whoa! That's wild. I sort wanted to operate large equipment as a little girl but Dad warned that a lot of big machines are hard on the human body, which I bet is no longer true as it was. Cool crane! Reading Susan's comment, I'm reminded of the amazing ballet of the SpaceX dual booster retrieval a few months back. Amazing sight. Be well!

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    1. That's a good point about the effect on the human body. I wonder what the common injuries, wear and tear etc. are for the operators.

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  11. It would be scary watching it happen to your own boat. We have to remove ours in order to put in a new stove and fridge in the galley, that's a project for sometime in the future....

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    1. Looking forward to seeing the pics on your blog when you do it.

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  12. That looks like quite the production—and I'm amazed it takes less than half an hour! You'd think that living on an island I'd be familiar with the operation, but would you believe I've never seen this done? One thing I do love watching, though, is the big oil tankers and cruise ships being tugged into the harbor in Willemstad. A couple of weeks ago we had a major production when two dry docks were delivered... It was amazing to watch.
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

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    1. I LOVE watching big ships move around in port. I also like watching the cranes unload containers from ships as well.

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