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  #1  
Old 07-23-2007
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mainsail stuck up

Yesterday was first sail on 1965 Columbia 26 Bill Tripp design. I hoisted the mailsail 90 percent up and then halyard locks up. Tried to go aloft on jib halyard and it locked up. I am going to buy two ascenders to fix. Can anyone tell me what to look for if I suspect the blocks at the top of the mast. This is an external riged classic sailboat.
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Old 07-23-2007
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If both halyards jammed, it could be something about the sheeves or the pin they turn on has jammed. Or, one line jumped a sheeve and jammed them both. Ascenders are great but for a one-shot, you can use climbing loops made up with Prussic knots. You'll find information on the web about them, or at a local climibing shop if you have one.

All you need are three loops of 1/2"-5/8" line, tied with square knots or other secure knots. One about 6' tall, the other two about 8' tall. You throw all three loops over your climbing line, and use the two long ones as "stirrups" and the shorter one as a chest (under the arms) safety. Standing in one leg strap, sliding the other one up a foot, transfering up into that, bringing the other leg strap back up, keep alternating and you're walking up a halyard, pushing the prussic knots up as you go. (The third loop around your chest is there as a safety, in case your foot slips. Don't omit it.) Prussic knots tighten and grab under pressure, but pop loose with a thumb so you can slide them up. They're what climbers used before ascenders were affordable, or available. They can be used on any tapered spar--including many masts--as well.
As usual make sure there's a safety line besides your climbing line, you never want to fall when that "stuck" line decides to get unstuck!
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Old 07-23-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by columbia26inga View Post
Yesterday was first sail on 1965 Columbia 26 Bill Tripp design. I hoisted the mailsail 90 percent up and then halyard locks up. Tried to go aloft on jib halyard and it locked up. I am going to buy two ascenders to fix. Can anyone tell me what to look for if I suspect the blocks at the top of the mast. This is an external riged classic sailboat.

HelloSailor is much more qualified to answer, but I had that problem on a boat and after much frustration I realized I forgot to loosen the mainsheet a little
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Old 07-23-2007
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It sure sounds like one halyard jumped its masthead sheave and jammed both sheaves, which isn't all that uncommon. You'll want to check the pin and cheeks that the sheaves mount to for excessive wear or play. Most of the time, the masthead sheaves are installed into the masthead casting.
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Old 07-23-2007
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Have you tried to use your binoculars to do a visual inspection from the deck before going aloft? If I read your post correctly, the halyards are rigged externally and you might be able to spot your issues before climbing. It might save you some effort and at the least give you better planning data before your climb. Worth a look?
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Old 07-24-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
All you need are three loops of 1/2"-5/8" line, tied with square knots or other secure knots. One about 6' tall, the other two about 8' tall. They can be used on any tapered spar--including many masts--as well.
As usual make sure there's a safety line besides your climbing line, you never want to fall when that "stuck" line decides to get unstuck!
Just a quick note as a climber... been climbing for many years (been lurking here for a while too), and have used prussics alot.

Please don't use a square knot for anything that holds your life... they are often called "death knots" in climbing, and are not suitable for any climbing situation. Double, or triple fisherman knots are what you want.

I also wouldn't suggest using prussics around the mast... it would likely work, but it wouldn't be safe.

Also never ever ascend a rope that is "stuck"... always use another line. The stuck line will give way.

Sorry to correct you Hellosailor... I normally think your pretty on track, but as I do alot of climbing, it is very simple for things to go bad. Every year, very experienced climbers die... very very experienced... from something small done wrong. If you have to use climbing methods to ascend the mast, please have someone who's been climbing for a while show you how to do it properly. Its your life, and I have seen many knots, or setups which look solid, and feel solid which would eventually drop you.

If you want, I can go more into how I would set up an ascender system, using prussics.

Just trying to watch out for your safety.
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Old 07-24-2007
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Gringo, I defer to you. Square knots do have that unhappy ability to untie themselves. My little climbing was long ago and far away. So, tell him how to do it, and save the $200 on hardware.

I'm not sure I'd call prussicking up a mast unsafe though. If it was a short clear run--and his is short--heck, in a slimmer younger life, I've used them to go straight up street lamps that weren't tapered a whole lot more than many masts are.
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Old 07-24-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by columbia26inga View Post
Yesterday was first sail on 1965 Columbia 26 Bill Tripp design. I hoisted the mailsail 90 percent up and then halyard locks up. Tried to go aloft on jib halyard and it locked up. I am going to buy two ascenders to fix. Can anyone tell me what to look for if I suspect the blocks at the top of the mast. This is an external riged classic sailboat.
We had a similar problem and it turned out to be our main halyard twisted around the topping lift. As a result halyard would travel easily until about 80% raised then jam against the topping lift. Visually is was quite hard to detect but at least when detected it's simply a matter of untwisting the lines.
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Old 07-24-2007
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A stuck up mainsail, huh? Let the bats use it as toilet paper...that'll take it down a notch or two!

Sorry, couldn't resist!

Good luck, I've had the problem, but mined turned out to be a jammed slug. After tearing the sail I was able to free it with a quick jerk on the halyard.

I think the opinions above, however, are probably more accurate in your case.


Jason
S/V Astraeus
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Old 07-25-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
I'm not sure I'd call prussicking up a mast unsafe though. If it was a short clear run--and his is short--heck, in a slimmer younger life, I've used them to go straight up street lamps that weren't tapered a whole lot more than many masts are.
Ya... you can do it... but prussic knots are friction based, and typically compress the rope they are tied around a little, while at the same time biting into them. Some forms of these style of knots cause the rope to make a slight turn, adding to the friction, and creating directionality to them. A mast won't allow the compression or slight bending effect for the prussic to the best choice. I think it would still work, but it might be pretty sketchy... and I wouldn't use it unless I didn't have another choice.

There is enough involved that I don't want to give the advice over the internet... please find someone there with more experience to help you with it. It will be safer that way.

As a side... be careful with the ascenders... some use little spikes to get grip on the rope, which works really well, and is completely safe, unless you shock load them, or try to use them while descending. I have seen rope sheaths stripped off perfectly good ropes this way... rendering them useless.

Sorry I can't help more.
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