General Mast Assembly Instructions
September 25, 2002
Please read before attempting to assemble mast.
Unpack mast carefully and check to be sure that you have received all necessary parts. If there is any hidden damage, it must be reported to the trucking company and Ballenger Spar Systems immediately (see shipping damage info sticker on package).
The mast is easiest to assemble if it is lying track side down on saw horses. The first step is to install the spreader bars. They are usually marked with their position and direction forward. They are pre fitted at the shop before painting or anodizing. The bars are installed from the starboard side of the mast with the angle in the bar up and they should be a very snug fit. It may require tapping into place with a rubber mallet. Do not use a steel hammer- it will mushroom the end of the bar and make the spreader fit impossible. Sometimes a tiny amount of filing is required to remove some of the paint or anodize buildup around the hole. Do this very carefully and keep it to an absolute minimum because you want a very tight spreader bar fit. The halyards should all be behind (aft) of the spreader bars. The only exception is when a pole lift or staysail halyard is very close to a spreader bar. Be very careful not to snag or pinch one of the tag lines or halyards when installing the spreader bars.
Install the shrouds and stays on the mast. There are many different terminations for standing rigging, especially with rod rigging. The two most common with wire rigging are T tangs and external tangs. External tangs require pinning with the clevis and cotter pins supplied. Bend the cotter pins open a minimum of 30 degrees. It is best to have the cotter pins on the inside of the tang. Be sure that the cotter pins are large enough and that the clevis pins are long enough so that the cotter is not bearing hard on the tang. The wearing of the cotter on the tang can cause the cotter to fail.
Installation of Halyards
Tag lines are provided as a help in installing the halyards. Untie only one tag line at a time and reave that halyard before untying any other tag lines. The tag lines are installed all at one time at the factory so that the possibility of crossed tag lines is very small. Use clove hitches on the boat end of the halyard and use plastic tape over the knots. Fair in the end of the line with plastic tape so that it doesn't catch other tag lines or fasteners when it is pulled through the mast. Pull the halyard through the mast. If it feels like it has hung up on something, pull the halyard back several feet and try again. If the tag line doesn't budge from the beginning of the pull, chances are that tag line is being pinched by a spreader bar. It is best to pull the halyard that has the highest exit first and move down the mast from there. When all halyards are installed, knot the lower end so that they can't run through the mast.
Installation of Electronics
The mast mounted lights and wiring are tested at the factory but transportation can vibrate bulbs loose or destroy filaments so it is important to check the lighting before installation of the mast. Care should be taken to insure that the masthead instruments will not be damaged by the crane or hoist when stepping the mast. It is best to check with the yard for advice on weather to install masthead and other electronics before the mast is stepped. The wiring at the base of the mast should be arranged so that there is no danger of damage when stepping the mast.
Lifting the Mast
The mast should always be lifted on the long axis of the extrusion, never sideways.
The mast is strongest in the fore and aft dimension and may be damaged if lifted sideways. Lines on each spreader tip can be used to stabilize the mast during the initial lifting procedure. Once the mast is vertical, it can be rotated to its required orientation.
Never modify, drill holes, or cut openings in the spar without first checking with the factory. This is an engineered spar system and any unauthorized modification of the spars or rigging will void the warranty and may compromise the integrity of the system. Property damage and personal injury or death can result from improperly executed modifications. Consult with the factory before attempting any modification or addition to the spar system.
Other Helpful Tips:
1. Use rags around the mast collar to protect the mast as it is passed through the deck collar.
2. Set the center of the mast step slightly aft of directly below the center of the deck collar to allow for prebend in the mast.
3. When the mast is on the step be sure that the butt of the mast comes in contact with the mast step evenly. The mast should be sitting on the step with full contact when the headstay is made to length. If the mast doesn't contact the step evenly, there is danger of damage to the mast and or the step. Some bendy masts have a slight "rocker" cut into the front edge so that it will bend and not point load the front of the mast. This configuration will show a slight gap on the forward face of the mast and is normal.
4. Be sure to pin a tape the turnbuckles after tuning the mast. This is very important because cotter pins are quite sharp and can cause injury unless they are bent so that the sharp edges are buried in the turnbuckle body and taped over. Use plastic rigging tape.
5. Using Lanocote inside the base of the mast can help reduce corrosion at the butt. Also coating the step bolts with Lanocote will make expedite later removal.
6. Chock the mast with rubber chocking or Spartite and make sure that the mast is not point loaded in the collar. Use Spartite only on carbon masts .
7. New rigging will stretch after a few sails and will need to be retuned. Make sure that this is done as soon as excessive play is evident in the leeward shrouds when sailing .
8. We coat our anodized masts with a clear acrylic sealer before shipping. This wipe on finish can be reapplied yearly and will help protect the surface and keep it looking good. It is also helpful in restoring old anodized finishes. Spar Seal is available from the factory.
9. Any questions? Please call or email.Ballenger Spar Systems, inc.
215 Walker St.
Watsonville, CA 95076