For a blue water yacht, which is best, a keel or deck-stepped mast?

From a safety perspective it will always be better to have a keel -stepped mast. Dismasting is arguably the sixth worst hazard a sailor faces, after keel loss, rudder failure, gas explosion, fire, and man overboard.

The principles are self-evident. With a keel-stepped mast the foot is sat on the keel and locked into position and then locked again as it comes through the deck.

Whereas a deck-stepped mast is only supported, but not necessarily even locked in, at the base on deck.

If one element of the rigging breaks on a deck-stepped mast , especially the forestay or backstay, the stability of the mast is seriously compromised with nothing to stop it collapsing forward or aft except the shrouds, which are mostly loaded athwartships. When rigging fails on a keel -stepped mast there is still the bracing support between the keel step and the deck collar to hold it up.

When a yacht is banging into a powerful head sea, the mast is flexed out of shape as it pumps, which will cause the rigging to slacken on each pump. (Beside)

If the pumping action creates a big curve the mast can actually  jump out of the deck collar on a deck-stepped mast. 

A keel-stepped mast will pump less violently because it is supported at the deck collar.

So why do many modern yachts have a deck-stepped mast?

Firstly it’s cheaper because the mast section is shorter, secondly the cabling for the mast equipment, is cheaper too, because there’s less of it, and thirdly it is more convenient to run the cabling out of the bottom of the mast straight into the cavity between the deck and the deck head.

Another reason is aesthetics: the mast section inside the vessel below deck restricts interior design, which, of course, should never take priority over seaworthiness. 

A keel -stepped mast is more expensive than a deck-stepped mast this will reflect in the cost of the yacht.

The customer has to ask himself if it’s a price worth paying.

We at Kraken Yachts answer: ‘Most definitely!’

Share this post

Related Ocean Sailor Posts...

  • Length Overall 44 ft
  • Beam Overall 12.54 ft
  • Draft 6.58 ft
  • Sail Area 1099.5 sq.ft
  • Length Overall 50 ft
  • Beam Overall 14.76 ft
  • Draft 7.54 ft
  • Sail Area 1444.52 sq.ft
  • Length Overall 58 ft
  • Beam Overall 17.06 ft
  • Draft 7.54 ft
  • Sail Area 1946.54 sq.ft
  • Length Overall 66 ft
  • Beam Overall 18 ft
  • Draft 8.7 ft
  • Sail Area 2322 sq.ft

Kraken DNA

In The Yard

Take an exclusive look behind the scenes at what goes into the building of a Kraken yacht, not just the finished article. 

Crafted For You

Kraken Owners Group

Experience all the extra benefits of Kraken ownership with our online owners’ portal including access to our crew finder.

Kraken Yachts

About

Kraken Yachts

Team

Kraken Yachts

Careers

Kraken Yachts

Contact

Kraken Design

The Zero Keel™

The Zero Keel is part of the hull and it can never come off. There are no bolts used anywhere in the construction of the keel or hull.

Kraken Design

Build Structure

All Kraken yachts are built with a substantial interior structure to ensure keel delamination and failure cannot occur.

Kraken Design

The Alpha Rudder™

This comprises four unique features which hugely improve the crews ability to continue steering throughout circumstances that would disable most other yachts.

Ocean Sailor

Podcast

The Ocean Sailor Podcast is a blue water cruising chat show. Our hosts, the two Dicks (Durham and Beaumont), explore blue water sailing topics.

Ocean Sailor

Magazine

Ocean Sailor Magazine was a monthly magazine created by Kraken Yachts and launched in January 2020.

Ocean Sailor

Articles

With eight categories to choose from including tails of the sea, sailing skills and even great recipes for cooking in your galley, there are hours of reading to enjoy and learn with Ocean Sailor articles.

Enquire Now

You can fill our enquiry form for information on prices, delivery dates, options and upgrades. A member of our sales team will be in contact with you shortly.

First Name *
Last Name *
Email address *
Country of Residence *
Area Code *
Phone Number *
I am interested in the
When are you looking to receive your new yacht?
How did you hear about Kraken?
Comments or questions

About

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.