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  #1  
Old 11-16-2009
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Best way to send someone up the mast

I need to fix a light fixture halfway up my mast. Surprisingly, I can't find much info on what the best/safest technique is for doing this. I won't go up--my weight and strength are better used on deck---I'll get one of my skinny friends to do it.

Actually, I think I understand how to get someone up there: put them in the bosun's chair, hook it to a halyard, and start cranking. I think I can even run the halyard off the cabintop to on of my primaries for more torque.

My bigger concern: how to get them down. I mean, I understand that you can slowly let out a loaded sheet or halyard if you have enough wraps on the winch, but I'm a bit more concerned when I have a live person attached to it.

Alternatively, I think there's a way I could run the halyard to my anchor windlass. Would that be preferable to using a winch?
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The key to doing this safely is to know how to properly tend them using a winch. If you are really worried, you can practice with a bunch of weight in the chair sending it up and down.

You need the proper number of turns on the winch which is usually not the most possible. If you have too many turns, you will get an override and the person will be stuck. If you have too few, you will have to work hard to control them. Placing the palm of one hand on the turns will allow you to vary the friction. If you have the right number of turns, you can keep them in place just by applying pressure with your palm (don't let your fingers get pinched) and then easing pressure, they will slowly come down.

If you are really worried, some people setup a second halyard which is only there are a backup so it has a little slack but not much. This requires another person to tend.
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Old 11-16-2009
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another option is to belay them. The person on deck wears a harness and the rope/halyard that is used to lower the climber is fed thru a loop in the belt that gives you traction and control. It's how climbers get off the wall after they climb up. If you don't have a climbing harness you can tie a rope aussie seat and use that.

How to link

something like this;
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Wow! that REALLY looks uncomfortable! Years ago I used to go up to the top of 100' sports lighting poles on a coil of rope. I'd take an evenly wound coil of rope, lay it on the ground and tie a bridle across the coil from side to side. Then I'd sit it in and have them pick me up a little, and adjust all the loops to spread the pressure around on my back and buttocks. Quite comfortable if you do it right.

Now I have a bosun's chair and a pair of Petzl ascenders that work quite well. I can get up the mast by myself.

Gary H. Lucas
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Tie a prussic knot around the mast, have the ascendee hold their hand under the knot. As they rise the push it along with them, if they or the halyard slips, they'll lose their push on the prussic, which will lock and stop their fall. On the way down have them work the prussic along with them. Key is to have the knot high enough above them that in the event of a slip, they will instinctively let go of it, effectively hitting the brakes. Ken.
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Old 11-16-2009
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merc's got it right. I just went up using that technique. It gets a little weird when you get to obstructions on the mast - you have to loosen it - move it over the obstruction and re-tighten it - so you're exposed for a few seconds, but it works. I also had two pieces of rope so that I could tie a second prussic above the spreaders as I got there and not be exposed.

This assumes you have extra carabiners for the secondary and to hang tools off of, etc.

As for the belay, we had 3 wraps of the halyard around the winch. Also, wear a heavy shirt (or coat, etc.) and run the tail around your back as you're lowering (instead of using your free hand on the winch for a brake - I don't like this because if there's a quick slip and you get a rope burn you'll let go). The behind the back thing gives you more surface area to slow the rope if you don't use your own harness and belay device. The winch worked fine in our case.

I like Klems idea of getting some weight on the halyard to test everything out. Put your anchor on it. You'll be very careful not to drop that sucker through your deck. Much more so than with some skinny dude.

Just make sure to get pics and post them in the "View From The Top" thread!

(PS - Sara, funny, I always called those Swiss seats. But I'll give it to the Aussies.)
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I've worked a number of things for a 37'mast. But when I put in a radar at the spreaders, about half way up I simply used an extension ladder with the top tied to and stabilized by the spreaders. A hallyard was attached to the top of the ladder so it wouldn't fall. I had the base fized so it couldn't slide around and the spreaders kept it from flexing or rotating. I also used a ho0rizontal bar at teh top tied to the shrouds to help stabilize. I used a harness to and clipped on when working to a rope around the mast above the spreaders. For this job I had to make lotsa trips up and down and needed a real stable platform while working. You'd thinnk that Furuno would have a simple plug up there but no you have take of the dome off and unscerw and screw about 10 small screws which like jump under the aparatus. Anywat my two cents. It wouldn't work much above the spreader,
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Quote:

(PS - Sara, funny, I always called those Swiss seats. But I'll give it to the Aussies.)
I noticed that online when I went searching for pics... blame master sarg johnson... that's what he called it the first time he tied my ass up in one ; -)
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Man - just thinking about those rigging rats of yesteryear that would crawl around 90' up and unfurl huge freakin' sails makes you appreciate gear huh?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarafinadh View Post
I noticed that online when I went searching for pics... blame master sarg johnson... that's what he called it the first time he tied my ass up in one ; -)
Heh-heh. There are just so many things wrong with that sentence.
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