getting the mast up

Jeff Ilse bio photo By Jeff Ilse

After motoring over 1000 miles to get to Michigan, Meadowhawk was ready for a mast and some sails. It turns out to be somewhat complicated for someone who hasn’t procured these items before. Some key ingredients to making a sailboat sail are

  1. a mast. it sounds obvious, but something has to hold the sails up.
  2. line (stanging rigging) to keep the mast upright.
  3. Chainplates. Some strong hunks of, in my case, titanium to attach aforementioned line to the boat.
  4. Lots of little bits and brackets that hold it all together. Think huge plumbing project where all the parts have to fit together and come from many different vendors. Some had to be custom manufactured.
  5. even more line to hold the sails in place. (running rigging)
  6. even more hardware to keep the running rigging in the right spot.

Every boat I’ve sailed on or owned came with all these parts. When it came time to replace one, just replace it with something similar. Not too hard. The challenge comes when one doesn’t know which parts to start with. I had some very qualified people helping me and the biggest challenges I faced were project management issues. The parts from vendor A had to fit the parts from vendor B, C, and D. And they all had to be made in time or I was going to have to continue living on a boat in a parking lot. no fun. Ok, it was right next to the water and still better than living in a house.

I did eventually get everything I needed and after months of planning and begging for parts, a crane pulled up, set the mast in place and was gone 45 minutes later. I had a sailboat!

Martingale stay bracket (1of2) made by John Koon @ Tradewinds Marine Services

Selden mast with design/consulting by Brion Toss mast

Big pile o running rigging. Spliced by yours truly. running rigging


Standing rigging and hardware from Colligo Marine. I did the splicing. standing rigging

eye splice

A ceramic knife is required to cut it, because it is so tough. ceramic knife

13 mm dux martingale stay with a breaking strength of 49,000 lbs. (sized for stretch not strength. Yes, it’s over strong) 13mm dux

light weight is aloft is important. I can hold all my standing rigging in one hand. spliced light weight

Pre-stretching the stays after splicing pre stretch

titanium chain plates are light and will never rust. They will outlive me. titanium chain plates


and just like that. it was up. it's up