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  #1  
Old 05-16-2004
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ABI Mast Steps

Has anyone installed and used the ABI mast steps? ABI has a couple of different kinds, and I wonder which, if any, is best. I need to go up the mast to do a couple of repair jobs, and am seriously considering mast steps. I''m not sure I trust the Bosun''s Chair and really can''t afford the ATN Topclimber. If anyone has suggestions I''d be glad to hear them.
Thanks and fair winds.
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Old 09-18-2007
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I am going to buy the abi folding mast steps. Does anybody know if the 1/4" mounting holes are drilled for a countersunk head? the pictures look like it but the description says flat head. THe steps are aluminum... what would be the ideal fastener material? Stainless or aluminum? Thanks
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Old 09-18-2007
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For me, it seems a lot of holes in that precious mast.

I would risk the bosun's chair. Run two lines... one to help lift you, and the other to stand by if the first one fails.

I try to swimg two men on it at deck level, as a load test.
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Old 09-18-2007
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I've seen many boats with mast steps during my travels, and also seen the Topclimber in action. Between the two, I would go with steps. While the Topclimber works fairly well, it does take a lot of practice and effort to use it effectively.

If you just have a couple of repair jobs to do, you might want to just pay someone to do them, as opposed to the cost and effort needed to put in the mast steps, unless you foresee going up often.

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Old 09-18-2007
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I'm not a fan of maststeps, but IF you want some, get someone that you stick your foot into, not the folding types. There's two reasons for this. 1) You have to concentrate on the climbing, and 2) it's nice knowing that your foot won't slip.
Whether or not you're using maststeps, You still MUST tie something around yourself and the mast to secure yourself when working. If you fall that will ensure you only get a few bruises, but you won't hit the deck.
Maststeps are great when you need to get up in the mast in a hurry, but they add weigth and windage aloft.
A boasuns chair is a great and safe way to go up in the mast for inspection and/or rethreading a halyard and so on, at least IMO
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Old 09-18-2007
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If your not keen on a bosuns chair , consider a climbing harness. I much preferred it to any of the chairs I used . Besides the one that came with the first boat I needed a chair for, was an old rotten leather deal , after getting half way up I woosied out. No way was I going aloft on that garbage. but ,a buddy that climbs gave me his harness to get the job done. I'm a true convert now. The harness is light weight takes almost no room to store, it hooks up to the halyard just above your center of gravity and to me that feels more reasuring than the chair , besides you can get a nice one for about $60. at any mountaineering outlet probably cheaper now.Chairs usually have pockets to haul tools up there with you , but harnesses have carabinas to clip tools onto. Its my favorite way to go aloft , that may be another option you can consider before your mast becomes a stairway to heaven.
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Old 09-18-2007
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The mast steps add weight aloft, and tend to snag halyards and such. I'd second the use of a good climbing harness. Spinlock sells one that is actually made by Petzl, a climbing gear company.

One obvious advantage of steps is that you can go aloft without assistance, but you can do the same thing using a climbing harness and two ascenders, and a webbing strap.


If you do install mast steps, the fasteners should be stainless steel... aluminum is really too weak for this purpose, having less than a third the strength of stainless. However, any installation should use plenty of TefGel, LanoCote or Loctite to help prevent galvanic corrosion issues between the mast, the steps and the fasteners.
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Old 09-18-2007
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I had rounded fold up (ABI I guess) mast steps on my c320 for a couple years and Never had anything snag on them. I've got them ready to go for my NC but just haven't taken the time - A LOT - to install them. I still go up in the Bosuns Chair but with the steps it gives me hand and foot holds and my very weak wife simply has to take up the slack on the lines. Belt & Suspenders and more comfortable working conditions. Unless you are class racing and every pound and second is a big deal I think the weight aloft is trivial. And yes, the screw holes are countersunk for use with Flat head Machine Screws. I think 66luders is confusing Flat Head which end up perfectly flush when countersunk with Pan Head which are Not counter sinking screws and leave a bump.
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Old 09-18-2007
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I think that if you are going cruising in the Caribe, mast steps up to at least the spreaders are handy for when you want a good view of the coral ahead.
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Old 09-18-2007
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Stan you are correct, i did get mixed up . Thank you foor clarifying things for me.
Thank you to everyone for input and ideas. I have thought about this for a while and have decided that steps are what i want. I found a great buy on a used bosuns chair that came with two block pulleys and enough line to go up about 30 feet, about 10 short of the top. I was thinking about buying new rope so that i could use it to reach the top. I used both the jib and spinnaker halyards to pull up the block... but i still felt weary. I do not trust any of the sheeves on my mast. I also really like the idea of being able to get up the mast fast when alone.

So i bit the bullet and decided on mast steps. I feel like stainless would be much stronger than aluminum fasteners but some people have suggested using aluminum rivets so i felt unsure what to do. I read online that monel was a goood choice.

Last edited by 66luders; 09-18-2007 at 02:20 PM.
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