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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 05-15-2012
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Opinions: What do YOU think is the best method of climbing your mast

Looking for opinions on what YOU feel is the best method for climbing a mast.

Bosun chair, top climber, climbing gear, web ladder, fixed steps, etc...

I'm in my low-40's now (getting old stinks) but was very active in rock climbing in my 20's and early 30's so I use what makes me comfortable and safe, my climbing gear and with aid of halyards and additional gear.

I don't like bosun chairs as I'm relying completely on one person and something about sitting in a chair as someone is hoisting me up just does not feel right.

I have seen homemade gear that is very strong, safe and reliable as anything you would buy but also seen some fairly scary gear that has "I'm going to fall" written all over it.
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Old 05-15-2012
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Re: Opinions: What do YOU think is the best method of climbing your mast

Personally, I love the fixed steps I installed. On an older boat, I have issues up high and a few toubles with my mast track. I don't have to plan or think ahead too much when working on the mast. I think, hey, I should go look at that, an in a few minutes I'm up there.

I do use a harness and safety line, but my wife can tail it, and I'm doing all the work, easy peasy.

If I need to go up alone, I use the harness and run a small loop of line around the mast. With the folding steps, I can slid it up before opening the steps, and once they are open, it can't get back down. That way it at least limits my fall a lot. I haven't gone all the way up like that yet, but I have to the spreaders several times.

I know others like other systems for valid reasons, but for ME, I like this system.
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Old 05-15-2012
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Re: Opinions: What do YOU think is the best method of climbing your mast

I own a top climber, but we eventually installed folding steps and love em.
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Old 05-15-2012
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Re: Opinions: What do YOU think is the best method of climbing your mast

I use a top climber. It allows me to work at the top of the mast easily. I'm over 200# and 58 years old, and can still use it ok if I go slow. It takes some skill and ability to closely follow instructions for it to work properly. Last year, I used it 3 times during a 3500 mile cruise. Really handy when you are alone.
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Old 05-15-2012
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I have only gone up with a borrowed mast-mate but I was happy with that.
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Old 05-16-2012
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Re: Opinions: What do YOU think is the best method of climbing your mast

I use a soft bosun's chair but I'm getting a climbing harness - you can't fall out of them and it makes it easier to work at the top. I had a hard seat chair but sold it.

I haul myself up with a 4 part tackle and an ascender. I am comfortable with this - less so when I am being winched up by someone else.
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Old 05-16-2012
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Re: Opinions: What do YOU think is the best method of climbing your mast

I use a bosuns chair, two ascenders and a descender. This allows secure climbing, reach the top of the mast, leaves both hands free for work and all your security is in your own hands.
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Old 05-16-2012
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Re: Opinions: What do YOU think is the best method of climbing your mast

I liked my fixed mast steps when I was climbing the mast. I hated them every time I snagged a halyard on them, which was often....

I don't use bosun's chairs or bowlines. I was a rock climber too and for me it's climbing harnesses and figure 8's.

I think ascenders are the way to go myself, with one for use with foot loops on webbing and one, on a separate halyard for safety. I will sometimes let people winch me up, but it depends on who they are. If I'm not sure, I'll use ascenders. My climbing background is probably why I don't like relying on non-climbers to do a job like hoist someone (me) up a rope.

I winched someone else up the mast on Saturday and I was thinking that a minute of inattention by me at the winch and she might be coming down hard. There was another guy on another winch with a "safety line" but if he caught her fall would be be prepared for the load? What about her? She was in a large bosun's chair and could fall out easily if she fell off my line and was caught by the safety line.

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Old 05-16-2012
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Re: Opinions: What do YOU think is the best method of climbing your mast

I use prussic hitches around the mast tied into my Arborist saddle. free to use both hands and nothing to get fouled or have a mechanical failure.
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Old 05-16-2012
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Re: Opinions: What do YOU think is the best method of climbing your mast

I use a climbing harness tied to the halyard. My climbing shoes are useless, though. They don't grip the mast at all. Tennis shoes do a somewhat better job.

I've never found an "easy" way. It always seems like it takes me forever to slowly pull myself up with someone cranking away down below to keep slack out of my line.
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