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1975 Newport 28
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What would be the possible downside of using a lightweight ladder that could be strapped to the mast, rather than being hauled up by a halyard? (For use at dock, of course, and not under way.)

I'm visualizing an aluminum ladder, stepped on something that would distribute the weight across its entire foot-width rather than just on two legs, that could be secured to the mast by straps of some kind like those a telephone pole climber might use.

The climber could use a harness attached to a halyard as a safety backup, but wouldn't have to be hauled up the mast by brute force. He would also have a support strap around his middle that would go around the mast and ladder.

Are cabin tops too fragile to hold this kind of weight? If you figure the foot-step of the ladder might be 4" X 18" and the weight of the climber + ladder to be 350 lbs. max, the lbs/sq. ft would only be about 5 lbs/sq. in.

Surely just walking on top of the cabin top puts more stress than that on the roof? Is there a reason this solution has never been applied?
 

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jas it would work but the one thing you need to think of is mast height. my mast is 36 feet, and a 36 foot ladder is not cheap. i happen to own a 40 foot AL ladder already if you need one.

btw did you ever do anything with the thru hull?
 

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MastMate-Flexible webbing ladder for just this purpose. IMHO, you're better off using a bosun's chair. A ladder requires you to hang on to it... makes getting much work done while up the mast a bit tough.
What would be the possible downside of using a lightweight ladder that could be strapped to the mast, rather than being hauled up by a halyard? (For use at dock, of course, and not under way.)

I'm visualizing an aluminum ladder, stepped on something that would distribute the weight across its entire foot-width rather than just on two legs, that could be secured to the mast by straps of some kind like those a telephone pole climber might use.

The climber could use a harness attached to a halyard as a safety backup, but wouldn't have to be hauled up the mast by brute force. He would also have a support strap around his middle that would go around the mast and ladder.

Are cabin tops too fragile to hold this kind of weight? If you figure the foot-step of the ladder might be 4" X 18" and the weight of the climber + ladder to be 350 lbs. max, the lbs/sq. ft would only be about 5 lbs/sq. in.

Surely just walking on top of the cabin top puts more stress than that on the roof? Is there a reason this solution has never been applied?
 

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how do you secure the top of the ladder before going up?

An aluminum ladder is going to be a handful on anything over about 15'. You ever wresle with a 20' ladder? Let alone a 30' or 40'!!!!!!!
 

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xort i can see doing it, the ladder i have weighs about 50 lbs, so its not bad. as for attaching it, i would put on a ratchet strap every 5 feet when going up. you would need a strap around you and the mast to be able to let go
 

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Hello, been up many a ladder (used to be a window washer) I can tell you this- first good point about how are you going to tie off the ladder without going up. Ladders move, boats move bad sitution, can give many a story. If you have a good halyard and a chair it's the way to go. Don't expect the guy or gal to haul you up you must help buy climbing, unless you have a big winch. Second point- you have to hold on with a ladder can be done but much better if you can strap your self, I wear my harness and bring a line and make myself fast while working. I have split backstays and have done it free don't recommend it unless you are comfortable with hieghts and have the power to do it. Get the right stuff because you might need it on the water where it counts. Don't even try to free climb unless you have a good wax on your gelcoat because blood leaves a terriable mess.:D
 

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just gotta ask where do you store the ladder on your boat? Say your halyard snags and you cant get your main down what do you do. Man, I have been there and coming into the marina sucks with no motor and full main up is bad bad bad. I tacked and tacked and tried too slow down and still came in hot to the slip. I was not about to go up the mast free it those winds and I was out of beer, made it without damage however, I was a wishen I had a way up without help (singlehanded as always) This was on my old ericson26 and she moved on a puff, good most times but bad in this sitution. I am considering mast steps on my new baby but, just hate to drill all the holes. I think I would have liked a good taught line up the mast and some climbing gear while I had her hoveto to take care of problem. What do you guys think about mast steps? Is it worth it or should I rig a line and use climbing gear an a assender? I seem to singlehanded most times so I know when the sh** hits the fan I will be on my own, what do you salts do. (please. the ones who have done it) Don't care about hyjacking thread,:laugher Blu
 

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I know most of you east coaters are crashed by now. But it's friday nite here on the west coast and I guess you should be up if I am:) Made some killer chile and have a bunch of cold beer so I guess I will be up for awhile:D Termanator and doll house is over so I am bored. This weekend does not look good for sailing, damm it mann been nice all week but serious weather moving in tonight so smart captain stays in the slip. It's my Bday sunday and I plan to clean out out my raw water cooler, what fun:( It is the first day of spring and the summer winds are a commin and my baby is ready so I guess I won't be working much soon:D
 

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It is difficult to work on the mast with a ladder. You have to keep one hand for yourself and the other for the job. If you use a bosuns chair and a ladder, you will complicate things further.

