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post #1 of 12 Old 12-16-2002 Thread Starter
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Climbing the mast

I''m wondering if anyone has any experience using a rope ladder to climb their mast? I saw one advertised on a private web page (by the builder) - but can''t find anything like it in the BoatUS or West Marine catalogues.

I would think that having a secondary harness attached to another line would be prudent too...
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-16-2002
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Climbing the mast

Kmeeks,
Nothing wrong with a rope ladder, but what would you do with it? I can only see using for inspections only. You need at least one leg and one arm committed to your position on the ladder. Couple this with needing one arm to work your safety line, I don''t see getting much accomplished.

A bosuns chair, on the other hand, needs only your butt!!! Leaves a couple of arms and legs to stabilize your position and get some work done.

Even folding mast steps have the additional benefit of not needing to be stabilized laterally; but, still take away too many appendages for effectiveness.

I think I would rather invest in getting a shipmate vitally concerned with my survivial and teaching the safe operation of the halyard winches!!!

My $.02

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post #3 of 12 Old 12-16-2002
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Climbing the mast

I once borrowed one from someone where it went up the with the mainsail halyard and was attached to the mast in the mainsail slot with slugs, so you raised it like a mainsail.

It was adequate, the foot "holes" were loose slings of webbing. Not the best to climb up, because it could slightly "pinch" your feet in the loops of webbing, but it worked.

I agree totally about utilizing a second harness/halyard. Very prudent !
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-17-2002
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Climbing the mast

The Top Climber works good, using a taught line and sliding clamps used by rock climbers. However, I find it difficult to get entirely to the mast head to work on the anchor light due to the position of the top clamp. I use the jib halyard as a safety line.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-17-2002
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Climbing the mast

I have a set of Mast-Mate mast steps and I love them. I put on my climbing harness, hoist the steps and up I go. When I get to where I am going, I clip off with the harness for safety and to free up my hands. With the steps, I am comfortable climbing the mast by myself. It''s fast and easy. Plus, I don''t have to rely on someone else hauling me with a winch. I highly recommend them.
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-17-2002
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Climbing the mast

Although I''ve yet to go aloft with the "Top Climber", I''ve watched (studied) the provided VHS tape which shows the user reaching the top of the mast with his head above it. From that position, he''s able to reach everything attached to the mast head.

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-17-2002
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Climbing the mast

The top climber works great for going up the mast solo. Also a really good workout! (Haven''t had a problem reaching the top as experienced by RichardElliot)
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-18-2002
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Climbing the mast

Have used Top Climber several times this past season to reach the top of the mast. I use the spinaker halyard as a safety and attach the Top Climber static line to the main halyard. I can get my shoulders above the masthead but find that the backstay, topping lift, head stay, and shrouds (that all convene near the top of the mast) make it difficult to ascend all the way to the top. Takes a little maneuvering but no doubt adds to the workout.

Mike
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-28-2002
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Climbing the mast

I''ve used the Top Climber for a few seasons and have found it very useful. Having the ability to go aloft when out solo is a great added benefit. I did quickly change out the ascenders that came with the system for a good set of Petzel''s which have a much better grip and, in my opinion, are much easier to to use.

I have no problem standing at the masthead with my shoulders above the mast.

Mike Knorr
s/v ''VarGutt''
PS 34''
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-07-2003
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Climbing the mast

I have a cheapo solution that works very well.

Go to a camping store and get a rock climbing harness (about $35). Get 3 caribiners (those rings, about $8 each) and three lengths of webbing (also pretty cheap). Get two lengths of climbing rope equal to the height of your mast. Also get 3 Petzl Tibloc Ascenders (about $20 each).

One length of webbing should have enough length so you can tie to loops for your feet (one on each end). When you have done this the overall length should be such that, when standing with a foot in each loop, the center comes up to your crotch. Tie one of the caribiners into the center at crotch level.

The two other lenghths of webbing should be a little shorter than your arms length. secure one side of each to the harness and the other to a caribiner.

When you want to climb the mast, tie a bowline in each length of line and run each to the masthead using the main and spinnaker halyards. Standing at the base of the mast, put your feet in the foothold webbing you created and attach the caribiner on that webbing to one halyard using one of the ascenders (get the guy in the climbing shop to show you this, it''s really simple but hard to describe in words). Then, above that point attach one of the harness webbing caribiners to the same line using another ascender. Attach the second harness webbing caribiner to the other line using the third ascender.

When you want to climb, simply slide the harness caribiners up both lines as far as they will go (one is a safety). Then just "sit down" - slide the caribiner/ascender assembly up the line and just "stand up". Then slide the harness caribiners/ascenders up and repeat. To come down do the opposite. Once you get the hang of this you can move up and down the mast pretty quickly.

You can probably make this arrangement up for about $150 to $175. The gear is all made for climbing - so it is very secure. Additionally, you will be much more confortable in a climbing harness than any bosuns chair. you will also be much more secure than hanging off a ladder.

Good Luck

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