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H260 Launch Checklist 

This checklist was compiled using info from the sailboatowners.com archives and my own experiences. We're always looking for a better way to do this. Feel free to suggest improvements and correct errors.

Want the Keystone Cops version of the checklist? Click here to see a quick summary of possible screw-ups when launching and retrieving the boat.


1 Park in an area with clear overhead access including the path to the ramp. Chock the trailer if necessary. The mast is 35' long - add another 10 feet or so on the trailer you'll need a lot of clearance.
2 Untie any hold downs & bungee cords & make sure the shrouds are clear. Pull on the furler to make sure the "T-ball" hook at the top of the furler is secure. Caution: keep a couple of the bungies that hold the furler to the mast near its base.  These are needed to keep the roller fuller from flopping around as you raise the mast. Review this diagram before proceeding further. 
3 Slide the mast back in preparation for raising. Don't pin the base yet. If you need to install the Windex/antenna, now is the time to dip the head of the mast down so it drops as close to the ground as possible. I usually do this myself but this is one of the few times where having a helper is nice. 
4 Pin the base. This can be difficult. At first, it will take some cussing, the right tools, and some practice before it gets easier. Wiggling the mast from side to side usually helps. A light coating of Teflon lube will help insertion of the pin. Don't forget the vang bracket. Here's the tools I use.
5 Install gin pole and attach one side to the red jib halyard, the other to the mainsheet. Attach bottom end of mainsheet to "U" bolt in anchor locker. Tension mainsheet so jib halyard takes the load. Verify that jib halyard is securely tied -- use a cleat, don't trust the rope clutches etc. See Diagram.
6 Tension red jib halyard (verify it is not blue main halyard) so pole is about 10 degrees. Mark the red halyard in the clutch when it is when under tension. The next time you raise the mast you'll know exactly where it should be. The halyard stretches so that when it takes the full load it will be perpendicular to the mast. If you forget this you'll end up with a dent in the pole where it is inserted in the hole. Secure halyard to cleat on side of deck & lock line stopper.
7 Verify that all stays are not tangled; make sure turnbuckles and terminations are in proper position. The little grey clips are designed to keep the "T-ball" for the stays in place. The "T-ball" at the heads of the stays can come out of the slot when raising the mast so tape or clip them in place or watch them carefully to make sure they don't fall out. Use surveyors or masking tape to tie the shrouds to the safety lines to prevent them from misaligning. Check that all halyards and shrouds are not snagged on anything before raising mast.  
8 Standing in the cockpit, lift up on the mast while pulling on the main sheet, just to get it going. Use the port winch - it's easier. Once you get the mast a few inches off the rear crutch, recheck that everything is OK.  Once you get it up about three feet, it will start getting much easier. Don't go too fast, watch that everything is running free, if it gets hard too pull, stop and verify that nothing is caught. If you have to let go of the mainsheet line, make sure that you tie it off securely first - don't trust the cam cleat on the mainsheet. 
9 Once the mast is in the full vertical position, tie off the mainsheet on a stern cleat. Make sure everything is clear. 
10 The next task is installing forestay or the roller furler. Tighten the mainsheet as much as you can. It can be difficult to pin the roller furler.  If that still does not work, you can use the boom vang and a cable arrangement to pull the RF closer to the hole. I've found that a 1/8" cable will fit through the bracket. Attach the vang to the cable on one end and the ladder on the other. The helper can assist by pushing up on the middle of the furler to take the bow out of it while you pin the drum to the bracket. 
11 Remove gin pole and crutch.
12 Install Boom, feed mainsail slugs into mast slot starting with head of sail, attach main sheet and boom vang, and topping lift. Tidy up topping lift, reef and outhaul lines at gooseneck. 
13 Open fuel tank vent and prime the gas line. 
14 Ready fenders and dock lines. Two 25' dock lines at the stern and bow can be tied together so one person can control the boat as it comes off the trailer. This technique is good when docking.
15 Verify that centerboard is secured in up position. 
16 At this step I usually verify the ballast tank valve is OPEN so it begins to fill upon launch of the boat. However, if the ramp is very shallow, you might have to wait until the boat floats free of the trailer before opening the valve. 
17 Ready to Launch -- Extend tongue for shallow ramps. The pin for the tongue extender might be difficult to reinsert, so a large awl or marlinspike or screwdriver will help align the hole. Make sure trailer tie down is removed, disconnect trailer lights from vehicle, good idea to have chocks ready, esp. on slippery ramps. 
18 Back boat down ramp, tie up boat and park vehicle. 
19 Lower engine and rudder. Warm up motor. Open Ballast Tank! It is not a good idea to try to sail with an empty ballast tank. Close the valve after you are sure the tank is full. (
20 Go Sailing! 

Retrieving the H260

1  Hook up trailer and chain.  (Don't hook up brake wiring). 
2 Squirt dish soap on bunks. 
3 Shallow ramps may require you to extend trailer tongue.
4 Guide trailer down ramp. 
5 Make sure ballast tank valve is open. 
6 Verify centerboard is up. 
7 Raise rudder & pin. You only have to drag the rudder a couple of times before you start remembering this. 
8  Raise motor. 
9 Guide boat on trailer. 
10 Winch boat on trailer (double loading might work) 
11 Secure bow winch & chain. 
12 Slowly drive out, stop and let water drain. Comment loudly to observers that you'll get that leak fixed some day. 
13 Tie Down boat. 
14 Tie Down motor so it does not bounce. 
15 Remove vang and mainsail/boom.
16 Install rear mast support crutch 
17 Install gin pole and attach one side to jib halyard the other to mainsheet. Attach bottom end of mainsheet to "U" bolt in anchor locker. Tension mainsheet so jib halyard takes the load. Secure mainsheet to bow mooring cleat. 
18 Verify that jib halyard is securely tied -- use a cleat, don't trust the rope clutches etc. 
19 Tension red jib halyard (verify it is not main halyard) so pole is about 10 degrees. Secure halyard to cleat on side of deck & lock line stopper. 
20 Loosen forestay/roller furler drum. Bungee headsail to mast so the furler won't flop around when lowering the mast. 
21 With mainsheet hooked on bow mooring cleat, ease tension, and lower mast onto crutch. You'll have to give it a good shove to get it started down.
22 Remove mast step pin, disconnect mast base from step. Replace pin, vang strap, and cotter pin. 
23 When you slide the mast forward the head of the mast will dip close enough to the ground for someone to remove the Windex. 
24 Lower and slide the mast forward on mast crutch until base of mast rests on pulpit. 

Disclaimer: These instructions are for entertainment only. The author knows nothing about boats so you should take all of this with a grain of salt. Get some lessons. Use of any part of these procedures is at your own risk. Your decisions, adjustments and actions must be based strictly on your own knowledge and research. If you want to sue me, forget it as all my money is in a Swiss Bank Account or buried in a secret location, yada, yada, yada, etc, etc, etc,...