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Discussion Starter #1
I just read an article in a recent sailing magazine. I don't remember which one where someone asked how to climb the mast.

The columnist responded with the specific part numbers for Harken blocks if I remember correctly and specific line recommendations.

I wanted to save that article but have mislaid it.
It was in the last couple of months.
Does anyone remember it?
Magazine, issue details?

Thanks.
 

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This isn't the article that you are asking for, but it is a good comparison of various techniques:
Mast Climbing

He reviews the ATN "Top Climber", but the newer ATN "Mast Climber" does solve some of his complaints. However it doesn't solve a core one, which is that it requires a line to be pulled taut along the mast, and that makes it hard to work at the ends of the spreaders.

I use a Mast Climber, but am intrigued by some of his homebuilt systems.
 

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I use a 4 part tackle with Harken ratchet block at the top. Haul it up on a halyard and climb with an ascender. I am free to reach spreader ends easily.
 

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I was just talking about this yesterday with a friend. We think it was in Practical Sailor, maybe a few months ago. I haven't had time to look it up yet and I'm heading offshore for 2 weeks. Would love to hear more about this. I'm trying to figure out how to ascend the mast on my own and with only one halyard at the top (it's a fractional rig), so no way (?) to rig a safety line. The articles I've read don't address this.
 

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gamayun: Do you have a topping lift? How is it run? Many boats have the topping lift setup the same way as a second main halyard.

I searched Practical Sailor and their last published items on this topic were years ago.

Since Harken writes "do not use for human suspension" on almost every block that they sell I'm surprised that a magazine would publish the Harken blocks to use. An individual may look at the load ratings and decide to do it (I have in the past), but it would put a magazine into an odd liability path.
 

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As long as the block is in good condition and has a large enough load rating there wouldn't be a problem. I wouldn't try it with any old block though. Shackles should be moused and do not use snap shackles.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I use a 4 part tackle with Harken ratchet block at the top. Haul it up on a halyard and climb with an ascender. I am free to reach spreader ends easily.
Four to one sounds good.
Is that double on top with becket and double on bottom.

I didn't see a harken ratchet double with becket.
 

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Four to one sounds good.
Is that double on top with becket and double on bottom.

I didn't see a harken ratchet double with becket.
Single with becket and double without becket. Both have a ratchet. Double on top.

The only problem with 4 to 1 is for a 50 foot climb you need 200+ feet of line.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Single with becket and double without becket. Both have a ratchet. Double on top.

The only problem with 4 to 1 is for a 50 foot climb you need 200+ feet of line.
I see.
So I'm assuming you are using the fiddle block (harken 1556) they have and just removed the cam cleat. The single with becket is 1549 or 1571. Does port or starboard matter in this instance?


You purchase however seems to me to be 3 to 1.

Yes you need four times the rope.

Think of it this way.

If you just had one pulley at the top of the mast and hauled on on end and tied the other end to your harness you would have one-to-one, yes.
Now if you tie a block to your harness and run the line back up to a becket at the top block you have two to one.
Back down again and you have three to one.

That would be absolutely clear if you were standing on deck and hauling up another person.

That fact that you are hauling yourself up however may double everything.
I read one comment that posited that the four lengths of line actually ended up being 6 to one.
That I'm not sure of, it doesn't seem right.


http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_11151_10001_440923_-1?ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=440923&cid=sc_googlepla&device=c&network=g&matchtype=&gclid=CPi466fZkrsCFcVQ7AodwDkAAA#.Up0YXcSkq0w
 
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Last first - 4 lengths of line isn't 6 to 1 - I don't see how it could be.

The Harken blocks were bought as is - nothing was removed. There are no model numbers on them. It was put together about 15 years ago. They should still have the same blocks or very similar available.

The double block is an over/under configuration, smaller sheave under. As I said both have ratchets that can be switched on or off. Port or starboard has no bearing on these blocks.

I think it is 4 to 1 but will check tomorrow if the weather is good here.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)

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I use a triple on top, and a double below. With the middle being used to tie the end of the line hauling me up etc. Then run and end to a winch on the top of the mast. So the 16-1 plus 4-1 works pretty easy to get a person to the top that is in the low 200 lb range.

Not that this is what David was wanting.........

I was hoping to try out one of the web ladders yesterday, but the mainsail fittings were one size too wide to fit my track.....WAAAAAAAAA.......that is another issue!

