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In regard to the raising and lowering of the mast.

At the top of the 'leverage pole' are two 'wings' with a hole in each.These are for a light rope which you attach two pieces on each side and these 4 pieces of rope are then attached to the boat fore ( forward cleats ) and aft ( the base of the centre stanchion ) on each side.

The front two ropes must be tightened slightly more giving the 'leverage pole' some forward pre bend.
With the ropes in place the 'leverage pole' cannot bend forwards or back nor from side to side and lowering and raising the mast really becomes a one man operation. ( I have often done it alone. )

So there is no need for a pulley block in fact a pulley block on the 'leverage pole' without the rope supports may 'run' on the halyard once the full weight of the mast is applied and probably snap the 'leverage pole'.  ( Remember the chaps at John Robertson Yachts thought of everything !!! )

Frank Stuyck






3rd October 2009

Looks like we all have been very active this past Sept. long weekend. Sandpiper sailing down to Gordon’s Bay, Regatta at MYC, Spring regatta in False Bay and myself discovering new territory down south towards Frankfort on the Vaal dam / Wilgers River beyond the infamous low bridge of Oranjeville. 

Until recently after owning a Holiday23 for 5 years, I eventually found out the purpose of the 2 rings welded to the mast-step on the port side. It’s for a “leverage pole” to assist one when lowering the mast. Unbeknown to me at the time of purchasing my Holiday, mine did not come with such a pole. I believe that there are many of us that have asked the same question and would like to know and see how it all works. Many thanks to Damian Boyce (Dreamer H181) who has the original “Leverage Pole” on his Holiday and kindly loaned it to me for my planed excursion. 

In the past, we at the Vaal have done many long distance trips to Villiers up the Vaal River over the Easter long weekend of which the obstacles encountered are power lines. Most of which can be cleared by all yachts. On the other hand, the Oranjeville bridge going up the Wilgers River in a southerly direction towards Frankfort cannot be passed because of it’s height over the river (2 meters approx). But we have a Holiday23, we can do this!! It opens up another 120 sq Km of sailing waters if you have the right equipment. 

I have attached a sequence of photos taking down the mast (single handed) using the “Leverage Pole” – believe me, it is an easy task once you have worked out the sequence of events with the necessary preparation.

I initially practiced the taking down & raising of the mast in our marina a week before to iron out all the problem areas. The following sequence was established:- 

  1. Mainsail was removed out of the mast track and boom removed off the mast with sail still attached to boom and placed on deck side.
  2. Spinnaker halyard adjusted & secured in fixed position on the mast with the head of the halyard close to the bow pulley.  
  3. Attach an extension line to the head of the Spinnaker Halyard and feed through the bow pulley to the mast winch to take up forestay tension and secure the line with at least 3 wraps around the winch.
  4. Remove Genoa sheets and furling line from pulley blocks and wrap around Genoa. (if applicable)
  5. Place the assembled “Leverage Pole” in it’s supports at the mast-step
  6. Remove the forestay pin while full tension is on the spinnaker halyard.
  7. Now remove the bottom mast pin (if applicable), allowing the mast to pivot on the top pin. Some Holidays only have one top pin.
  8. Start lowering the mast by easing the tension on the winch.
  9. Ensure that the spinnaker halyard seats into the “Leverage Pole” head when the mast is at approx 45 degrees, continue lowering until the mast is completely down.
  10. Also ensure that the mast remains within the center line of the boat while lowering & raising.


Due to the fact that this “Leverage Pole” did not have a pulley at the top – the friction build-up on the pole with the halyard & weight of the mast caused the pole to start bending. It had to be pushed back into the vertical position from time to time during the lowering & raising process. I had a hard time raising the mast single-handed and needed assistance due to the friction problem.

For those who have or want to manufacture and use this type of pole, I will highly recommend a pulley be placed at the top.           

In the sequence of photos, I have also included close-ups of the pole sections with measurements to give everyone an idea of the construction if you are interested in making one. It makes life that much easier. 

For the rest, this exercise with the bridge and going down south was a wonderful experience to explore new grounds and maybe next year over the Easter weekend we should get all the Vaal Dam H23’s together and others to go to Frankfort instead of Villiers (only 18Nm longer). Total time taken for mast “Down & “Up” was 1.5 hours including all de-rigging & re-rigging to continue sailing.

Last note:- If it wasn’t the latest Garmap “SA Waterways” GPS maps the navigation through the large areas of water with their sallow banks would not have been possible. Believe me, these maps are very accurate!!!


