which brings me back to my question of how do you keep the mast properly rotated while dropping it or raising it with a single handed system.
srm (and abbman) answered your question with this:
you can use the trapeze wires tied to the front crossbar to stabilize the mast and prevent swinging.
The trap lines -- or some type of side-to-side support -- have to be in place to stop side sway and
keep the mast rotated.
On the FX, the mast rotator sticks out so much that it won't rotate out of sideways until you get the mast at least two-thirds up. Also, of course, it won't allow you to lower it but so far until you have to turn the mast flat side down.
From my hassles with mast-stepping, there have been three problems to overcome if you're doing it by yourself.
1. Pre-step mast support. After putting the mast on the step ball, you have to a support somewhere along the mast to keep the spreader wires on the FX from getting crunched on the rear crossbeam. The mast has to be about a foot off the crossbar for spreader wires not to get damaged.
Adam uses a tripod. Karl uses a stepladder. I have read of some using three tent poles tied in a tripod. Whatever.
From this "resting position", I think it is easier to hook all the shrouds, etc. up.
The FX mast cannot even be attached to the step ball without laying the mast horizontal...
2. Side to side sway. Some system of trap lines, etc. is needed to stop the mast from falling off the side of the boat and from rotating off laying horizontal flat-side down.
The Getaway mast stepper uses a slug in the sail track. The slug is secured with the halyard off the top and two lines off the bottom that are tied to the ends of the front crossbeam and then back to a gin pole that is inserted into a special shell-like clamp at the mast base. The clamp, or adapter, holds the mast in the horizontal position.
Slug looks like this:
The adapter: adapter.JPG
The adapter will not fit on the FX mast. I blew some money hoping that it would. Last year's catalog said it would work on the Tiger mast. So I assumed it would work on the FX mast. Not unless you beat it flatter with a big hammer.
The shrouds don't stop the side-to-side sway until you get the mast nearly raised; so they don't help when stopping the sway is most important or needed the most.
3. Securing the forestay to the bridle. You either use the halyard to secure the mast while you hop off the tramp and connect the bridles to the forestay or some other arrangement... Adam and others use a cleat or two to tie the mast in place with the halyard. Then you jump off and secure the forestay.
If you don't secure the mast, you can't take your hands off it to secure the forestay to the bridles... unless you got a tail (like a monkey) to hold it.
At this point, the mast is rotated so the sail track is facing the back of the boat.
From what I have read and tried, these are the big three hurdles to mast stepping.
Lifting the mast, you can either do by yourself or with some mechanical help; but still have to address these issues somehow...
All this to answer the email that I never answered, Adam. Obviously, I am still working on more efficient time for setup...