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  #21  
Old 11-25-2012
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Re: Mast climbing

I like the idea of mast steps. Attached is a design I drew up for the mast steps installed a couple of years ago. I have used them a lot and am very pleased with how they worked out. These are removable, which eliminates snagging and wind resistance. The steps and straps are easily constructed either at home or any local welding shop. I added some bolts to the design to hold the steps in the straps after losing one on the uplift of foot from one to the next. I also, of course, tie in around the mast. The material is 1-1/4" x 3/16" 316 SS, welded with s.s. rod. Attachments for bracket are 3/16" s.s. rivets and some 10-24 s.s. machine screws, threaded into mast.
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Mast climbing-maststep.jpg  
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  #22  
Old 11-25-2012
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Re: Mast climbing

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticGringo View Post
Very few climbing harnesses have gear loops that are rated for full weight! Be very careful that you are using one of those if you are doing it this way! Most harnesses the only loop rated for human weight is the belay loop.

Incase it wasn't clear, using a gear loop on your "typical" climbing harness will result in failure if you load it with human load (eventually of not immediately).
If you read BOTH posts, I am NOT using the gear loops, but a carabiener around the waist strap to run the line thru. This is pretty common among climbers, or at least it was when I was climbing 20-30 yrs ago.

As you said, gear loops would not work too well.

Marty
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  #23  
Old 11-25-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blt2ski View Post
I use something similar, but a true climbing harness I have from REI. I then run the tail end of the pulling rope around my back side thru carabeners, this will usually brake your self to a degree, if you let go. If not, then use 3 or 4 biiners, with the last on your front side. This is done in climbing also when belaying some someone. A lot like a wrap on a winch drum, but the drum being your waist.

I attach the top sheave to the snap shackle, the bottom to my harness also via a locking beiner vs a standard snap one, The bottom side I use 2 singles that are also used in climbing, as the sides will slide sideways to release them from the middle of the line. They do have a bit more drag than a typical double sailing pulley.

Marty

Quote:
Originally Posted by blt2ski View Post
If you read BOTH posts, I am NOT using the gear loops, but a carabiener around the waist strap to run the line thru. This is pretty common among climbers, or at least it was when I was climbing 20-30 yrs ago.

As you said, gear loops would not work too well.

Marty
I've never done it that way, but I've only been climbing for 15 years... maybe it's an older technique. From what I read, in both posts, It wasn't clear, and I felt it was worth mentioning. I'd hate for someone to get a misconception from a post and end up hitting the deck because a gear loop blew out.
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  #24  
Old 11-25-2012
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Re: Mast climbing

All of the ladder systems, mastmate, fixed ladder strapped to the mast, flip up steps, screwed on steps etc. all are very appealing in certain situations. A ladder of any kind is certainly more natural, at least for humans, than using ones arms.
In my case I'm looking for something as versatile as possible.

I do not own a boat but regularly do deliveries and crew and in general help out. I want to be able to ascend any mast of any boat I'm likely to be on without regard to configuration.
Masts with significant rakes, in mast furlers, hoops etc are not good candidates for portable ladder systems.
I also want to be able to get to the spreader ends and I want to be able to spend significant time aloft with tools. Getting aloft is only part of the goal, being able to work up their is the other part.
I don't like the vast quantity of line required for my 4 to 1 solution but so far it is the safest most versatile way I can find that might be within my physical capabilities.
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Old 11-25-2012
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Re: Mast climbing

I'm figuring 350' because that lets me climb a 70' mast. I figure if I ever get on a boat with a mast taller than 70' and I'm the most likely candidate to climb the mast I'll be so high I can just float up without any assistance.

Even if the the halyard is nasty I could sew on the tail end of my 350' line and pull it through the shive to temporally replace the halyard and I would still have enough line to climb an almost 60' mast.

As far as safety goes the practical matter is that often the main halyard is all that is available.
With the above system it is pretty easy to inspect the whole halyard before going up it. Once I put load on it I'm using it a static line. Even if the shive breaks I can still go up and down on my blocks and line. I may have trouble retrieving my gear but that is a separate issue.

As far as trusting oneself to a single line there are things I can do. Take down the jib and use the jib halyard as a safety with a person tailing it for me.

