Appledore Crewman Dies After Fall from Mast - SailNet Community

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Old 01-26-2012
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Appledore Crewman Dies After Fall from Mast

Sad news, especially since this didn't have to happen


The first mate of the schooner Appledore who sustained serious injuries January 17, when he fell approximately 50’ onto the 86’ ship’s deck while working aloft has died, according to a family member.

According to Lt. Jeff Fry, senior investigating officer for U.S. Coast Guard Sector Key West, J.C. Smith, 25 was in a harness and working near the top of the schooner’s mast when the accident occurred at approximately 9:00 a.m. last Tuesday. At the time, the Appledore was tied up at the wharf, with Smith and 2 other crew members onboard.


Appledore Crewman Dies After Fall from Mast | BoatingLocal.com


Appledore crewman injured in fall from 65-foot mast dies - Holly S. Edwards - Rockland - Camden - Knox - VillageSoup Gazette
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Old 01-26-2012
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Sad indeed. And scary. The line coming loose at the bottom is my biggest fear in going up. But it sounds like he had no backup in place.
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Old 01-26-2012
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Wow, that is horrible. The girlfriend was the one on belay. I just can't imagine a worse scenario.

If you only go up on one haylard, bring your tether, and clip onto something.
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Old 01-26-2012
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My biggest fear aloft has always been whoever is belaying getting distracted when you are up there for a while. That's one of the reasons I like atn's top Climber. The climbing line is secured and no one touches it. I'm in controll going up and down. The only line that's handled is the safety line.
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Old 01-26-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimrafford View Post
My biggest fear aloft has always been whoever is belaying getting distracted when you are up there for a while.
Yeah, like the time I was up the mast and the belayer answered his cell phone and got in a heated argument with someone
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Old 01-26-2012
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As a long-time rock climber and mountaineer I'm often dismayed by the lack...

... of training and understanding of the principles involved. Really, a brief class in top-rope climbing and belaying would do most sailors a lot of good. Falls climbing masts are far more common than top-rope belay failures when the number of folks involved is considered.

There is no excuse for the belayer becoming distracted. Period.

One line is enough, if it is belayed properly. That's all climbers ever use. But proper belaying of a moving load, whether a climber with climbing equipment or a sailor with turns on a winch, takes practice and training. Perhaps the chossen cleat was not suitable for the task; most are sized for securing lines, not smoothly easing a line under load.

Still, I generally use a second line and place an accender on it (like a Top-climber) unless my belayer is a climber I know to be well trained.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascender_(climbing)

A tether isn't really very suitable for clipping in. Climbing slings and biners are.
Mammut Dyneema Contact Sling at REI.com
I always have a hand full of each clipped on my harness. Much more versitile and faster.

One of the best ways for a begining climber or a small person to belay a larger one is to use a GriGri or Cinch. A child or small adult, anchored to the deck with a sling, could catch anyone.
Video: How to Use GriGri & Automatic Belay Devices While Rock Climbing | eHow.com
Even though they are idiot proof on the catch, lowering requires practice.

But it isn't the gear--she could have simply wrapped the rope around the boom 3x--it's the training. He should have climbed a short distance and had her lower him a few times, to get the feel. The climber is responcilble for understanding his belay.

It just didn't need to happen.
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I was aloft once when the 300lb friend who was helping me walked from one side of the boat to the other. What a ride!
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If I were you, his ears would still be burning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SOUNDBOUNDER View Post
Yeah, like the time I was up the mast and the belayer answered his cell phone and got in a heated argument with someone
I would have thrown him off the boat right then. I don't need such a person.
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Old 01-26-2012
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Terrible thing - imagine what shape the girl is in, now and for the future.

When I go up the mast I have two halyards knotted AND shackled to me- one to the ring of the bosun's chair and one looped around me under my shoulders. I also take a length of line with me. When I am in position I loop that line around me and the mast - it keeps me from swinging and will provide some measure of braking should everything else fail.

Belt and TWO braces.
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Old 01-26-2012
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Very sad. Happens too often. I have mast steps but always at least wrap a tether around the mast as a safety. Ascenders and descenders (fig 8) can also be used on a halyard.
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