Assembling the Catapult Catamaran: rigging the mast

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  This section on Catapult assembly continues the theme that the one-design boat makes the basic process clear, while there is scope for each helm to find their own best routine.

   (Below:  Rigging in the sunshine on Calshot Spit, looking up Southampton Water)



  Most helms do this in two stages, as the lower mast section can be lifted and manoeuvred easily, as Chris demonstrates below at Bassenthwaite.



 Paul's approach (right, at Bala) is lifting the lower mast in from the back, with the shrouds slack, so that it sits hanging forward while the forestay is attached.

  (Many boats use the system of finally tautening the shrouds by taking the tail from the blocks to a clam cleat, illustrated in the page on shroud control, either on one side only, or both sides.)

Below: Once the lower mast is in place, the boat is tipped and the upper mast section slotted into place. Paul is taking the traditional approach of doing this after the hulls are in place. Although it can be done readily rigging solo, it is a stage where assistance speeds up the process (below right, with Alex advising the team.)

(Below: at Bass again, Stuart (and Gareth, watching) use a further technique, tilting the lower mast before tipping the boat and attaching the topmast. This makes tipping easier, and the tipped boat balances with little weight on the mast as the topmast is fitted.)

Above: Chris and others tip the boat with the lower mast on the frame only, to attach the topmast---which seems less effort.

With the mast up, the foot of the mast is tied down by a line running up from the beam through a fairlead on the mast, preventing the mast from lifting out in the event of a capsize recovery (when the mast needs to be canted fully over during capsize recovery) but still allowing rotation.

Below: Alastair swears by raising the mast as one piece, to avoid the stage of tipping the boat (or frame) to insert the topmast.

 As illustrated below, one shroud and the forestay are attached (with the rigging slackened off) and the foot of the mast is tied down using the tie already fitted.

 The mast is then lifted, to hang beyond the vertical towards the other shroud (lying ready on the ground. photo)

   Although a bigger unit to handle, once up it sits stably, and a final check can be made that the clips attaching the forestay bridle and the shroud are not twisted, before clipping on the other shroud. Apart from cutting out the stage of tipping the boat, an advantage is that the halyard and release line can be set up taut on the ground, without having to gaze into the sky to check.

 (One downside is that the tie may pick up grease from the ball, although this can be avoided.)

(All these pictures show the way the wishboom is placed in position around the mast step (up the right
way!) before the mast is raised, although (again) there is variation---some prefer to open the wishboom joint and put it in position after the mast is up.)

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