National 12 - find out more...

Lowers and mast ram: do I need both??

Started by gbr1918, 23 Mar 2022, 02:03

« previous - next »


Hi, Captain Flint (Design 8, Angell keel-stepped carbon mast)  has a mast ram and lowers.  Do I actually need both of these?  If I don't, which should I keep?  I'm only guessing, but I should think the mast ram is what she was built with, and the lowers came with the carbon rig (probably when Tim Tomlinson  owned her, about 2000.)   Any suggestions would be enormously appreciated  - it would be nice to simplicate the rig a bit, but I don't want to have the mast  go over the side!  Dave   


Hi Dave

The mast ram and lowers do slightly different jobs and many boats have both. The mast ram is good for controlling the fore-aft bend so good for controlling the amount of mast bend when sailing upwind. The lowers do control the fore-aft bend a bit for also control the sideways bend. Generally when you're going downwind sideways bend is bad because you lose power. So you can use the mast ram upwing and lowers downwind. Does that make sense?

Do you need both? Well on our 12 we just have lowers and use them for both upwind and downwind but the lowers pulley system has to be very powerful with little give in the rope for that to work. It is also a bit more fiddly to set up correctly. If both are already there then I'd suggest trying to use them both and see if you get on with them

There are some good guides on the website on how the controls work. Have a look at:

Happy sailing


Ah, right!  Thank you, Graham!  So upwind, the lowers can be pretty slack and the mast ram limits the mast bend, but on the reach the lowers go on to restrict the sideways mast bend and keep the power maxed!   We'll try it.  Thanks for your help.  Dave

n12 Bottom Banner