I probably would not do that as the chance of my dropping a tool on their head would be higher than the main halyard breaking.
Halyards are rated at thousands of pounds. Hopefully I can inspect a line well enough to make sure it can hold 10 percent of its capacity.
If not I'll make sure my wife has my sailnet password so she can let you know what went wrong

Obviously the reason I'm posting here is so that if I'm missing something someone will clue me in.
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  #26  
Old 11-25-2012
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Re: Mast climbing

I have ratchet blocks that I use on the furling lines and from my experience if you accidentally let go of the tail end you are going to drop like a rock. Unless the ratchet blocks you listed are completely different from the Harken ratchet blocks I have there is nothing positive that holds the line, so without tension against it it is free to slide through even though the sheave isn't turning. At a minimum I would want to have a safety line with something like a Gri Gri on it or some other form of self arrest device. A climbing harness (big wall) is a much safer way to go than a chair that you would fall out of if you got turned upside down for some reason.
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  #27  
Old 11-25-2012
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Re: Mast climbing

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
All of the ladder systems, mastmate, fixed ladder strapped to the mast, flip up steps, screwed on steps etc. all are very appealing in certain situations. A ladder of any kind is certainly more natural, at least for humans, than using ones arms.
In my case I'm looking for something as versatile as possible.

I do not own a boat but regularly do deliveries and crew and in general help out. I want to be able to ascend any mast of any boat I'm likely to be on without regard to configuration.
Masts with significant rakes, in mast furlers, hoops etc are not good candidates for portable ladder systems.
I also want to be able to get to the spreader ends and I want to be able to spend significant time aloft with tools. Getting aloft is only part of the goal, being able to work up their is the other part.
I don't like the vast quantity of line required for my 4 to 1 solution but so far it is the safest most versatile way I can find that might be within my physical capabilities.
As a transportable rig, your 4:1 idea sounds sufficient except for trusting the ratchet. maybe using this along with an ascender as a back-up "stopper" would give you acceptable safety. http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/mult...scenders/shunt Do you plan to raise the top block on a halyard? That alone would be risky without a second halyard or a mast attachment as a safety.

The bosuns chair is riskier than a climbing harness but you really need the big pockets to hold stuff. Whenever I just go up without the chair (stuffed with everything I may need) I invariably wind up going up and down unnecessarily. Perhaps a climbing harness and some sort of tool belt?
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Last edited by smurphny; 11-25-2012 at 02:43 PM.
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  #28  
Old 11-25-2012
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Re: Mast climbing

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Obviously the reason I'm posting here is so that if I'm missing something someone will clue me in.
david - I think the fundamental flaw in your plan is doing it alone. Being a long-time rock-climber myself - you need backup (a belayer). It's that simple. Anything else is asking for real fatigue and much higher risk.

Yes, there are many solutions to solo...just as many people solo rock-climb. But they're definitely inferior in every way from the safer solution of a belay.

With that one more person on the boat with you, your options become far cheaper, far simpler, and far safer.

Just get a friend that knows something about this to help you out. He/she can grind you up with a winch, you can have a prussic backup (and/or a second halyard), and you won't be exhausted when you get to the top.
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  #29  
Old 11-25-2012
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Re: Mast climbing

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
As a transportable rig, your 4:1 idea sounds sufficient except for trusting the ratchet. maybe using this along with an ascender as a back-up "stopper" would give you acceptable safety. SHUNT | Petzl Do you plan to raise the top block on a halyard? That alone would be risky without a second halyard or a mast attachment as a safety.
I can see how your accender would work on a single static line.
Not sure how I would use it with a 4 part fall.

I'm not trusting the ratchet, it is a convenience. I would tie off the free line when I got to where I was going. If both of the two ratchets failed, unlikely I hope, as long as I could handle the 50 lbs, which I think I can, I will be OK.
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Old 11-25-2012
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Re: Mast climbing

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd22 View Post
I have ratchet blocks that I use on the furling lines and from my experience if you accidentally let go of the tail end you are going to drop like a rock. Unless the ratchet blocks you listed are completely different from the Harken ratchet blocks I have there is nothing positive that holds the line, so without tension against it it is free to slide through even though the sheave isn't turning. At a minimum I would want to have a safety line with something like a Gri Gri on it or some other form of self arrest device. A climbing harness (big wall) is a much safer way to go than a chair that you would fall out of if you got turned upside down for some reason.
Yes the ratchet blocks I'm planning on are probably different from yours.
Harken makes two kinds. One kind, your ?, free wheels with no load and only kicks in with a load adjustable with a allen screw.

The kind I'm thinking of has a switch. When switched on the line has to slide over the knurled block as the block itself does not turn.

Please remember this is not my invention. I know of two professional riggers that use this system and know of others.

Still it is useful to post here and get any holes identified.

As for the harken chair, it is more of a diaper than a traditional bosens chair. Sort of a cross between a chair and harness.
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