For those that use these, can you flip around to the front of the mast and do repairs this way? vs to me, going up on a jib halyard would be better to do front end work. or climb on the front, but feet using the ladder?

marty
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I use a triple on top, and a double below. With the middle being used to tie the end of the line hauling me up etc. Then run and end to a winch on the top of the mast. So the 16-1 plus 4-1 works pretty easy to get a person to the top that is in the low 200 lb range.
Marty, could you run that through one more time slow for the slow.
I didn't get it.
 

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arrrrrrg......

how about winch on the bottom of the keel?!?!?! no.......hmmmmm...

ok, winch at the bow?!?!?! i've heard these are call windlass's or wenches or some such thing........no.......oh.....

ok, wench on the cabin top in my case, 16-1, along with the rope pulleys, along with some beer.......maybe scotch......something like that!

Does that work?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Marty
 

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arrrrrrg......

how about winch on the bottom of the keel?!?!?! no.......hmmmmm...

ok, winch at the bow?!?!?! i've heard these are call windlass's or wenches or some such thing........no.......oh.....

ok, wench on the cabin top in my case, 16-1, along with the rope pulleys, along with some beer.......maybe scotch......something like that!

Does that work?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Marty
We started with that idea. Used our windlass as it had a gypsy and drum. Jill would work the controls and I went up. It worked, sort of. It has to much POWER for our liking. If she did not stop exactly when she should, bod things could happen.

THAT, is why we switched to the jammers way of going up that has worked GREAT and works with or without power.

Then, that windlass went bad and I had to change it out and the new one did not have a drum on it, just a gypsy.

Greg

 

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I was a rock climber and high angle rescue long before I was a sailor, and all the stuff that sailors do going up and down the mast scares me. There are much safer and more effective ways to do all this stuff. Here's my setup:

First, I use a climbing harness - you can get a cheap one and it'll be safer than any bouson's chair, particularly for work that takes you away from the mast (spreaders etc.).

At the harness, I attach a petzl gri-gri. Normally, it's a belay tool, but it's also perfect for use as an ascender on a boat where you have to manually feed it, but your ascents are short, so it doesn't matter. The nice things about it are that it has no teeth or sharps, so shock-loading it won't harm your rope (it's meant for shock-loading), and most importantly, when you use it to climb, it's already rigged as a descender, so positioning and repositioning are as easy as pie. I use this as my only physical attachment to the line. Petzl Grigri 2 Belay Device | Backcountry.com

Attached to the line above the gri-gri, and not attached to me at all, I put an ascender with a couple loops of webbing. I use a rescuescender, but any ascender would work, even something as simple and cheap as a tibloc (TIBLOC | Petzl) or even a prussic (Tying a Prussic Knot.). The loop of webbing should hang down far enough that when the ascender is at the center of your chest, the loop is at your foot.

All you do is put a foot in the webbing loop, push the ascender and loop up the rope until your knee is bent, stand up in the webbing loop which creates slack between the gri-gri and the ascender, pull the slack through the grigri, sit down in the harness so your weight is on the grigri, and repeat. When you want to come down, you just remove the ascender and rappel on the grigri which is already set up for that purpose.

You don't have to secure the end of the line you are climbing, so you have the freedom to swing around and go out to the spreaders or out to the fore or backstay, you're completely in control - not relying on someone else to hoist/lower safely. You're using gear that was meant for exactly this purpose - not repurposed sailing gear that was never meant to haul live bait up a vertical work environment. And, the climbing harness is much safer than a bouson's chair (if less comfortable) - you can stretch way out in it, even go horizontal or upside-down, and not worry about falling out.
 

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What is a bosuns chair?!?!?! I know what a rock climbing harnes is. TOdays are MUCH more comfortable than the ones I started climbing with 30 yrs ago.

Marty
 

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Having been a rock climber and still being a caver and sailor, I know a bit about climbing rope cuz I've climbed the deepest pits in the world........on prusik knots.
However, being an older wimpy guy today, I'd recc'd a person look up caving climbing gear, specifically something called a "Frog" system (no relation to me) because it is so simple. You can buy a complete system from various caving suppliers. My daughter and I are now learning to climb Frog systems for caving.
I simply dont trust any halyards that have been in use for long so I'd get another ascender such as a jumar etc or even simply a prusik and run it on your jib halyard in case the main halyard you are climbing on breaks.
TO GET DOWN, don't worry about being lowered down, CLIMB DOWN slowly and meticulously.
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER climb by yourself. You need somebody around just in case. Go up a few feet and then come back down at least a couple of times before you go all the way up.
 
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