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post #1 of 32 Old 03-28-2005 Thread Starter
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ATN Topclimber

Does anyone have any first hand experience with the ATN TopClimber? I need a way to get to the top of my mast unassisted. Any other suggestions? Before anyone goes on and on about how I should not do this, please don''t waste the time. I have to be able to get to the top by myself, cause that''s the way I sail. Mark Bryant SV Mystic
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post #2 of 32 Old 03-28-2005
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I''ve used it a few times. As with most thing, it gets easier with practice. I found the climbing easiest with the line angled 20 degrees from vertical, and made taunt. This way, you''ll have enough clearance for your hands as you reach the top of the mast. If you plan to work on the spreaders, you''ll need to keep the line tied off loosely, so that you can swing from one side to the other.

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~
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post #3 of 32 Old 03-29-2005
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How heavy are you? It looks easy on the video, but I could not do it. A suggestion, look at all of your options, mast mate and others on the internet. If you cannot use ATN I think you can send it back. I did.
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post #4 of 32 Old 03-29-2005
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Even if you can physically use the Topclimber, you may have trouble. I had no problem ascending to the top of the mast several times, but found that my knees could not take the deep knee bends and would be in real pain for a couple of weeks after the experience. I went through a whole bottle of Ibuprofen, then sold the Topclimber on ebay.
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post #5 of 32 Old 03-29-2005
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FWIW We hoist a four part tackle to the truck with the halyard, attach the bosun''s chair and haul away with a five to one mechanical advantage which seems adequate....George
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post #6 of 32 Old 03-29-2005
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ATN Topclimber

For many years, long before the topclimber was ever invented, I have been using mountain climbing gear to go aloft. I haul a single block to the truck, one end of the line attached to a good climbing harness, and the other brought through an ascender which is also attached to my harness through a short lanyard of about thirty inches. In this way, I can easily haul myself up with a 2 to 1 purchase and let go of the line at any time because the ascender holds it. I use a figure 8 device to rappel off from the masthead.

All the mountain climbing gear is available through ''Snow Leopard'' and is prety cheap. I also use a couple of little tricks to bring me waist high to the masthead for drilling and tapping up there.

Recently, I have bought another block to increase the purchase to 3 to 1. I''m almost 60, after all, and it gets harder to just crank up. I have been using this method now since about 1985.
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post #7 of 32 Old 03-29-2005
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I have also use mountain climbing gear to go up but with a different method: Attach one ascender to your climbing harness, use another ascender with about a 4ft loop of tubular webbing above that one. Step into the loop to lift yourself up some and slide the ascender on the harness up. Slide up the ascender with the loop and repeat - kind of like a moving stair. I used this method for about a year, then got tired of it and just installed some mast steps.
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post #8 of 32 Old 04-01-2005
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Check this one out. It explains how and why you should use climbing gear on the boat.

http://www.bwsailing.com/PDFs/Aloft_bws0499.pdf

Max.
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post #9 of 32 Old 04-06-2005
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FalconEddie:

Can you give more detail? Sketch or photographs?

Unless one is familiar with this sort of gear it is hard to visualize.

Jake
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post #10 of 32 Old 04-16-2005
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I have found through experience that you have to have either a bosuns chair, or a very good harness to prevent your legs from going to sleep. I use an excellent climbing harness with the widest legbands I could find.

I have two climbing ropes. One is about 200'' by 10 MM and the other is 165'' by 12 MM. I went to West Marine and got sail handling blocks by Harken, Lightweight, new style, with ball bearings.

From Snowleopard, I got about ten standard type carabiners, two ascenders, and a figure-eight rappelling device.

I attach one end of the climbing rope to the loop on the front of the climbing harness, then feed it through a sail block, which I connect to the main halyard and hoist to the masthead. I DOUBLE cleat the main halyard and make sure no deck-dancing bozos can accidently trip it free and send me plummeting to the deck.

Then, I attach one of the ascenders to a thirty inch lanyard (I use 5/16 or 3/8 dacron doublebraid with bowlines at each end - it allows me to adjust the length easily) and attach the other end to the same lifting loop on the harness.

From there, all I have to do is grab the line below the ascender with one hand, and the ascender handle with the other, and pull down. It''s a two to one ratio, so I''m only lifting 1/2 my weight. I hold the line down with one hand and quickly slide the ascender up the line with the other. Any time during this, you can let go with both hands and not be able to fall.

If you find the weight too much work to deal with, do what I do now and add another block, making it a three to one lift. It takes a bit longer, but it''s a lot easier.

I leave the other ascender hanging from the lift loop, and clip it on for safety while working. Also, if I need to get all the way to the top of the masthead, I feed the line through the lower ascender and (it''s a little harder, but it works) pull myself up the rest of the way until the blocks are almost together and I can see the top of the mast.

When preparing to come down, you have to keep your wits about you and be careful. I back off a little until I have plenty of line above me and am back on the upper ascender. I then attach the figure eight rappeller below the ascender and clip it into the lift loop. Then I haul myself up a bit and take tension on the figure eight so I can disconnect both ascenders from the line. Rap off and you''re standing on the deck in about five to ten seconds, shaking some bloodflow back into your legs if you''ve been up there for a while.

I always use a bucket, up to a five gallon pail, attached to a hauling line tied to my harness, to haul tools and equipment up. I can tie the bucket off up there and do whatever I have to, even bringing electric drills, dremels, sealer, taps and easy-outs, mastehead lights, Windex''s, or annenometrs. On some jobs, You have to secure the mast with a jib halyard and disconnect the forestay (scary, but easily do-able) and haul up a new on for a new roller furling system and attach it. All in a days work.
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