How not to lower the mast on a Hurley 22 yacht

June 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm

I needed to shorten the forestay, and the mast needed to come down for that.

Hurley 22s have their mast stepped on a tabernacle; effectively their mast hinges on a bolt on the cabin top so presumably all you need to do is undo the front stay and lower it gently to the ground. Sounds simple enough, and the mast only weighs about 40kg though at just under 9 metres it is a *bit* awkward…

So I rounded up a couple of friends, and proposed we used the method described on the Hurley Association website: to take a line (the spinnaker halyard) from the top of the mast, forward to a block and then back to the cockpit and round a winch.  One person would steadily lower the mast while another ‘catches’ it under the spreaders with a long ladder and the whole lot is safely and slowly lowered to the deck.

However they weren’t happy to lower it onto themselves and wanted to do it from the ground in front of the boat with a turn around the pulpit. Someone still had to be up by the mast to give it it’s first shove on its way and guide it down straight.  Guess who that person was? Yep, me.

Lower Mast Hurley 22

I don’t really think this warrants a caption, other than simply “Don’t do it like this”

So, I won’t go into detail but yes it did come down with some form of relative control, it was pretty quick but no-one was actually maimed or died, and ultimately the boat wasn’t damaged …so I guess you could call it a success?  To be honest though, that was probably only by luck rather than skill, and I probably wouldn’t choose do it like that again… Anyway, we propped the end of the mast up on a piece of wood, cushioned the cabin roof with a spinnaker bag and took off the roller reefing foil so I could get the forestay off to be shortened.  It looks a bit precarious so I don’t want to leave it like that for long, or it would probably start to bend the mast (more than it already is…) Hurley 22 Mast However, what we (I) hadn’t considered was how to raise the mast back up again (step the mast), but sometimes you just have to start the journey without knowing exactly where the destination is, right?  More on that next time then…

Oh, and this post is filed under Anarchy.

How to monitor your 12v battery

June 15, 2014 at 11:41 am

Now I’ve got some progress with Duet’s interior refit, my focus is starting to move towards her electrical systems.

She currently (no pun intended!) has one 70AH leisure battery fitted, which was new last year as I fried the predecessor charging my phone and using the autopilot one sunny afternoon, totally discharging the battery and it wouldn’t re-charge.  I learnt a lesson there, and am keen to make sure that it doesn’t happen again… mainly because batteries are expensive!

I have already done a quick calculation of what power I need for cruising and have recently bought a 20w solar kit to replace the knackered 10w panel I removed earlier in the year.  However, because I’m not really sure how much juice I need I’ve gone for just a 20w panel, and I still suspect that I might need another battery but haven’t decided where I will put the bank as there’s currently only space for one.  I have no experience of boat 12v electrics so I’m just going to try it and see where we get…

Anyway, all this needs careful monitoring as if you discharge a battery below 40% it will fry it (or at least shorten its life).  I’ve been looking at the NASA BM-1 which retails at about £90 though it does show the battery draw when something is turned on (which helps with calculating power needs I suppose) and it shows the current voltage and percent charge.  However, like I said, it’s £90 which is more than the cost of a(nother) new battery, and it needs wiring in which is a bit intimidating as to be honest I’ve never done electrics.

However, there is a drastically cheaper alternative: I’ve bought a plug in 12v voltage meter, on eBay for about £4 delivered.  It looks like this:

12v Voltage Meter hurley 22 duet

Really easy to use, you just plug it into the cigarette lighter and it tells you what the current voltage is, by which you can work out the percent charge of the battery.  Couple of caveats though; always test batteries when they have stood without charge or use for at least 30 minutes. Batteries just taken off charge will have significantly higher voltage until the surface charge decays over 30 mins or so.

I have done a chart on what the voltage means, that I will be printing off and laminating for the boat.  It’s pretty self-explanatory… basically try not to discharge below 12.42v (80%) and never discharge it below 12.06 (50%). Please help yourself to the image if it would be useful to you too!

12v Voltage Charge table hurley 22


Sitrep 13/6/14

June 13, 2014 at 9:07 am

Situation Report for 13th June 2014

Duet Hurley 22

I’ve been busy… Have spent pretty much the last 2 weeks down at the boat and have done alot, but there is still much to do.

It’s a matter of priorities now: what has to be done before launch and what can possibly wait: what is necessary for safety and what is a ‘nice to have’.

So the inside is finished, painted and carpeted… Bar a bit of finishing off.

And the bottom has had its 4 coats of epoxy, and one of antifouling (just needs another one). To be honest it looks better than I ever hoped!

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that the mast is down. That’s a long and complicated saga, and I’m going to do a whole post on that when I get a minute (and some video of inside work too).

Nonetheless, here is the list of remaining works that must be done before re-launch (hopefully at the end of next week). This concentrates on the basic essentials of rig, hull, engine and navigation.


  • Fit new cap shrouds (being made up now)
  • Fit new spreaders (being made up now)
  • Replace all clevis pins
  • Re-rivet foot of mast and cap (rigger to do)
  • Replace VHF cable in mast.
  • Re-tape electrical connections (have already been tested and work)
  • Step mast
  • Adjust rigging


  • Finish antifouling
  • Refit one through hull and seacock (one already done!)


  • Make sure lights work
  • Make sure depth/log/gps work
  • Install new VHF
  • Sort out anchor
  • Buy new outboard and get it aboard!

The rest, I think can be done on route. After all, they do say that cruising is just boat maintenance in new places…


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