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CS 20 MKIII tabernacle question


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I apologize for my absence from the forum in recent years.  A move to Cape Cod, coupled with no actual boatbuilding apart from a ubiquitous flat bottomed skiff to keep at the landing, has kept me off the bulletin board.


Here's the question.  If I am to continue sailing, I need to build a sailboat with an easily managed mast in a tabernacle that can be raised by one person, in a moderate seaway, as there is a 10' clearance bridge between myself and Nantucket Sound.   How difficult would it be to push the main mast into position on a CS 20 MKIII, or bring it back to deck at the end of the day prior to coming home.  I have seen trimarans do this with the aid of a gin pole, but they have a foredeck to work from.  Perhaps some kind of permanent gin pole that would serve as a whisker pole for a drifter.  Lord forbid, add a couple of stays to assist.  


Thoughts.  My CS 17 is still going strong, but the family has grown in size.  It is time for the boat to grow with it.  






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We have lowered both masts on my CS20.3, not hard at all, as long as there isn’t much rolling of the hull. (Water needs to be pretty smooth, just takes 4-5 minutes)   We put on a show at a water front restaurant when we lowered our masts to duck under a train bridge in place of waiting till the scheduled opening time.  

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In my opinion, even a mast as slender and light (~ 22 lbs) as the main on our CS20.3, shouldn't be raised or lowered except on the tarmac or in very protected waters with enforced "no-wake" speed limits.  A silent & surprise wake or wave at just the "wrong" moment can cause disaster -- severely damaging the mast-tabernacle assembly and injuring crew!  A neighbor sailing friend had just that happen to him.  He wasn't hurt, but there was expensive damage to his Eclipse.


I struggled to raise/lower Chessie's mast solo -- and finally worked out a method that was within my aging strength.  See my Pg 34 post dated July 31, 2017. 

I have occasionally lowered the main mast while on the water, but only in the early morning at a slip in very light or no wind conditions.  I know others do it, but it's risky.  Getting it done quickly, of course, lowers the risk of a momentary upset.  But if you could predict the unexpected -- it wouldn't be unexpected!

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I’ve read some of your stuff in the forum and have enjoyed your contributions. 

If a cabin isn’t as important as people space, I understand that B&B is about ready to offer a new variation on the Core Sound 20 using Mark3 features (water ballast, centerboard to the side of the cockpit, motor well, self-draining cockpit (I think), two tabernacles, etc.). It’s being called SR20, I think.  (SR is for self-righting… isn’t THAT a cool feature?)  

An aspect that really intrigued me about SR20 is the open cockpit.  My CS15 (Norma T) has carried 4-6 adults in the open cockpit (lake sailing) and I like all the room available in a 20 foot version of Core Sound.  (I note that some have added a dodger to open boats for a bit of spray protection.)

I was ready to buy plans for SR20 when available and build it from a kit that I believe is either available or just around the corner.  Then, I encountered Avocet being for sale and I bought it (CS17 Mark3 number 6 hull).  It when right into storage and I haven’t experienced it yet. 
I will find the forum posts about the SR20 from Alan and add it to another post.  You might really like what it offers. 
I bring this up here because of your concern about raising and lowering masts.  An open cockpit CS20, in the new Self-Righting version, might make the process easier than with a Mark3 with a cabin.  In the SR20 there is no centerboard trunk in the middle of the forward cockpit area (ease of movement) and there is a tabernacle for each mast. 

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Here’s the thread created last September by Andy B in which both Graham and Alan offer the intriguing information about the SR20:

By the way, the photo is my daughter, her husband, my two sons and a grandkid trying out Norma T for the first time.  I think it came in here because it’s the first photo on the thread. 

Be sure to click on the link on Graham’s post to see a really great set of construction photos on the prototype build of the SR20.  The photo link:


And, of course, if intrigued, contact B@B. ?

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Thanks.  That really looks cool.  The Vineyard is 4 nautical miles south of us, straight shot. So a cabin is not essential.  Self-Righting, well heck yes.  We have had some wild rides in the CS17,  came close to capsizing once on a hat rescue.  Fortunately, those sails can be let ALL the way out.  


Yes, ideally the boat should do the following:

= allow room enough for 4 strangers, 6 family to tell tall stories, get soaked, grab a beverage on a distant shore, then dash for home.  A porta potti would be nice too. 

= allow a 65 year old man who loves to sail the opportunity to get the boat from his harbor, under the bridge, then off on a ride for several hours before returning under said bridge.  10' clearance.  perhaps a tilting mount, then raise to full. not a full on deck thing. 

= be safe enough not to turn turtle unexpectedly, giving the skipper and trusty crew time to sort things out, swallow our pride, and get back underway. 


OB 22 may be in order.  but the fuel thing...




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There must be some creative approaches to a quick and easy lowering of masts. The mizzen is easier and a snap, I’d think, with a tabernacle.  I’d think the main would be a little more challenging to bring down in control.  Graham and Alan must have some safe strategies of lowering the masts for bridges.

One brain thought I’ve had on this… connecting together the ends of extra halyards from each mast, using the line off the raised mizzen to help lower the main mast (catch if it gets away?) and then the mizzen should be an easier process. 

Another brain thought… some sort of counterbalancing spring or bungee in the bottom of the tabernacled main mast connecting to the inside of the anchor well to take some of the “weight” of the mast as it’s lowered.  Hmmmmm. ? 

And, a mast float might give another edge of security against turtling.  I’m just finishing two of them, one for each of my Core Sounds. 

Another thought for a retired guy from a newly retired guy… I’ve already built two boats since 2020, but now I’m much more interested in playing with them during my summer time than dealing with a lot of epoxy and dust. The CS15 build was quick, doing it from a kit… about three months.   The ski-boat is a longer process (almost done), doing it from plans only.  I enjoyed both, but I think I’m done… mostly.  Buying Avocet rounds things out for me.  Besides, my wife was gracious about leaving her car outside for my two builds… AND cleaning up from the dust.  I think she’s done with that. ?


SO, I offer encouragement to you to build from a kit if possible. 

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Just a couple of thoughts. I'm in reasonable shape, but not a powerlifter and I have no trouble putting the mainmast up with one hand, mostly lifting with my legs to get things going. The key is to be farther forward than you think. I  stand on the cabin top at the ramp, which is pretty high up. With my shoulder holding the mast forward I reach down and add the levered nut. I am 6' tall with long arms which helps.


I think the only challenge is a rolling sea. The mast is only really captive in it's seat and there would be a lot of leverage on the pivot bolt. I think the mizzen would be pretty easy. 


I have an interest in this as I plan on doing a trip down the Erie canal and I'll need to switch to a sail rig at Cross and Oneida and Onondaga lakes.  

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