Marcel Prydekker

H23 About Time 124


    The Oranjeville                  Getting started                     Coming down                   Almost done

        Bridge                             genoa off





     Mast down                      Mind your head                 All going well                        Success!!





New waters discovered    Navigating shallows         Leverage pole mast         Leverage pole supports

                                                                                                    down                               at mast step                           




Assembled leverage       Disassembled               Leverage pole             Top of leverage 

     pole                          leverage pole                   thickness                     pole




24th August 2009

H23 Furler Tip 

Rule # 1:

The critical element in preventing halyard wrap around a forestay when furling your sail is to ensure that you at all times have a strong halyard tension on the foresail.


A too slack halyard tension will allow the halyard to wrap around the forestay while you are furling the sail and that leads to forestay failure. Simple as that.  

On a H23 specifically the halyard runs just about parallel with and very close to the forestay from the furler swivel to the halyard turning block in the mast. It is thus easy for the halyard to wrap around the forestay. 

To help prevent this owners should fit an extra turning block a little below the in mast turn block to increase the angle between the forestay and the halyard.  

This helps significantly in decreasing the risk of halyard wrap. 

See pictures A and B attached which clearly shows that by fitting the extra turn block as per the picture B the angle at X is significantly increased.  (Furler System)

This turn block can be bought off the shelf at any boat chandler and fitted by way of pop rivets. 

BUT don’t forget the halyard tension – always keep it tight !!

So there you go, no more broken forestays !! 

Happy Sailing

Frank Stuyck

Click on "Furler system" for detail

Furler System



21st August 2009


Just done the forestay on Fast Fish - cost only R750 - So, money well spend vs a new mast. 





21st August 2009

Hi Coenie,

Exact same thing happened to me at Langebaan six weeks ago. Luckily no injuries.

Sailing pleasantly along in 12 knots and all of a sudden a loud crack and the whole rig came tumbling down.

Forestay broke causing the mast to snap about two thirds down and main & roller furling ended up overboard.

Managed to get everything back on board with a little bit of swearing & lots of prayers. (Word of advice, always carry a pair of bolt cutters in your toolbox). 

Fortunately I didn't have to replace the mast but it had to be shortened by about 50mm. Even though the mast is shorter this won't affect the sail size.

All is now fixed though and looks as good as new thanks to a job well done by Associated Rigging.


Tony Muller (TAZZ - 138)




21st August 2009


Had the same experience several years ago, but in my case the sail luff connected to the roller at one end and the halyards at the other was able to hold the mast up. In my case the bottle screw, hidden inside the furling roller broke. Seawater corrosion of the screw (Stainless steel) in the bottle section caused the screw to break, so for sea going boats its worth unscrewing the bottle screw from time to time and checking for any signs of corrosion.
Nice to be part of a group of boat owners who share their experiences.
Keep up the good work on the website Coenie,



4th May 2009


Mark Smeddles writes:

Hi Coenie 

Seeing as there has been recent discussion over broken masts etc. I thought it might be of interest for the other members to know about my problem with the Forestay this weekend (2 May 2009), because it is a problem which could be experienced by a number of other H23 owners especially with Roller Furlers which tend to hide the rigging. 

I had been called and told on Friday Afternoon that there was something loose on the front of the boat and that it seemed as if only the roller furling gear was holding up the mast.  I asked someone there to attach my main Halyard to the anchor roller fitting to support the mast until I got there.   I got to the boat on Saturday morning to find that the forestay turnbuckle had snapped through and in fact the only thing holding up the mast was the Genoa halyard which was, of course, attached to the roller furling gear and the Genoa. 

It seems likely that this turnbuckle had snapped through as we were just about to enter harbour 2 weeks ago after sailing in a 20-25 Knot blow under shortened Genoa.   I was sailing with inexperienced crew, hence the shortened sail, and the genoa was left to flog mercilessly until I took action myself.  I think that snapping motion was too much for the weakened corroded fitting.  Luckily we were under motor and busy furling the sail! 

Anyhow, I was advised by the rigger that all the older type “Bottle Screw/Barrel type” turnbuckles are very prone to break like this.  He actually said they will ALL break and it is just a matter of time.  The newer “gibb” type turnbuckles are likely to be much safer and last much longer – owing to the open structure allowing them to dry out instead of accumulating moisture in the barrel.   It makes sense to me and I recommend the H23 owners who have the older type turnbuckle to replace them immediately.   R200 spent now could save them the R33 000 it would cost should they lose their mast.  It is quite easy to replace and can be done while the R/Furling is in situ, and does not require the mast to be dropped.   The easiest way to change the turnbuckle is as follows: 

It is recommended that 2 people do this job. 

