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post #11 of 26 Old 06-06-2013
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Re: Screw on the mast, Mast Steps

If I'm doing the math correctly, you're going to be buying something like 32 of those at $21 each. That's about $650. Have you considered a mast ladder or the ATN mast climber instead?

Here's an article that you might find interesting:
Good Old Boat - Up the mast article

I'm not saying the steps are a bad idea (I haven't used any of the above, and am only just beginning to figure out how I'd get to the top of my mast), just tossing out other options.
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post #12 of 26 Old 06-06-2013
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Re: Screw on the mast, Mast Steps

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Originally Posted by SVTatia View Post
The mast vibrates quite a bit under some circumstances, wouldn't those folded aluminum steps cause a lot of noise?
Not that we've ever noticed. The rungs fold up to vertical, then slide down about 3/8" and jam in place.


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post #13 of 26 Old 06-06-2013
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Re: Screw on the mast, Mast Steps

My boat (also a 34 foot with an estimated 43 foot mast) came with mast steps. Mine are the enclosed type. My boat was set up for single handing ocean type sailing. I like the steps. I can shimmy up the mast in no time. I use a harness as a safety back up and clip on as I go up. Plan to start using a climbing harness with a prussic on a haylard ( will use two haylards as back up).

My steps are aluminum attached to the alluminum mast with stainless rivets. I would not use screws as the inside part of the screw would damage internal haylards and wiring.

The problem I see with the folding steps is if you get thrown into a step (say when seas are rough and mast is swinging vilolently- this would happen during an emergency at sea repair), you body will be impalled on the protruding step. That folding step will now spike into you body- could be fatal. The closed step would also be a hazard, but not as bad.

At times my halyards do get caught in the step, but I am learning better technique to deal with that.

Last edited by casey1999; 06-06-2013 at 01:32 PM.
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post #14 of 26 Old 06-06-2013
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Re: Screw on the mast, Mast Steps

From my perspective mast steps allow me to go up the rig firstly unaided if necessary and while at sea which for me has been a necessity more than once.

This being the case, I would never consider fold-out steps simply because of the risk of slipping off. If both of the above scenarios happen at the same time (up the rig alone at sea) and you slip at the wrong time (say whilst moving your harness from one spot to another) you'll have the second worst day of you life. You'll fall into the sea as opposed to falling onto the boat (worst case scenario). Yes, I know you could have several attachment points on your harness but even if you drop a few feet it could hurt. Technicalities aside, it's best to keep your feet on the step.

The second type down in this website is what I have used on more than one boat.

Mast Stairs

And I put them on with 5mm Monel rivets and have never had one come off or even loose.

But I have to acknowledge that I have had a sail stuck on one very occasionally but it never did any damage.


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post #15 of 26 Old 06-06-2013
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Re: Screw on the mast, Mast Steps

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Originally Posted by mad_machine View Post
I have wondered about these. Do all the holes weaken the mast?
The size holes should not weaken the mast any appreciable amount- unless you have a carbon fiber mast- that could be a problem as it would cause a stress concentration that carbon fiber is very sensitive to.
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post #16 of 26 Old 06-06-2013
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Re: Screw on the mast, Mast Steps

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Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
From my perspective mast steps allow me to go up the rig firstly unaided if necessary and while at sea which for me has been a necessity more than once.

This being the case, I would never consider fold-out steps simply because of the risk of slipping off. If both of the above scenarios happen at the same time (up the rig alone at sea) and you slip at the wrong time (say whilst moving your harness from one spot to another) you'll have the second worst day of you life. You'll fall into the sea as opposed to falling onto the boat (worst case scenario). Yes, I know you could have several attachment points on your harness but even if you drop a few feet it could hurt. Technicalities aside, it's best to keep your feet on the step.

The second type down in this website is what I have used on more than one boat.

Mast Stairs

And I put them on with 5mm Monel rivets and have never had one come off or even loose.

But I have to acknowledge that I have had a sail stuck on one very occasionally but it never did any damage.
I agree. The problem with the folding steps is two fold. One you can easily slip off them, and two, when you do slip, you are probably going to do some damage to your body on impacting on the folding steps. On the link you provided, imagine slipping on or being swung into the model K-11770-2S folding step- looks like it would do some serious damage.
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post #17 of 26 Old 06-06-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Screw on the mast, Mast Steps

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Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
If I'm doing the math correctly, you're going to be buying something like 32 of those at $21 each. That's about $650. Have you considered a mast ladder
Funny you should mention the ladder - I am currently emailing this guy about his ladder.

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post #18 of 26 Old 06-06-2013
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Re: Screw on the mast, Mast Steps

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Originally Posted by rikhall View Post
Funny you should mention the ladder - I am currently emailing this guy about his ladder.

Rik
Not that I'm knocking ladders, I would probably use one if I could but I have Harken Batcars on my mast which obviates such ladders.

The problems I have thought about are:

The treads not being laterally contained and sort of slipping around the mast when a foot applies pressure to one side.

Then there is the main halyard being used to hoist the ladder so if you want to belay yourself as you go up, one could use the topping lift if you have one else you have to use a headsail halyard which is a bit of a problem because it comes out of the masthead sheaves on the wrong side and has to be fed around the rig (spreaders etc.) Not insurmountable but a hassle nevertheless

Then there is if you're going up the mast on your own (no-one holding the safety halyard), what do you clip your harness to? Because if the main halyard (or the ladder) parts, the ladder comes down on top of you after you've hit the deck although you probably won't notice.

Then there is the problem of what do you do if the main is up and you're sailing but lose a headsail halyard and have to go up? You have to stop the boat in a rolly sea, drop the main etc. When the main is up and you're sailing the boat (and mast) is way more stable for going up.

I may be sounding pedantic but I have had to do this sort of stuff when I was single handing across oceans and any one of these issues would have turned a simple climb (I had those enclosed steps) into a really daunting one.

Not trying to talk you out of a ladder because for someone who returns to a marina every night the ladder is a really good solution.


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Last edited by Omatako; 06-06-2013 at 08:19 PM.
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post #19 of 26 Old 06-06-2013
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Re: Screw on the mast, Mast Steps

I installed those steps a few years back and never regretted it. I also have the ATN top climber which is nice but a lot more work to get up and down. I still use a slip on a line as a safety and a belt once I get to the top. If you don't do the full set of steps all the way up, then I would at least recommend two steps at the same height at the top of the mast to stand on in order to be able to work the equipment at the top which is tough to do from a chair or ATN.

I was very pleased with my purchase. I installed using 5 aluminum rivets on each step.

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post #20 of 26 Old 06-07-2013
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Re: Screw on the mast, Mast Steps

Andre,
Thanks for the feedback on the ladders. That's good to think about. I don't have dreams of sailing the oceans in my current boat, and plan to return to marinas most nights, so for me the ladder seems the more logical approach. Hopefully the OP got something out of this thread, too.

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