Mast Base and Mast Step Misalignment?

I've owned FS #4655 for a little over 3 years, but sail on my own and never owned an FS before, so it's still new to me, and I don't always know what's "normal" and what's not.  So, the first time (and every time since), I stepped my mast, the aft-edge of the mast hits the mast-step at about mid-point, and it is impossible to finish stepping the mast, because the mast does not slide backward across the step and drop on that last half-inch of so.  So, I solve the problem by not putting the hinge-pin all the way into the sleeve, but rather only about 70%, which keeps the mast a little higher and gives it clearance above the mast step.  However, I was told very clearly recently that I shouldn't have to do that, and it's potentially dangerous.  It doesn't look to me like the mast step has ever been repositioned, but I suppose it's possible.  Does anyone know why it's hitting at the mid point of the step, and then won't slide back?  I've just learned that the step is supposed to be silver (mine looks black, but i realize now it's because it is so dirtly).  Would that make that much difference?  Also, the top edge of the step has a few pock marks on it, but nothing serious.  Pictures are linked below.  Note that I was using a Mast Helper, for the first time, and it was a problem with the MH as well, but also well before I got the MH. Either the mast is not sliding back properly, or it is hittiing the mast step too far forward.  I'm a bit perplexed.


FS5516's picture

I looked at your pictures and noticed immediately what the problem is. The mast hinge pin is too far up the mast. There should be a screw installed in the mast to limit how far the pin slides up the mast. The base of the hinge should be even with the base of the mast. In your case, the pin is too far up, hence the pivot point is past the correct position. The remedy? With the mast up and in its proper place, install a stainless steel screw into the mast at a point above the top of the pin. This will prevent it from sliding up too far. Hope this helps!

Thanks so much!  That makes perfect sense!  Essentially, by not sliding the mast fully onto the hinge-pin, I was "simulating" the pin hitting the "stop-screw".  This also explains why when I was looking at the mast base yesterday, I looked up in the hinge-pin sleeve just to see if I "happened to notice something" and I did see 2 drilled holes in the mast sleeve, which meant nothing to me at the time, but now I realize that one of those two holes is where the stop-screw is supposed to go.  I'll put a screw in the one that aligns the hinge-pin base with the mast base.  You don't happen to know what the second hole is for, do you?