On my previous boat, a MacGregor 22, I could raise the mast singlehanded without any mechanical assistance. I was hoping to do the same again, but after trying brute force I realized that the boat layout was working against me. In the MacGregor I could stand right at the stern of the boat, grab the mast and lift and walk forward to the mast base. Since the Tiki doesn’t have a deck all the way to the stern I had to start my lifting much lower down on the mast where the leverage was working against me. I needed some kind of engineered solution.

A few years ago, I read all the old Sea People magazines and noted anything I could find about Tikis. One of the articles I saved had a bit about mast raising. In that article, the author made an A-frame from oars attached to the center beam to give a higher lifting point. He also used a bridle from the mast head to the outer ends of the center beam to give lateral stability when raising.

Bridle Idea

I decided that I liked the bridle idea but wanted to use a gin pole instead as it would be smaller and easier to store. I also realized that I would need a support at the far end of the mast while it was in the down position to give a good starting position for lifting. For that, I built a bipod out of 2x4s. The Tiki plans call for an optional “anti-kick” safety line at the mast foot to assist with raising. I found that necessary and added the line to my mast foot.

Anti-Kick Safety Line

For the gin pole I re-purposed one of the old tillers that I had recently rebuilt. I removed the blocking from the rudder end and glued in some planks to fit the gin pole to the octagonal mast base. I also added a piece of line to tie the gin pole to the mast base. At the top end of the gin pole I cut a slot to run the forestay through.

Base of Gin Pole Fits Octagonal Mast Base

Gin Pole Installed

With the mast supported in the bipod and hooked to the mast base with the safety line I was ready to raise the mast. First, I attached the ends of the bridle to the cleats on the center beam, attached the center of the bridle to the jib halyard, ran it up the mast, and cleated it off. Then I attached the gin pole to the mast foot, ran the forestay through the slot in the gin pole, and attached a 5:1 block and tackle between the end of the forestay and the forestay bridge. I ran the line from the block and tackle back to one of the head sheet cam cleats on the aft beam. While standing on the ground behind the aft beam I could pull on the line and the mast went up easily and without any lateral movement. The gin pole was just the right length and the curve in it allowed good access to the end of the forestay to attach it to the forestay bridge. My hope is to be able to do this while the boat is on the trailer when I am setting up for launching.

Raising the Mast