Unstepping Mast - 28 Mull

Unstepping Mast - 28 Mull

Postby seawolf82 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:54 am

Fellow Freedom Owners,

We are getting ready to haul and transport our 28 Mull designed Freedom to our home for the first time and I had some questions I'm hoping the experts on this forum would be able to help me with. The boat is pretty much ready to go with the next step being unstepping the mast. There is some great information on this site including Free Time's detailed instructions on unstepping the mast on his 38. One of the things I'm a little worried about is breaking the seal on the mast collar. I've attached a picture here of how it currently looks. It looks like there is some type of white sealant on all the bolts as well as along the deck and in the space between the collar and the mast. I've inserted 2 red arrows to point out the areas I'm concerned about. I'm assuming we can just use a sharp knife to break the seal but I wanted to double check with the experts here. I was also wondering if there is a specific type of sealant that I should be using when we re-step the mast in the spring and put it all back together. Thanks in advance for any insights you can offer!

Mast Collar.JPG
Mast Collar.JPG (76.96 KiB) Viewed 3814 times
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Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:27 am

Re: Unstepping Mast - 28 Mull

Postby wcwcwc » Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:23 am

The mast collar on my 36 looks the same as your picture.

A socket wrench applied to the nuts will be all you need to remove them. Sharp knife between the mast and collar will do just fine. Between collar and deck plate is tough. Assuming the collar had sealant between it and the deck plate, you will need to use a screwdriver and a hammer to start separating them. Once started use additional screwdrivers to pry up the collar. As the collar rises you may need small blocks to help the prying operation lift clear of the bolts.

On the 36 there was a trim ring under the deck. Remove this and after the collar is up use the hammer and a piece of wood a few inches long to drive the polyurethane ring up so it can be removed before lifting the mast out.

There should be either a "L" shaped bracket bolted to the base of the mast or a bolt through the mast to secure it and prevent rotation. Remove this before lifting the mast out. Also, since this is the first time for you, make sure nothing has been attached to the mast below deck that will prevent lifting. Release the wiring and make sure the plug(s) on the wires won't catch on the deck as the mast is lifted.

You will have a large diameter hole in the deck. Make some provision to prevent leaks during transit and storage. I cut a 1/2" piece of plywood slightly larger than the deck plate, placed it on top of the bolts, used a hammer above each bolt to make a dent in the plywood and drilled out the dents.

In the spring make sur that ALL of the sealant is removed from the mast and collar before stepping. I used ordinary silicone caulk, including between deck plate and collar, and there were no leaks for years.
Bill Cormack
Formerly Sailing F-36 "Hard Earned" out of New Bedford Yacht Club, Padanaram, MA
Posts: 93
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:00 pm
Location: F36 Padanaram, MA

Re: Unstepping Mast - 28 Mull

Postby bad » Sun Oct 04, 2015 11:01 am

The F40 has a similar mast collar as your photo shows. Our bolts go through the deck and just have washers and nuts holding them in place. In addition you likely have some polyurethane or fiberglass circular mast partners under the mast collar (our deck hole for the mast is about 3/4" radius larger than the mast).

Remove the bolts. After the nuts are off, turn them and then to break free the sealant, then use a drift if necessary. I would then cut the seal between the deck and the collar. I've had very good luck using the most flexible 1" wide putty knife you can find. I round the corners to avoid scratching the deck and you can put a bevel on the front to sharpen it like a chisel. Again, using a mallet, slip it between the deck and the collar and work your way around. After you feel most sealant is cut, use some of those plastic door frame wedges to lift the collar up a little.

You may consider leaving the collar attached to the mast. If you can drive the polyurethane partners up from the bottom even just a little as the mast is being pulled,m on, it should all break free. Else try something like a razor blade, Xacto, or scalpel blade.

And yes, there usually is something mechanical like a set of Bermuda bolts or an L-bracket holding the mast... find it and remove before lifting.

Best of luck,

F40 CC Raven
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:14 am

Re: Unstepping Mast - 28 Mull

Postby tanton37 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 8:41 pm

Far easier method (at least for me) than trying to hammer overhead to drive the polyurethane wedge/rings out is to use a 2x3 length of wood (trimmed on top) on top of a small bottle jack. Be sure to place a piece of plywood under the jack to disperse the pressure and protect the floor. This is the way I have done it for 10 years. .....doing again on Wednesday. Cheers, David
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:25 pm

Re: Unstepping Mast - 28 Mull

Postby tanton37 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 9:00 pm

Oh....and a further tip that was passed onto me by a Freedom 33 owner years ago. When I step the mast in the spring I seal it all up with Draft Seal ..... a peel able type sealant......works like a charm.
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:25 pm

Re: Unstepping Mast - 28 Mull

Postby seawolf82 » Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:01 am

Thank you wcwcwc, Eric and David for the great insight and advice. We pulled the boat out with no problems and were able to remove the collar, the ring and unstep the mast with no issues. David - thank you for the advice about Draft Seal; I'll be sure to use it this spring when we launch the boat.

Thanks again,
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:27 am

Re: Unstepping Mast - 28 Mull

Postby Jacques » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:17 am

goody All,

I bought an old (1983) freedom 28 cat ketch in the UK (Eastbourne), the Marianne II
and sailed her over to Zierikzee, the Netherlands, my home country, last week.
I am planning a major restoration, so reading all you stories with big interest.
But I am not so familiar with your American products. When putting back the mast,
you recommend to use Draft Seal. What is that ?
Is that something like this ? https://www.grainger.com/category/windo ... 3cZ1yzeh89

Jacques Jongeneel
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:22 pm

Re: Unstepping Mast - 28 Mull

Postby andygc » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:13 am

Marianne II - that's certainly a project boat. :)

The deck collar on the 28CK has enough height above the rings to use a mast boot to keep the water out, so no sealant is needed between mast and collar, only between collar and deck - any silicon sealant that doesn't act as an adhesive. You can buy mast boots designed for boats, or you can buy rubber connectors designed to join different sizes of drainage pipe - not being designed to be sold to boat owners, they are cheaper and come complete with stainless steel bands. I would expect the same or a similar product to be available where you live. The size I got, which should be the same for you, is 185-210mm to 160-180mm https://www.drainagesuperstore.co.uk/product/flexseal-210mm-to-160mm-rubber-flexible-drainage-adaptor-coupling-.html
(UK Freedom 30 cat ketch, build number 107)
River Exe, Devon
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2016 4:33 pm

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