1.                   Release the topping lift and let the boom rest on the deck.

2.                   Slacken off the backstay.

3.                   Attach the main halyard to something strong at the bows and winch it up tight to pull the mast forward.   This will shorten the distance for the forestay to cover and give some slack.

4.                   Make sure the jib halyard is hauled up tight.

5.                   Use a vice grip to clamp the swaged forestay screw above the turnbuckle to stop it from sliding up inside the furler.  Unscrew the turnbuckle and screw in the new one onto the forestay screw (making sure that you have the same thread in the turnbuckle before you start (most likely anyway because of the forestay diameter). 

You do not necessarily need to replace the forestay at this point as it is usually the bottom screw that breaks but all rigging needs to be checked for corrosion and you should replace anything that is suspect.   It is also important to check the Forestay fastening at the top of the mast. 

Hope this is useful




21st April 2009


Gordon Fitzsimons (Smidgen) wrote:

We broke the mast when we were lowering it, the knot joining the jib halyard to the rope to the winch got stuck in the halyard pulley and the mast would not move. John who was on the winch had slackened the rope so we gave a tug on the main halyard which freed the knot from the pulley and the mast fell back but there was nothing holding it and so it hit the push pit and broke into three. The moral of the story is to:

 1)     make sure the knot does not reach the pulley and

 2)     always keep tension on the rope.

I am insured but I do not know yet how much they will pay out, a new mast with standing and running rigging is R33 000. The original section is no longer made so they use the L26 section instead, I don’t think using carbon fibre is a good thing for the class. 



15th December 2008

Hi Coenie

As you suggested I got onto Warren Fraser at Associated Rigging and got this response within an hour. I must say I have never had such a quick and helpful response to a technical query. Can I suggest that you put Warren's notes on setting up the mast into the web page? I have asked him if he minds and he said that not at all, the more knowledgeable his client base the easier his job will be.
Peter Morris 
Hi Peter,
600mm sounds too much as far as rake goes and I am sure you are replacing the bottom bits of the bottlescrews because they bent whilst stepping and unstepping. :-)
My forestay spec is 8 565mm length overall. First check that yours is the same. If not then adjust it! (the entire set up revolves around this)
Then load the cap shrouds against the forestay and balance the bottlescrews to ensure that the mast hounds (where the stays attach to the mast) are exactly in line and over the mast heel (and in turn the keel).
Then set up or rather tune the lower shrouds to get the mast straight. This can be done by sight by looking up the mainsail track and turning the respective bottlescrew to straighten the middle panel.
We really load the cap shrouds on these little boats and I mean LOAD so that they are guitar string tight. This forces the middle panel of the mast to pop forward and bend the mast creating the correct mast bend and in turn the correct forestay load. Under stiff sailing conditions you want around 50mm of forestay sag and no cap shroud sag.
After the cap shrouds are loaded then tune the lower shrouds accordingly. Be careful as a few turns can make a huge difference. I would aim to pull the mast back at the spreaders leaving around 90mm of bend at the cross trees. (Use the main halyard by attaching it to the mainsail tack pin and pulling up tight)
There is no absolute load figures for the H-23 but what you must avoid (and this goes for all fractional rigged yachts) is for the cap shrouds to become slack when the adjustable backstay is pulled tight up.
It is great you hear from you and I hope to help you in anyway possible, please feel free to ask anything. What may seem to be silly questions often prevent costly mistakes. If anything is unclear please ask.
Happy sailing.
Thanks and regards,
Warren Fraser
Associated Rigging
Tel: +2721 510 6055
Fax: +2721 510 6054
Cell: 082 573 2182



10th December 2008


Frank Stuyk's answer to Peter's question


Hi Peter


My rig was 22 years old till I replaced the side stays. Forestay and backstay still the same. I find it best for the stays to be tight but not overly so. If you are well heeled over the leeward stay must be ever so slightly loose.


That's how I sail my boat in +30 knots without a problem. That said the stay tension should never be the cause of rigging failure. I have never heard of it - unless of course you played piano on the rigging.


What I have seen is that old rigging rusts off at the point where the cable enters the swaging. It seemed to rust at that point. I once had a stay break off in my hand on another H23 whose rigging was not even as old as mine!


I would concur that you contact associated rigging.


Enjoy your boat!!


Once sailed with Ken and Ray O'Conner ( ex Zim ) in 1986 for eight days on Kariba on a Sweet Pea. One of the best holidays ever. One of my 'must do's' is to trail my H23 to Kariba.


