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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Mast work
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Thread: Mast work Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-23-2013 01:57 PM
robwilk37
Re: Mast work

i figure ive gone up about 5 miles worth of mast. ascenders of all kinds have there place and some guys love them, particularly the fact that they allow you to stand over the top of your mast, a position that always gives me the willies and id rather drop the stick and do that kind of work on the ground anyway.

all said... a good bosuns chair that can be snugged up, has a firm lumbar support, pockets and lanyards for tools, and a rounded seat edge so it doesnt cut off circulation as it digs into your hamstrings cant be beat. this is NOT the bit of boat kit to spend the least amount on just because you only use it once a decade. you should be using it every 6 months minimum for rig inspections, and youll use it more often if its comfortable and you feel secure. odds are youll not find one that fits you perfectly off the shelf. every serious sailor i know has made subtle mods to their chairs... extra padding here and there etc. mine has an exaggerated lumbar pad that i got from target and stitched in.
next, spring for 4 1/2 times your mast height worth of 3/4 derby rope or similar soft "handy" line. big box stores or remnants from craigslist. you want it fat so its easier to grip and this eliminates worries about breaking strength. clist or marine swapmeets are great places to pick up 2 double blocks for rigging a 4-1 tackle and you are good to go. ive put together BTs for mast ascent rigs several times off CL for around $100. theres no need to buy new hardware and line from waste marine.
set your rig up at home from a tree branch and see how it works. read the paper have a beer see how long you can sit there until your bits start falling asleep. make mods as needed. pick a branch that gets you at least 10' off the ground and practice up and down. quit your gym membership. i used to climb masts for a living and generally would only go 10' at a time and take a rest anyway to inspect the spreader mounts or tangs or decklight or radar mount or whatever. you dont need to shoot right to the masthead nonstop. the point being one day youll be out and the breeze will freshen and your masthead sheave will jam or youll sky a halyard or NEED to get to the masthead for some other reason and thats not the time to be unfamiliar with your gear. i go up my mast every week...46'...just for fun most of the time. its a good workout and a killer view if the bay, and eventually earns you the lats of an olympic swimmer. and honestly if your not willing to work on your mast climbing proficiency then get a power boat you dilettante. ( i digress )

and all this just to make the point that a good chair lets you wrap your legs around the mast as you climb. this is perhaps the greatest feeling of security when climbing. in an open anchorage its critical. even an idiot jetski wake can set the mast aswayin and the cordless drill you drop through your deck hatch plexi because you made a panicked grab to hang on will just mean another trip up and down. the chair lets you death-grip the mast with your thighs while you work through the swing... no worries.

and the whole kit fits in a milk crate in the laz, ready to go...

my .02
06-22-2013 03:51 PM
knuterikt
Re: Mast work

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
I'd also watch the load rating on those cam cleats, a standard Harken 150 is only rated to 300lbs. The one in that photo looks like it might be a Ronstan, I can't tell if it is the medium size (275lb rating) or large (510lb).
Since you are so concerned..
I checked today, the cleat I used is a Ronstan MF5410 with MWL 250kg (275lb) BL 500kg (551 lb)
A safety factor of 5 for a non critical application.




06-21-2013 06:14 PM
Alex W
Re: Mast work

10 years ago was the Top Climber, which used different gear. Same concept, different implementation.
06-21-2013 03:27 PM
MastUndSchotbruch
Re: Mast work

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
The Ascenders on the ATN Mast Climber don't seem fundamentally lower quality than the Petzl ones. I'm interesting to know what aspect you find to be cheesy.
Sorry, don't remember what specifically it was. I just remember that it was not what I was used to from rock climbing equipment. This was 10 years ago and I only looked at it at some boat show or something. And given that this was actually MORE expensive than (what I considered) proper gear, it was a no-brainer to go to REI instead...
06-21-2013 02:09 PM
knuterikt
Re: Mast work

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
Knut's system using a cam cleat is interesting and I saw it before purchasing my Mast Climber. It doesn't allow for solo use though. I don't like going up solo, but I've done it a couple of times when I needed to get something done and couldn't get someone to spot me. I'd also watch the load rating on those cam cleats, a standard Harken 150 is only rated to 300lbs. The one in that photo looks like it might be a Ronstan, I can't tell if it is the medium size (275lb rating) or large (510lb).
I didn't make this system to climb solo, but in combination with other climbing equipment in can be done.

