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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Mast climbing
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-28-2012 07:28 PM
JonEisberg
Re: Mast climbing

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"it would have dropped the guy aloft towards the deck, right? "
Gravity sucks. But that's why safety lines why invented.

If you attached to a safety line with a prussik, or an ascender, it should allow you to go up without incident, and lock up under tension if you start down rapidly. So cutting a line? Well, from the writeup it sounds like the folks who could have cut it, might not be the right people to give sharp objects either.
I’m familiar with the use of safety lines and fall arresting gear, thanks… Just a hunch, that a team who used an electric winch in such a fashion, might have dispensed with other such precautions, as well… And, I purposely said "towards" the deck, instead of "to" the deck...

I simply thought it was worth pointing out the potential hazard of using powered winches for lifting purposes… Electric winches have a well-demonstrated capacity for breaking both gear, and people, when used unwisely… Anyone is free to disregard such advice, of course…

But if I were going aloft on a powered winch, I’d sure rather do it in the hands of one person operating the winch, and a second one doing the tailing – as opposed to one person using the winch in self-tailing mode, with one hand on the button, and the other hand holding a knife at the ready… Perhaps that’s just me, however… (grin)

And, as to the utility of a knife in such an incident as that at Jolly Harbour? An Amel 54 likely uses a 1/2 or 9/16 inch main halyard, and it almost certainly would be a high-modulus rope with a core of Spectra, or similar… Even with a freshly-honed Boye cobalt blade, good luck cutting through that sucker in the few seconds before it would have been fed onto the winch drum…
11-28-2012 01:08 PM
hellosailor
Re: Mast climbing

And here I thought a "freak accident" meant the clown car plowed head-on into the carnival midway.
11-28-2012 09:28 AM
scratchee
Re: Mast climbing

Quote:
Freak accident leaves woman with severed hand...
I really think the term "Freak Accident" is grossly overused by headline writers. When you work with dangerous equipment and you fall prey to one of the hazards of using that equipment, that's hardly a freak accident.
11-27-2012 09:30 PM
hellosailor
Re: Mast climbing

"it would have dropped the guy aloft towards the deck, right? "
Gravity sucks. But that's why safety lines why invented.

If you attached to a safety line with a prussik, or an ascender, it should allow you to go up without incident, and lock up under tension if you start down rapidly. So cutting a line? Well, from the writeup it sounds like the folks who could have cut it, might not be the right people to give sharp objects either.

Reminds me of the first time I used a can recycling machine. You put the can in a hydraulic press, push a button, the machine crushes the can and gives you credit for a nickel. So this machine decides there's something unacceptable about one can and it tells me "Remove can and try again" and as I lifted my hand, I said to myself, self, are you really going to put your hand into a hydraulic press that's operating all by itself and behaving in a demented manner?

Nope. This chimp was taught to use a stick in places like that. Don't really want to know why that macine is upset, certainly not going to put my fingers in to find out.
11-27-2012 09:13 PM
Brent Swain
Re: Mast climbing

I love my mast steps, similar to the ones described in Moitessier's book "The Long Way" shaped so there is no chance of them ever fouling a halyard.
11-27-2012 08:38 PM
JonEisberg
Re: Mast climbing

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
As to being gristly, that's one of the dangers of sailing, and one of the dangers of ski tows and lifts as well. The medics call it "traumatic amputation" when a loop of line, or your scarf, gets wrapped around a wrist, a finger, a foot, a neck (yes, neck) and POP! the two sides get separated.

Which is one reason why sailors have traditionally carried sharp knives, because if you're lucky, you've got a couple of short seconds to cut the line, before the amputation happens.
I don't know, just seems so much simpler to try to do it the right way, to begin with...

You do realize that if anyone aboard that Amel had the presence of mind to cut that line, it would have dropped the guy aloft towards the deck, right?
11-27-2012 08:26 PM
hellosailor
Re: Mast climbing

"My GF 'dropped' me about 8" "
Well, as long as the two of you agreed on what eight inches is. :-)

Onceuponatime I was rock climbing and came to a point where the next move up was to put my hands on a shallow ledge and lift my body up. Except, there was this yellowjacket hive on the ledge. So I called down "Failling, four feet!" and my belay said "WHAT?" because that's not exactly a conveniental call. So I said "FALLING. FOUR FEET." and pushed back. I figured, he'd figure it out as the rope went zip, and if he didn't figure it out, well, that still beat all hell out of the yellowjacket nest.

