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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Bosuns chair
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-08-2004 05:16 PM
BobIdyll3
Bosuns chair

It gets my head right at the top of the mast so I can just peek over, and my arms have no trouble doinbg whatever is needed.
07-06-2004 08:55 AM
gershel
Bosuns chair

Sorry,just one more note. When climbing my permanently installed static line, I tie a short safety line from my harness to one of the halyards with a rolling hitch. Then I just slide it up or down as I climb.
Marc
07-06-2004 08:41 AM
gershel
Bosuns chair

Just curious! With 2 blocks, a shackle, and possibly a knot, all bunched together at the top, How close can you get to the top of the mast? With my ATN, I can get just above the top.
Marc
07-05-2004 09:08 PM
BobIdyll3
Bosuns chair

I''m not a fan of the ATN type climbers, as they require a static line to climb, which limits how much you can move about. If you want to swing out to the spreader tips on both sides, you can''t with the ATN. I use a simple block and tackle arrangement (much like a mainsheet setup). I hoist the top block to the top of the mast on whatever halyard I like, then hoist myself with a 3-1 purchase. You can use 4-1, it just takes more rope.
07-05-2004 03:22 PM
joub
Bosuns chair

My ATN clone uses a braided climbing rope also purchased from the climbing supply.
I attach the top end to the halyard and the base to a ring fitting near the base of the mast. I can make the climbing rope as taut as I wish by using the halyard winch. If I''m going all the way to the top I make it taut. If going up part way to work on spreader tips etc, I leave a little slack to allow me to swing out as far as I wish to go. The taut climbing rope is easier to climb.

Jim
07-03-2004 05:55 AM
mmccoy
Bosuns chair

I was just in the local REI and I stopped in the climbing section and talked to the local mtn climbing expert. His whole frame of reference were mtn faces/cliffs (no clue about sailboats and how they''re rigged) but between us (I think) we figured out the same system as your ''ATN clone''.

However, one area neither of us were sure about is whether mast climbing systems for sailboats used ''ascenders'' that climbed wire or line (mtn climbing ascenders have small teeth that ''bite'' into rope and thus would not be proper for wire). We simply ''bypassed'' that unknown by using the wire halyard to hoist a length of climbing rope to the masthead (thereby giving the mtn climbing ascenders their proper ''medium'' to purchase).

Total cost for a top notch climbing harness, two hi-grade ascenders, webbing (for feet) and the carabiners, etc. needed was not over $250.

But a situation in another thread brings up a point: What if the halyard itself has parted and that''s what you need to work on/replace. I''m thinking for long term singlehanded voyaging it might be a good idea to have a ''climbing rope'' permanently installed that is independent of any halyards in the mast.

In ''designing'' the mtn climber rig both the mtn climbing guide and myself decided to secure (belay in his terms) both the halyard AND the rope ''tail'' (at the bottom of the mast). That way it would minimize any tendency to swing outboard with the roll and avoid the problem of the tail getting inadvertently jammed.

I''m not familiar with the ''Mast Mate''. Not sure I''d like a web ladder approach. I just have these images of trying to climb a narrow ''rope type'' ladder 30-40 feet (especially while underway). How do you secure yourself so you don''t fall? I hope you don''t have to stop, unhook/reattach a safety line every few feet.
07-02-2004 03:11 AM
39512
Bosuns chair

If you are primarily a single-hander, the Mast Mate system works very well. It is essentially a webbed ladder that you hoist up the mainsail track. As a rigger, I have used this system to do work aloft when I have not had someone to tend me.

Although I dislike them, a pair of folding steps near the masthead also allows for accessing things at the top of the spar.

Phil Weld tells an interesting story about going aloft alone. Using a halyard, he hoisted a long 4 to 1 tackle to the masthead and hauled himself aloft. He forgot to tend to the tail and it became jammed in the lower shroud tang. He had to climb out of the chair and do a free descent. His advice was to take a line bag up and make sure the tail stayed in the bag.
07-01-2004 06:30 PM
joub
Bosuns chair

I don''t have any hair raising tales to tell, but my experience with the bosuns chair and the ATN type climber, leave no doubt that the climber is the ONLY way to go aloft. (my english teacher would roll over in her grave if she read that looong sentence!)

The climber gives YOU complete control of your ascent and descent. It allows you to proceed at your own pace and physical ability.

As to working on the front of the mast when climbing from the aft side...I''ve never had a problem. At the top of the mast you can easily work on both sides and reach around to the front. I''ve always understood that it was bad practice to use any halyard other than one through a sheeve as the bail/swivel could fail and ruin your whole day.

My climber is a copy of the ATN. I used my old bosuns chair (with a lap belt to keep it strapped to my butt) and two ascenders purchased from a mountain climbing supply co. I fabricated the foot straps from some 2" webbing on my sewing machine and it works great!

The ability to go up and down the mast without being dependent on anyone is a BIG plus!

The climber wins hands down in my book!

Jim
07-01-2004 06:52 AM
mmccoy
Bosuns chair

Absolutely agree re: treating bosuns chair with respect. *especially* if singlehanded.

Hard to believe someone would consider using the drogue to hoist himself up (how did he then expect get down?). But it''s a good story to underscore thinking things thru. It also underscores the vital importance of ''finding, fixing, replacing'' in the context of singlehanded sailing.

I just read where a U.S. Navy civilian worker fell 70'' to his death on Old Ironsides. While he was probably not in a bosuns chair the same principles apply (i.e. specifically, gravity)

No way would I EVER use a bosuns chair by myself without having thought things thru ''in general'', practiced extensively in a safe environment (calm, at the dock and ideally with ''spotters'') and even then, I would only go aloft by myself if I''d had *re-thought* the present situation thru completely. And then only if there was absolutely NO other choice.

In that particular situation of the ''stuck genny halyard inside a harbor'' in a singlehanded situation I think I would just have to cut the genny completely loose (and hopefully be able to recover it). Absurdly expensive solution, yes but otherwise providing a 100% chance I''d live to tell about it.

Finally, I appreciate your own personal experience. It reinforces my decision to obtain a ''harness'' type bosuns chair (and not just a simple slat seat).
07-01-2004 05:52 AM
paulk
Bosuns chair

I have heard good things about the ATN mast-climbing system. You can probably get one online at SailNet.
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