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    My Mk 2 GRP came to me with a step made of plywood, scewed through the base of the tabernacle. It was a bit rotten so it has now been taken away (leaving behind some nasty stumps of mild steel screws that are going to be a challenge to remove).

    Looking in the chandlers catalogues, the pukka mast step looks like an extrusion with two pins or bolts passing through. You probably all have one of these, so can you tell me whether those pins/bolts end up between the cheeks of the tabernacle and are therefore difficult to adjust because of lack of width to remove them?

    When I obtain my new mast (the old one had some corrosion, I have had it welded but have decided I don’t trust it), I want to fit a 3 sheave heel-plug. Presumably I have to cut off an equivalent length of mast to get the mast plug end to engage with the mast step/rack. I am cautious because the image in the PinBax website looks like the plug just pushes in, how can it withstand the load imposed by the rig?


    I have recently had a new mast and it arrived complete with heel plug and yes it fits between the tabernacles and you can’t adjust it without removing the mast step -but would you want to ?

    Dave Barker

    As vintner says, the pin or bolt is difficult/impossible to remove without removing the channel part of the step first, but this is a straightforward task if your boat is set up at all like mine. With the mast lowered I can remove the two or three countersunk screws which fix the alloy track to the hardwood step and then adjust the pin/bolt at will. There is just a single bolt, to limit the mast’s movement abaft; the front of the step is clear, to allow the mast foot to swing forward when dropping the mast. (Presumably it is desirable/essential that at least one or both of the kicker and the jib halyard should pull backwards on the lower part of the mast to prevent it from creeping forward in the step when sailing). [P.S. Having thought about it, the kicker probably makes no difference]. There should be enough space between the sides of the tabernacle to use a screwdriver to remove the alloy step, although admittedly it is a fairly tight fit. The width of the tabernacle is not the same on all Mk2 Wayfarers…

    The (cropped) photo is rather dark and not focussed on the step, but you can see that the black-coloured alloy part (with a steel bolt across it) is set on a hardwood base, about 18mm thick at a guess.

    To see whether you need to shorten your mast you must first decide whether to mount a new piece of hardwood or plywood under the adjustable step – I would. Then measure the depth between the bearing surface of the step (now on its new base) and the centre of the mast retaining pin holes in the tabernacle. Deduct from that measurement the additional height that the new plug will contribute and mark a line on the mast at the resulting distance down from the pin hole in the mast. Remember that you want to end up with the mast sitting on the step and have the mast retaining pin free to move in the holes in the tabernacle when you finish adjusting and tuning the rig. NB it’s easier to add packers under the mast than to have to lower it slightly. A trial assembly prior to drilling any holes has to be worth doing!

    Although working in this area is very fiddly it is well worth getting the job sound while you have access to it. Then some silicone sealant prior to replacing the screws will help keep water out and prolong the life of the wood. When attaching the wooden part bear in mind the position of the subsequent fixing holes for the alloy track part of the step. Naturally it’s easier to do as much work as possible before fitting the wood or the step itself to the boat.

    The 3-sheave plug is a snug fit into the base of the mast. Mine has two or three small self-tapping screws to retain it, positioned around the perimeter of the mast (about 20mm up?) which may well be a later addition.

    I would think that overwhelmingly the main load imposed by the rig is a vertical one, and any lateral forces are accommodated by the plug’s overlap in the foot of the mast.

    Well, that’s the setup on “Cockle”.

    Good luck.


    Thanks to you both for that advice, the picture speaks a thousand words, Dave and you have confirmed my suspicion that the step has to be removed to adjust the “back-stop”.

    My comment on the load on the rig was because I intend to use a muscle box (=magic box) fixed alongside the centre board, for the genny halyard so the pull on the sheave plug will be kinda 45 degrees upwards and I thought it would lever out the plug, but of course the pin in the mast step will counter this, so that should be ok.



    If you are adding a mast step then stick it in so that it sticks out aft of the tabernacle and if you need to add a small packing piece of hard plastic to fill the difference. You may find with an older boat that the rear of the mast will come well back in the tabernacle anyway and my not require any packing. Mine does anyway.

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