M5's 89m mast stepped

The stepping of M5’s main mast was managed by Marine Results, with equipment supply, infrastructure management and hydraulics expertise provided by Pendennis. Ed Danby, Director of Marine Results, explained the complexity of the operation: “The primary crane, provided by Ainscough Cranes with a lifting load of 1,000 tonnes, is one of only two in the UK capable of this operation. As the mast stepping required lifting to 300ft in the air it was crucial that the wind was less than 10 knots. The mast was hoisted at dusk whilst there was still just enough light to ensure the mast was safely vertical. It then took five cranes, supported by a team of over 30 people, five hours to complete the complex procedure.” Support was also provided from other local companies including A&P, who is now hosting the yacht at Queen’s Wharf, with two of the lifting cranes provided by Macsalvors in Redruth.

Part of the refit specification was to improve her rig and fittings replacing them with a system made of carbon fibre and titanium, designed and manufactured by Carbo-Link with OYS making the fittings. Although the mast and spreaders have remained original, the 34 new carbon fibre stays have been constructed with built-in dynamic fibre optics displaying the load through a central computer. There are also advanced chafe and wear monitoring systems inside each of the carbon foils.

Following its stepping the mast will be pre-tensioned to achieve the estimated correct load on each of the stays, and the electronics are in place to monitor the sensors in the rig. The next few weeks will be spent observing and adjusting the length and fittings on the stays to achieve dock-true settings. The new rig will be tested in full during M5’s sail trials scheduled for early November.