Ericson 25, Mast, Stepping & Unstepping

These instructions apply to those who have the standard mast-raising equipment:
  • A tabernacle/hinged mast.
  • Crutches (bow, transom)
  • Boom guys (port, starboard)
  • Tangs on aft end of boom (port, starboard)
  • Link plates above turnbuckles on spreader shrouds (port, starboard)
  • Winch on mast (port)
What follows is mostly a transcription of the original booklet issued in 1973. The photographs have to be retaken as they are too grainy and indistinct: unless, of course, one of us still has the original booklet.

1. If you plan to sail after dark, be sure to connect the mast light to the electrical system before raising the mast.

2. Before securing the mast to the crutches, install carpet or other soft pads to protect the mast during trailering.

3. If, instead of removing them entirely, you bind stays and shrouds to the mast for transit, be sure they are tightly secured to prevent their chafing and marring the mast.

4. In making the electrical hook-up from trailer to towing vehicle, check to see that stop lights and turn signals are properly connected and functioning.

5. Do not shorten the boom guys. They may appear slack when installed before lowering the mast, but this slack is intentional. It will prevent their being overstressed when lowering the mast. If they are too tight, they may break and cause the mast to fall.

6. Before backing the boat and trailer down the ramp into the water, loosen and lower the adjustable pads on the rear end of the trailer which support the hull. This will enable the boat to float free in six to eight inches of water less than if the pads are not removed.
    1. Disconnect all lines holding the mast in the crutches:
    2. Grasp the mast firmly, lift it from the stern crutch, and roll the mast forward on the bow crutch roller, lifting the mast light over the roller:
    3. When the base of the mast reaches the mast step, force the mast down into the step, and insert the pin through the mast and step:
    Caution: Do not relax your hold on the mast until the pin is secured through the step – to do so would allow the mast to fall on the vehicle in front of the boat.
    4. Connect all shrouds to the mast and spreaders.

    5. Connect the upper shrouds to their deck chainplates. Do not attach lower shrouds at point.

    6. Tape the toggles of the headstay turnbuckle and the upper shroud turnbuckles in a vertical position. This will prevent the toggles from binding as the mast is raised:
    7. Attach the boom guys, one port and one starboard, to the tangs on the aft end of the boom…
    8. Attach the link plates on the upper shrouds:
    9. Attach the backstay to the aft end of the boom, snapping on the boom topping lift shackle:
    10. Reeve the mainsheet through all the blocks on the boom and the traveler, knotting the sheet to the block on the traveler:
    11. Raise the boom vertically, aft end up, and slide the gooseneck into the cove of the mast.:
    12. Secure the gooseneck to a fixed position by tying the line to a halyard cleat:
    13. You are now ready to begin raising the mast.
      1. Lead the free end of the mainsheet directly from the forward block on the boom to the jib halyard winch on the mast:
      Take three turns around the winch drum with the sheet.

      2. Crank up the mainsheet, turning the winch by handle with one hand, taking up the sheet with the other. This cranking action will raise the mast to an upright position:
      3. When the mast is upright or the headstay is taut, cleat the mainsheet securely. This will keep the mast up while both hands are free.

      4. Attach one side of the split backstay to one of the chainplates on the transom, port or starboard as you choose:
      5. Disconnect the boom from the backstay topping lift temporarily.

      6. Attach the other leg of the split backstay to the other transom chainplate.

      7. Reattach the boom to the topping lift.

      Caution: The weight of the boom attached to the backstay is sufficient to keep the mast in a vertical position. Do not release the boom from the backstay until you have at least one leg of the split backstay attached to a transom chainplate – if you do the mast may fall forward.

      8. Remove the boom guys and stow below.

      9. Attach the lower shrouds to their deck chainplates:
      10. Adjust all turnbuckles to give stays and shrouds the desired tautness:
      11. Remove bow and stern crutches.

      12. Attach rudder:
      13. Wind force and direction permitting, bend on main and lib sails before launching.

      14. You are now ready to launch your Ericson 25.

      1. Attach side rollers to the trailer.

      2. Back the trailer down the ramp into the water.

      3. Float the Ericson 25 over the trailer between the side rollers as far as it will go.

      4. Connect the winch hook to the bow eye.

      5. Crank the winch to move the boat up into the proper position on the trailer.

      Caution: Be sure the centerboard is raised before you float the boat over the trailer. The rudder may remain in position until the trailer and boat are hauled out of the water.

      1. Install the forward and aft crutches.

      2. Disconnect the lower shrouds at the deck chainplates. Loosen the turnbuckles on the upper shrouds, but leave them connected.

      3. Disconnect one leg of the split backstay from one of the two transom chainplates:
      4. Fasten the backstay boom topping lift to the aft end of the boom:
      5. Install the boom guys.

      6. Disconnect the other leg of the split backstay from its chainplate.

      7. Lead the free and of the mainsheet directly from the forward block on the boom to the jib halyard winch, taking two turns around the drum.

      8. Holding the sheet leading from the winch firmly in one hand, step forward of the mast, grasp the headstay with the other hand, and pull the headstay toward the mast. This will cause the mast to move forward to a point where gravity will lower the mast to its crutch, while you control its descent by paying out the mainsheet around the halyard winch:
      9. Guide the mast forward into the forward crutch:
      10. Slide the gooseneck from the mast cove, and lower the boom to a horizontal position in the cockpit.

      11. Remove the mainsheet from the boom blocks and the traveler. Disconnect the backstay and boom guys from the boom.

      12. Disconnect the upper shrouds and headstay from their chainplates. At this point you may gather and secure them to the mast, or remove them from the mast entirely, coiling them and stowing them below.

      13. Applying a downward force on the mast base, remove the pin from the mast step.

      Caution: When the pin is removed, take care to hold the mast firmly to prevent its falling on the vehicle forward of the boat.

      14. Slide the mast aft on the bow crutch roller until it rests securely in the aft crutch. The mast will have to be physically lifted slightly at one point to permit the mast light to clear the bow roller.

      15. Secure the mast by tying it to the deck fittings. Do not tie it to the crutches themselves.

      16. Remove the rudder and stow it. Stow the boom.

      Copyright 1973 Ericson Yachts. Printed in U.S.A.


      1. Thank you for these helpful notes on lowering and raising the mast. This afternoon my son and I installed a new jib halyard and found that the mast pivot is loose from the mast step. We will need to lower the mast, reattach the pivot to the foot and then restep the mast. Obviously, without a fixed pivot, lowering the mast could be more exciting. Do you think we could control the base of the mast with three or four strapping young men?

      2. I know a beefy E25 owner who says he's stepped and unstepped his mast with the help of some beefy friends. If I had to do this (with some beefy friends), I'd probably try to pick it up vertically (obviously), and then walk it over to the side of the boat and lower it vertically until the base touches the ground. I would think that this would be best way to keep control of it.