It is now considered necessary in order to spar a canoe to the best advantage, to place the masts so near the ends that it is very difficult, or even impossible to unship them when afloat, especially in rough water. The requirements, both of convenience and safety, however, dictate that they must be capable of being lowered, both for bridges, trees, warps and when in very rough water. The arrangements by which this end is attained are called tabernacles, several styles of which are shown. In one form the deck is not cut, but the bed of the mast is pivoted between two pieces of oak, ( p ) each 2-1/2x1/2 in. above deck, fastened securely to the keel and projecting 4-1/2 to 5 in. above deck. These pieces are covered above deck with sheet brass 1/16 in. thick, and the heel of the mast is bound with the same to prevent splitting. A pin or bolt of 3/8 in. brass goes through the three, the mast turning on it. The after side of the tabernacle is also of 1/2 in. oak, projecting 1-1/2 in. above deck, or enough to catch the heel of the mast and prevent the later from going forward. The mast is raised and supported by a forestay and tackle from the stemhead, to permit which, the sail, if a balance lug, must have a great peak.
Another simple form was fitted to a canoe in 1880 by the writer. A triangular box was set in the forward part of the canoe, fastened at the bottom to the keel, and at the top to the deck, in which a slot was cut, as wide as the mast and about 1 ft. long, the box, of course, being of the same width inside. In practice, the canoeist, seated in the well, could place the mast in the box, leaving it, for paddling, lying at an angle of 45 degrees, but when desired to raise it, by going on the knees the mast could be thrown easily into an upright position, and held by a wooden chock ( o ) slipped into the slot behind it. This chock, with its sides projecting over the slot, completely covered it, and kept out all water. When the mast was not in use, its place was taken by a square plug. The chock was fitted at its fore end to slide under two screw beads which held it down, and its after end was kept down with a brass button. Another and better form of tabernacle is that devised by Mr. Tredwen and fitted to the Pearl canoes. This is a square box 15 to 18 in. long, as wide as the diameter of the mast and as deep as can be fitted to the boat. It is lined with sheet copper and provided with a drain ( r ) at the bottom. For racing purposes two light boxes of wood are made, wide enough to fit in the tabernacle, their united length just filling the remainder of the box when the mast is in it. If the mast is to be set forward, both boxes ore slipped in behind it; the mast may be set aft, the boxes being forward of it or the mast may be placed between the two boxes. By this device the mast may be tried in almost any position until its proper place is found. In the Pearl the large and small mainsails are both used with the same mizzen, the position of the sails being changed so that both will balance properly.
In cruising, the mast is fitted to lower by means of a line from the well. In one method the brass band to which the blocks are fastened is fitted with two lugs or trunnions, at the height of the deck. These logs engage in two hooks screwed to the deck at the after end of the tabernacle, being raised by a heel rope led over a sheave in the heel of the mast, thence through a sheave on the after side of the mast above deck, and thence through a sheave forward of the tabernacle, giving a very powerful purchase. By another plan the mast is hoisted by a purchase made fast at the stem head and also to the mast above the deck. With either of these arrangements, no forestay is needed. To set the mast at the fore end of the tabernacle, no lugs are required, but a chock is dropped into the bottom to prevent the heel from coming aft, and the purchase is used to bring the mast upright and hold it there.