I'm not so concerned about the load on this cleat, it's only an aid to make climbing easier for the winch person (not a safety device).

I'm always using two halyards while climbing the mast.

I don't remember the make/model of the cleat, I reused some spare parts in my rigging bag and the plywood is also reused.
06-21-2013 01:58 PM
knuterikt
Re: Mast work

Quote:
Originally Posted by MastUndSchotbruch View Post
Assuming it is made from good quality materials and properly sewn etc (which we can't see on the pricture), $75.- is an excellent price for this.
The one in the first picture is the same as I and my professional rigger is using.
It's a good quality product
06-21-2013 01:36 PM
Alex W
Re: Mast work

The Ascenders on the ATN Mast Climber don't seem fundamentally lower quality than the Petzl ones. I'm interesting to know what aspect you find to be cheesy.

I looked at building my own, but it wasn't a lot less money and it was a lot more work.

My sailing buddies and I have also used climbing harnesses (one of them has climbing experience) and found them unsafe due to the pressure that they put on leg nerves. They are meant for active use, not dangling in them on the mast for 30 minutes while you replace hardware. The (simple and small) bosun's chair with the ATN Mast Climber is a lot more comfortable and still safe. The only aspect that my climbing friend doesn't like is that the leg loops don't have the right sort of buckle to allow backing it up.

Knut's system using a cam cleat is interesting and I saw it before purchasing my Mast Climber. It doesn't allow for solo use though. I don't like going up solo, but I've done it a couple of times when I needed to get something done and couldn't get someone to spot me. I'd also watch the load rating on those cam cleats, a standard Harken 150 is only rated to 300lbs. The one in that photo looks like it might be a Ronstan, I can't tell if it is the medium size (275lb rating) or large (510lb).

Dropping the mast is an option with smaller/lighter rigs, but not on bigger boats.
06-21-2013 12:35 PM
MastUndSchotbruch
Re: Mast work

Quote:
Originally Posted by knuterikt View Post

Found it at 58 EUR (= 75 USD) but far more comfortable than a climbing harness for prolonged stay at the mast (I have tried both

If you are doing more than just changing a light bulb things tend to take some time.. A rig inspection for instance.
Assuming it is made from good quality materials and properly sewn etc (which we can't see on the pricture), $75.- is an excellent price for this.
06-21-2013 11:11 AM
knuterikt
Re: Mast work

Quote:
Originally Posted by MastUndSchotbruch View Post
Guilty as charged, I overgeneralized. What is sold for the general marine market (meaning West Marine, Defender etc) is not representative for what the pros are probably using.

Then again, how much does this thing cost? A good rock climbers harness is in the $50.- range.

Found it at 58 EUR (= 75 USD) but far more comfortable than a climbing harness for prolonged stay at the mast (I have tried both

If you are doing more than just changing a light bulb things tend to take some time.. A rig inspection for instance.
06-21-2013 10:50 AM
MastUndSchotbruch
Re: Mast work

Quote:
Originally Posted by knuterikt View Post
I'm wondering why you put all bosun chairs into the same category?

This one with proper shoulder, chest and thigh straps is a safe and comfortable.


Is a safer design than this one?


or this one?
Guilty as charged, I overgeneralized. What is sold for the general marine market (meaning West Marine, Defender etc) is not representative for what the pros are probably using.

Then again, how much does this thing cost? A good rock climbers harness is in the $50.- range.
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