Good belay, it was just about four feet. (G)

Eight inches? Say, don't tell me you got one a them cheap bosun's chairs without any cup holders in it?!
11-27-2012 08:08 PM
xymotic
Re: Mast climbing

My GF 'dropped' me about 8" using the windlass once. Not an experience either of us ever wanted to repeat.
11-27-2012 07:59 PM
hellosailor
Re: Mast climbing

"I suppose it's about time someone noted the potential risk of "
No no, that's totally OT, belongs in the Liability Forum not here in sailing.

As to being gristly, that's one of the dangers of sailing, and one of the dangers of ski tows and lifts as well. The medics call it "traumatic amputation" when a loop of line, or your scarf, gets wrapped around a wrist, a finger, a foot, a neck (yes, neck) and POP! the two sides get separated.

Which is one reason why sailors have traditionally carried sharp knives, because if you're lucky, you've got a couple of short seconds to cut the line, before the amputation happens.

Solo trips aloft? Yeah, well, if you want to go aloft safely, you pay a rigger to do it instead. If some ape has your car keys and has gone up the mast, you go up after 'em solo. Unless you've got a wooden mast, in which case you can just build a fire and burn 'em out.

Oh wait, wrong forum. :-)
11-27-2012 07:37 PM
JonEisberg
Re: Mast climbing

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
I swear there's no rednecks in the family tree but I can't help thinking, one a them 4wd winches with a remote control unit would make for a fine way to scoot up and down the mast. With a conventional safety line rigged for "just in case". I know, it's lubberly, it's ELECTRIC, it's all sorts of wrong...but the damned things can haul a jeep around and I know I'm not a whole lot heavier than a jeep!
I suppose it's about time someone noted the potential risk of using a powered winch to hoist someone up the rig... It certainly has the potential for being a VERY dangerous practice...

Under no circumstances should it be done by a single operator using a self-tailer, you absolutely need a second person to do the tailing... And, preferably a third, standing by the boat's electrical panel to trip the winch's circuit breaker, if need be...

IMHO, one of the most dangerous trends in cruising today, is that towards ever-larger boats requiring the use of powered winches, coupled with their being used by people with little previous experience handling winches, avoiding/clearing an override, or any real appreciation of the potential forces involved...

Add to that the fact that the type of foot/button deck switches of the type used to operate a windlass or an electric winch are probably one of the most failure-prone electrical devices aboard any boat, living in the harsh environment they do, continuously exposed to the elements - well, you have all the makings of a potentially serious mishap... IMHO, no boat that has powered cockpit winches should be without some sort of "Panic Button" to cut off power to them within easy reach, but in fact I have ever yet to see such an arrangement on any boat I've been aboard...

If you have any doubts, have a look at this grisly, cautionary tale...

Warning: This one is not for the squeamish, I can't imagine how horrific this incident must have been:

Quote:


Freak accident leaves woman with severed hand

By Tameika Malone - Monday, March 7th, 2011.

Two people from the yachting fraternity were injured in a freak accident on Saturday that left one man with several fingers missing and a woman with her left hand severed from her wrist.

Information surrounding the incident remained sketchy at the time of going to press. However, The Daily OBSERVER understands that some time after 5 pm, the Venezuelan woman was using a motorised lift to hoist her husband onto the mast (the metal frame that holds the sail) to make some repairs.

Reports are that the woman soon realised that something was mechanically wrong with the lift and fearing for the safety of her husband, who was already several feet in the air, she attempted to stop the equipment.

However, her left arm became trapped as the machine continued moving upwards.

Hearing her screams, a yachtsman from a neighbouring boat went to her assistance while the husband watched on helplessly.

The would-be rescuer soon realised that he could not help the woman and called for further assistance. Another yachtsman from Switzerland answered the call and in his attempts to free her, he too became trapped and eight of his fingers were severed.

The woman then tried to free her left hand, using her right hand and that hand too became trapped. Her left hand was completely severed at the wrist while her right hand was crushed, which resulted in several broken bones.

The two were rushed to Mount St John’s Medical Centre, where doctors attempted to reattach the severed hand and fingers.

It is reported that the vessel was docked at the Jolly Harbour Pier at the time of the incident.

Freak accident leaves woman with severed hand | Antigua Observer Newspaper
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