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batshaven 12-06-2010 12:18 AM

Mast (Climbing)- No Halyards
Hi all,
Glad to have found this group and am new here. Actually new to the whole
sailing thing.
Purchased our 72 26 MKII in April and had a great summer on it, motored
everywhere since we can not raise the sails because both halyards are done. I
believe the jib block is there but nothing for the main sail. Any ideas on how
to climb the mast?
Wondering if those metal shelf brackets that you can get at home depot would
work if you could somehow use self tapping screws to make a ladder to the top of
the mast? Would it be strong enough? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Also spent the day clearing out all belongings, getting ready for a refit and
look forward to using some of the ideas I have seen in this group.


fordo 12-06-2010 03:30 AM

I wouldn't use anything that wasn't specifically designed for climbing the mast. The chances of being seriously hurt or killed are too great. I would pull the stick so you can inspect and repair it at your leasure.

SVPrairieRose 12-06-2010 04:10 AM

I'm sorry, shelf brackets as mast steps? just screw 'em in as you go? No, please don't. find a marina with a dockside scaffold. Or pull the mast.

CLucas 12-06-2010 05:43 AM

Not unless you're looking to earn a Darwin Award... Baaaaad idea and likely to result in a bad ending.

batshaven 12-06-2010 08:32 PM

Thanks, that is kinda what I thought too, but if someone has done it and it worked who knows :)

i do have a topping lift that has a block on the side of the mast, now another dumb question but would that be able to hold the weight of a 200 lb man or will the block just pull out of the mast? I think i know the answer but just curious. lol

thanks again appreciate the input


fordo 12-07-2010 02:25 PM

A good block should hold, but, you have never seen it up close, tested it, or inspected it. You don't know how old it is. It may be a pulley from a hardware store designed for clothesline. Don't trust it! Pull the mast or use a scaffold.

msmith10 12-07-2010 05:14 PM

Even if that topping lift is strong enough (and that's an if,you shouldn't go up the mast without a safety line-- in other words, you need 2 lines you can trust- 1 to haul you up and the other to keep you there if the first line fails. Agree with previous post- pull the mast or use a cherry picker.

MC1 12-07-2010 05:28 PM

Hey Mike, welcome! Glad you're here and we'd like to see ya around a lot longer! I'm a little concerned about your predicament here. Reading between the lines, sounds like you'd like to avoid the cost of having the mast lowered by a yard and you're looking for a safe do-it-yourself alternative. OK, so the prior posts have made it clear you could be risking your life if you don't handle this situation properly - true enough so ya gotta pay attention to that. Plus, ya really don't wanna wreck your mast by drilling unnecessary holes in it.

Whatever else though . . . don't attempt to climb the mast without proper gear and a backup - find another solution. I second Fordo's caution: do not trust the attachment point a topping lift block is connected to or the block itself with your life. You don't know how strong it really is and there is a single point of failure risk - one thing breaks . . . maybe you're gone or seriously injured for life - this stuff really happens!

Maybe you haven't received more/better alternative suggestions from the experts here on Sailnet because there aren't too many other good choices for this case (some, possibly involving help from neighbors with taller masts entail property damage risk to your boat and the neighbor's boat, so other sailors might be reluctant to try it). Like brakes on a car - ya just don't skimp on certain key items if you'd like to stick around on this planet a little longer. Maybe suck it up on this one and find a way to pay to have this particular job done safely by a boat yard with proper equipment.

cntrycuz 12-07-2010 05:53 PM

Hey just a little idea, find a bridge that is the right height use it as a scaffold.

Faster 12-07-2010 06:22 PM


Originally Posted by cntrycuz (Post 674481)
Hey just a little idea, find a bridge that is the right height use it as a scaffold.

Where are you located.. flag says Canada, but where? If you're on tidal water then finding a pier or a ferry landing or a bridge/platform as suggested might work at low tide. Most yacht clubs and many marinas have mast towers that could be useful too.

Another option might be to get hauled up on another boat tied alongside and pull yourself across. We've retrieved halyards for others this way. At least you could check the situation out - if only to determine the mast has to come down for proper repairs.

A 30 foot fall is nothing to take lightly - it could easily be fatal.

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