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post #21 of 32 Old 06-25-2009
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I wear a harness and have the safety line attached via a belay and a jammer.

I sit in a bosun chair and lift the chair, while keeping the safety line pulled up. I find the harness is not very comfortable when trying to work upright next to the mast.

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post #22 of 32 Old 06-25-2009
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In my case I was the guy on the bottom and I sent the captain up the mast. We didn't have a chair or harness so he whipped up his own instant harness with a dock line.
We tied on the main halyard with the bowline and I tried to crank him up.
This boat Catalina 30, has a mast mounted non-tailing winch and we had a small, maybe 12" handle.

I couldn't figure out how to crank and tail as I needed two hands to crank and two hands to tail properly.
So I had him haul himself up by pulling on the jib halyard and I just tailed.
Worked out great for me and he proved what a great athlete he is.
I did all the work letting him down too.
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post #23 of 32 Old 06-25-2009
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Funny thread!
Some people here should give up sailing, the fear could cause them to have a heart attack!

In a previous career I did sports lighting. I'd climb 65 foot wooden poles on hooks, ride up sitting on the ball of a crane to change a bub at 100 feet etc. I've gone up the mast hand over hand in my younger days, riding in a coil of rope as a bosun's chair many times. Now I have a bosun's chair with a pair of ascenders and foot loops so I can go up by myself, even though I don't have the arm strength any more. I'm completely comfortable up there.

Of course I would NEVER let my younger brother winch me up again. He thinks its funny to let the halyard fall free for about 5 feet and then snub it on the winch! You get one hell of a bounce that way!

Gary H. Lucas
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post #24 of 32 Old 06-26-2009
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Originally Posted by GaryHLucas View Post
Of course I would NEVER let my younger brother winch me up again. He thinks its funny to let the halyard fall free for about 5 feet and then snub it on the winch! You get one hell of a bounce that way!

Gary H. Lucas
That's a good way to kill someone by accident, since static lines, like some of those used in sailing, can often break under the shock loading of a drop like that. Tell your younger brother he's and ass and an idiot.

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post #25 of 32 Old 06-29-2009
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Mast climbing

Climbing a mast is dangerous, that's for sure. Lot's of stuff on a sailboat is dangerous. Learn your knots, climbing knots are very important. You don't need fancy equipment, you can use prussic knots and also tie a very good harness from line. If you have the fancy equipment it would be easier and probably safer. I was up my stick a couple weeks ago, I do have one of those webbing "rope" ladders. I've never liked it but I have used it on three different boats. I moves around took much because it stretches. I actually broke one of the rungs this last time, the stitching that connects it to the outside vertical web broke. I restitched it extra strong, I did hit that rung harder than normal, it was a first quick step up. I typically weigh in a just over 200 lbs. I always have multiple safety lines, I do everything possible to help make something dangerous more safe. I tie in when I get to where I will be working. This last time I was replacing a spreader, my boat has wooden mast and spreaders and I replaced the broken one with a modified and salvaged aluminum one. I modified it's mate and will replace the other one soon, but other jobs have a higher priority right now. My new safety device that I tried this time was hoisting up a 45 kilogram anchor supported by rollers up the fore stay and letting it come down as I went up. Next time I'm all the way up to the top, I will consider adding another sheave that is super strong for doing this kind of lifting. I don't like having my weight and the anchor added together on a standard halyard. It worked very nicely, climbing was very easy and if I let go I slowly would accelerate slowly down. I understand that not many boats have a 45 kilogram anchor but you can find something that has about that mass. Basically one half of a person weight will give you one half the force accelerating you and 1 and 1/2 times the mass, so that your acceleration would be 1/3 that of normal. This is not counting friction in the sheaves, that cuts it down to where you almost have to push your self down. At his point I am a solo sailor, an engineer and I enjoy figuring out ways to do most stuff by myself. I am working on a way to lower my keel stepped mast, and it's a big one. It sticks up over 54 ft from the waterline and the step is approximately at the waterline. I saw a Dutch build steel boat that had the front railing hinged to assist in raising and lowering a deck stepped mast. I'm doing some calculations on making a front railing that hinges all the way back at mid ship to assist in lifting and lowering both main and mizzen masts. This railing would replace all the front lifelines and stanchions.

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post #26 of 32 Old 06-29-2009
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I am 65 and I have no problem with going up the mast, though I am afraid of heights. Make sure the halyard you use for the primary lift goes over a mast head sheave, don't use a spinnaker halyard on a bail. Use a second halyard for safety. Here is an alternate to a bosun chair.

Well it won't let me post a link because I am a newbe, try mastmate on Google
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post #27 of 32 Old 06-29-2009
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Exclamation Accidents do happen

Just wanted to say that you have to be carefull.

Two months ago a yacht was found drifting in the Atlantic near to St Helena Island.

The "Solo" Skipper was nowere to be found but half way up the mast was what was left of the Bosuns chair.
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post #28 of 32 Old 06-29-2009
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I am 57 years old, so I can't climb with quite the exuberance that I once did. I have Mast Mate steps, I wear a climbing diaper and use a force 3 Shockle to go around the mast as I climb. I am almost always solo, and I feel very secure. I only have to reset the shockle once, at the spreaders, and I make sure I have a firm grip on the stick before I unhook.

With this rig I feel confident in using two hands for work at the top. Yes, I know Shockle isn't approved climbing gear, but it could be, in my opinion.

(remember to aim for the water when you fall...)

Best Regards,


e

.::.
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post #29 of 32 Old 07-01-2009
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I've been up once, and the thought of it was scarier than the real thing. I studied Brian Toss' Riggers' Apprentice several times, then tied one jib halyard to my bosun's chair, leading the other end to the jib sheet winch.

A second jib halyard went one end to my bosun's chair and the other to a cleat on the mast.

I basically hauled myself up the mast-cleated halyard while a boat-neighbor cranked the jibsheet winch, (commenting that it didn't feel like he was doing anything). About every 5 feet, we took out the slack on the mast-cleated jib halyard and recleated it to the mast-that was my safety line, so if the winch halyard gave way, I wouldn't fall more than about 5'.

Once up, both halyards held me there, and I also passed another, shorter line through the D ring on the bosun's chair and around the mast for extra security, (not my idea). Rigging some "stirrups" from another piece of line passed over the top of the mast helped me take a look at the very top.

Coming down, we reversed the process-put slack in the mast cleated halyard, ease the jibsheet winched halyard, about every 5' or so.

I chose a very calm day, asked the deck crew to let me know before they moved around on the boat, and wore a bicycle helmet, (looked funny, felt safer).
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post #30 of 32 Old 07-01-2009
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Donof land - Don't mean to give you unsolicited advice, but... From my climbing background (someone with an engineering or other backgorund may comment as well) five feet of slack, if you were to have a failure of the main line, would put a hell-of-a force on a static (non-dynamic) halyard line, that has no type of shock absorbing device (ie webbing zipper) to reduce the shockload. That force will be transmitted to the chair, your body, and the halyard (and it's attachement points).

I would suggest that for a backup, you would be better to have another friend, or even the same guy, somehow tail off the second halyard on a cleat, so the slack could be kept to less than a foot.
Or, one of the best ways to do this, would be for you to just side up smaller diameter line up a cleated off spare halyard (using a prussik knot). The other end would be attached to your harness / bosun's chair.


Hope you don't mind the advice!
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