It is best to use ascenders that mouuntain climbers use. You can easiliy climb the mast (rather the line) with two ascenders without help from anybody. It is more easier than climbing a ladder.

Use one of the ascenders attached to busuns chair and the other to your feet.
 

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umm, sounds good. How do you get the line to assend too without going up the stick first to rig it. Do you use a halyard? I have heard of shoes with rockets on them that would make the whole thing easy:laugher
 

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If you are alone, mast steps. I can't use a track-mounted ladder system, I have batcars.

If you are going to climb, no matter how, use a safety harnass with a short line and a good quality snap shackle and secure yourself to the rig at the spot where you want to work, setting both hands free. In fact, I do that even when I'm in a bosun's chair.

When I have my partner along, a halyard goes two wraps around a halyard winch then on to the front of the boat and a further three wraps around the rope gypsy on the anchor winch and all she has to do is tail the halyard and tread on the deck switch and up I go, no effort for either of us.
 

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Thanks for the input Omatako. Sounds like you know what your talking about. Mast steps it is for me. Now which ones, I seem to like the alumium ones that hold your feet in and you could snap into while going up. Like these
 

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I have a 12' extension ladder. It's not the weight, it's the long length of it that makes it difficult to handle. Add in the rolling of the boat and it will get unwieldy quick. Please tell your dock neighbors before you do this so they can move their boats out of their slips before you dump your ladder over the side.
I still have not heard a good explaination on how you secure the top of the ladder before going up. Tieing it to a halyard and using the halyard does not sound like a good idea at all. But hey, if you like bouncing off hard sufaces from great heights, have at it.
 

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Thanks for the input Omatako. Sounds like you know what your talking about. Mast steps it is for me. Now which ones, I seem to like the alumium ones that hold your feet in and you could snap into while going up. Like these
I would avoid the ones that fold away against the mast. They make it too easy for a foot to slip off and if you're alone and climbing without someone belaying you this gets dodgy.

The type that you have pictured are what I would use and have used.

Just be aware that these steps can catch on your sails and cause damage. You can tie lines between the steps and the shrouds to prevent this but they are also a hassle sometimes. Have a look at a few combinations to see what fits with your boat.

Also, plan on two steps, one on each side of the mast near the top. It is here that you will spend most working time on the rig and two steps makes it nice and stable. Set them about a metre from the top.
 

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For a safety line try using a klemheist knot with a 3-5m rope tied to a spare halyard. You tie the knot to a spare halyard, secure the rope to a harness or bosun's chair and slide it up and down with you. When the pressure comes on the knot it holds and prevents a fall. To be effective the line needs to be smaller than the halyard, I use 6mm with a 10-12mm halyard.

Used it yesterday and is a cheap, effective safety precaution. See the link for further details.

I've also heard good reports about the Topclimber.

Ilenart

The Klemheist
 

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For a safety line try using a klemheist knot with a 3-5m rope tied to a spare halyard. You tie the knot to a spare halyard, secure the rope to a harness or bosun's chair and slide it up and down with you. When the pressure comes on the knot it holds and prevents a fall. To be effective the line needs to be smaller than the halyard, I use 6mm with a 10-12mm halyard.
Where do you lash the shackle end of the halyard? The tail obviously goes to a winch or cleat. Do you deadend it on a mast fitting or take it to a deck fitting or to the toerail? I ask as I am wondering about the strength of things like my spinnaker pole track or even the spare 6" cleat on my mast.
 

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Thanks again Omatako, very good suggestions and will implement. I am still planning on having a line as an asender so coming down will be fast, wish I had a set up like on "Waterworld" and grab a line move a lever and get hauled up:D The lift rental cracks me up, I have used boom trucks before and that would be cool but really hard to bring it with you on the water:laugher . I have looked at the cruising boats here in the marina, most have the type on steps we are talking about, and although I don't like to drill holes I guess I have to do it. Now, should I use rivits or drill and tap. Leaning towards rivits just wish alumimun or monel would work then I would not have to worry about corrosion. Hey, on a side note the winds last night here at San Francisco were blowing in a big way, channel 16 going crazy better than watching tv. Boats dragging and floating all over the place, small powerboats in trouble getting into the harbors, etc. The coasties must be tired and I was so glad I was in my slip;)
 
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