Best regards




10th December 2008


Peter Morris from Zimbabwe writes:


Hi Coenie
Thanks for the addition in the FAQ's about setting up a fractional rig. It prompted me to raise some questions that I have been intending to ask you about. These are:
-    what is the correct rake on the mast? (I suspect that my mast is too far forward because in low winds there is no windward helm and the rudder feels very strange with no feed back when you move the tiller)
-    what is the correct tension in the shrouds? (the previous owner advised me not to fiddle with the turnbuckles but I am going to have to replace the toggles so I will need to re-set the shroud tension)
-    what is the correct pre-bend in the mast?
Peter Morris



24th November 2008


Lowering and raising the mast is one thing but how to adjust the shrouds and forestay. What tension should there be on the stays. Having the wrong tension on these can result in the mast failing. I replaced my rigging in November 1999. On the 3rd of January 2000 I sailed with a 15knots wind on my port quarter and wham, bham the mast broke just above the spreaders and fell on the deck. I always thought that maybe my mast wasn't 2000 compatible, but I think I haven't had the right tension on the rigging. Everything were replaced and installed by qualified riggers and eight years later I replaced the rigging and I will continue doing that every six to eight years.


I also heard that replacing the mast and tabernacle can cost you a hefty ± R40000. I hope you guys have insurance to cover such a breakdown.


Click on this link. This a copy of an article that was published in the "Practical Boat Owner"  September 2002.


Fractional rig adjusting of.PDF



Please tell us how do you make sure that the tension on your rigging is right, maybe you can save someone a lot of money


5th November 2008

Coenie, one small comment to add regarding the mast exercise - - before lowering, make sure there is enough free aerial cable and or electrical cable for lights etc!  I discovered this step the hard way!! (try joining aerial cable when its just out of reach up the mast!)
An idea for next article:  A diagram showing all rigging in detail - I am still not exactly sure which sheet goes where and especially on the mast - which sheet is supposed to run over which pully etc.  But then again I am a novice.  Maybe everyone else knows?


3rd November 2008

Rob Wilson on raising and lowering the mast:

Shoo, this makes it sound easy. I guess it is if both crew members are strong and above average height! Personally, I only do it on the hard.


The ‘pole’ is indeed part of the process. You run the halyard over it to increase the angle between the halyard and the mast when lifting it. Some just have a ‘U’ at the top, others a deep groove wheel.


I found that the stays sometimes slip out the top fixing position on the way up-then you have to lower it again! I took to putting a single wrap of insulation tape (NOT masking tape-it sticks too well to the mast) around the stay sleeves at the top before it goes up-as they take tension, it breaks loose and hangs there-retrieve with a boat hook...




Lowering and raising the mast, while on the water.


Only two crew are required to lower and raise the mast.



1.         Remove boom and main sail.


2.         Release tension on the back stay


3.         If you have 2 pins on the foot of the mast through the tabernacle, remove the bottom one.


4.         Secure the spinnaker or jib halyard to a strong place on the bow, like the anchor roller.


5.         Winch the halyard in order to remove tension from the forestay.


6.         Put some protection on the deck for the mast to rest on once it is fully down.


7.         Remove the pin of the forestay while the halyard is firmly cleated.


8.         One crew then stands right behind the mast and the other slowly releases the tension on the halyard.


9.         The mast will then come down. The first crew member will then slowly walk the mast down and the other will slowly release the halyard until the angle of the mast will be as such that the halyard will no longer hold the mast. The second crew member then also support the mast and then lay it “softly” down on the deck.


Raising the mast requires some more preparation:


1.         Take both bottle screws in hand, let it stand up straight and wind some masking- or insulation tape around it. Make sure that is stays up right through the raising process. The reason is if you raise the mast it will bend the bottle screws if it is not in the up right position.


2.         Make sure the shrouds will not foul on the deck while raising the mast.


3.         Make sure the loose end of the halyard is around the mast winch.


4.         Two crew members will then lift the mast until the halyard can be used again to winch it up further.


5.         Make sure the mast stays in the middle position while raising, if not it will put pressure on the tabernacle.


6.         While raising the mast keep an eye on the bottle screws and the shrouds.


7.         When the mast is fully up, secure the forestay.


8.         Release the tension on the halyard and put tension on the backstay again.


9.     Sit down and drink a cold lager!


10.       Now put back the boom and main sail


12.   Sit down and drink another cold one.



This is roughly how I lower and raise my H23's mast. Please help me to fine tune on more detail.


Email: coenie@isales.co.za



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