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Schooner Captain
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sea-Dog Folding Mast Step
Just ordered one to make sure it would fit our mast well, look good, and held me well. Just curious if anyone else had these? I did not want the fixed ones so lines would not get tangled, and less windage.
 

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I installed these last summer, quite like them. Still have to watch your lines for tangling now and then, but they are super convenient !!
 

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I installed them on our previous cs 36. Loved them. Could go up and down anytime I wanted. Wife just had to follow me w/ the halyard. Plan on installing them on the current boat when we have the rig down to replace the rod rigging in the future.
Jim
 

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In a pinch I've used them solo with a harness and a strap around the mast
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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I confess I've never had a great deal of trouble with the non folding type though I can see the attraction of the foldable variety. Guess it comes down to the budget.
 

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Schooner Captain
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In a pinch I've used them solo with a harness and a strap around the mast
I installed them on our previous cs 36. Loved them. Could go up and down anytime I wanted. Wife just had to follow me w/ the halyard. Plan on installing them on the current boat when we have the rig down to replace the rod rigging in the future.
Jim
Yes, wife has a very hard time winching me up the masts. I plan to use a clip on assender on a halyard. Going to do a few at a time as I paint the mast.

I wonder if I should sand them and paint black to match the mast, or leave them shiny? Shiny may look like a nice contrast.
 

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Mine are on a black mast and I like the contrast
 
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Over Hill Sailing Club
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A few years ago I made up some mast steps from 1-1/4" X 3/16" s.s. stock. The idea was to eliminate all but brackets on the mast to avoid weight, windage, and line tangling of permanent steps. It has worked out well. If I need to get up the mast, I just take enough steps with me in the bosun's chair, which has large pockets and slide them in as I go up. Easy-peezy. I usually leave a couple of lowers on so as to be able to get up quickly for a view of what's ahead. They are easy to make. The mast clips are attached with 4 s.s. rivets. Rough drawing:
 

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A few years ago I made up some mast steps from 1-1/4" X 3/16" s.s. stock. The idea was to eliminate all but brackets on the mast to avoid weight, windage, and line tangling of permanent steps. It has worked out well. If I need to get up the mast, I just take enough steps with me in the bosun's chair, which has large pockets and slide them in as I go up. Easy-peezy. I usually leave a couple of lowers on so as to be able to get up quickly for a view of what's ahead. They are easy to make. The mast clips are attached with 4 s.s. rivets. Rough drawing:
Interesting design. I would be affreid to pull some out with a line ending on top of the mast with few missing steps. But again if this happens you can still decent vith the line.
I have plastic foldable steps and love them.
I installed them with my mast up - ancored in a nice Caribbean island. I fixed a few per day . . .
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Interesting design. I would be affreid to pull some out with a line ending on top of the mast with few missing steps. But again if this happens you can still decent vith the line.
I have plastic foldable steps and love them.
I installed them with my mast up - ancored in a nice Caribbean island. I fixed a few per day . . .
Absolutely right. I added a 1/4" hand-tightened butterfly bolt to all of them after losing a couple by catching with my toe on the way up. The bolt tightens under the bracket so there's no way they can get popped out now.
 

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Schooner Captain
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Smurph -

Could I ask how the cost of these compared to pre-fab steps? I love this idea. Any trouble with the step being stiff enough? Or fore-aft movement when you put your foot in?
Safety second. :confused:
Seriously, wouldn't you prefer an engineered product to one that is cobbled together?
 

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Bill SV Rangatira
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A few years ago I made up some mast steps from 1-1/4" X 3/16" s.s. stock. The idea was to eliminate all but brackets on the mast to avoid weight, windage, and line tangling of permanent steps. It has worked out well. If I need to get up the mast, I just take enough steps with me in the bosun's chair, which has large pockets and slide them in as I go up. Easy-peezy. I usually leave a couple of lowers on so as to be able to get up quickly for a view of what's ahead. They are easy to make. The mast clips are attached with 4 s.s. rivets. Rough drawing:
drill a hole in the bracket and make a peen in the step so it clicks in?
might prevent them lifting out by accident?
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Smurph -

Could I ask how the cost of these compared to pre-fab steps? I love this idea. Any trouble with the step being stiff enough? Or fore-aft movement when you put your foot in?
Smurph -

Could I ask how the cost of these compared to pre-fab steps? I love this idea. Any trouble with the step being stiff enough? Or fore-aft movement when you put your foot in?
The cost is considerably less than those flimsy prefab steps. Just figure the linear ft. of material in X# steps. They are stronger than any of the ridiculously expensive prefabs I've seen. The only steps I've seen that are comparable in strength and size are those that are fabricated from heavy aluminum and welded permanently to the mast. Because these are not up there all the time and weight is not a big factor, they can be built adequately strong. Some people will pay for any piece of plastic or lightweight crap from China with a label on it when you can often make something MUCH better for much less if you just use some intelligence. "Engineered?" By whom?
 
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Over Hill Sailing Club
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drill a hole in the bracket and make a peen in the step so it clicks in?
might prevent them lifting out by accident?
The hand bolts worked well. They easily screw in to stop the step from popping out. The overlap is quite long probably 1-1/2" and the friction considerable, so they are not really apt to just pop out unless a toe catches on the way up. The stop bolt eliminates that possibility. I did have one come out and fall, taking a chip out of the deck so figured they needed some sort of positive remedy. I also considered cabling them together, maybe 3 or four at a time which would, at least stop them from falling but the stop bolts work fine. That said, as with any step, I'm always also harnessed up if going more than a few feet.
 

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Don't call me a "senior"!
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Personally, I wouldn't trust cast aluminum. When it fails it tends to break without warning. Given that the advertised breaking strength is only about twice the weight of many a middle-aged sailor (including myself), there ain't much of a safety factor there. Extruded or rolled aluminum that has been bent into the appropriate shape will tend to bend when over-loaded long before it will break.
 

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Personally, I wouldn't trust cast aluminum. When it fails it tends to break without warning. Given that the advertised breaking strength is only about twice the weight of many a middle-aged sailor (including myself), there ain't much of a safety factor there. Extruded or rolled aluminum that has been bent into the appropriate shape will tend to bend when over-loaded long before it will break.
FWIW, I bought a boat with a few of those SeaDog folding aluminum steps already installed by the PO about 10 years prior. On this boat, they give you a boost so you can reach the top of the stackpack to attach the main halyard and the PO sailed 6 days a week for six months out of the year, so they got used a lot both by me and by him.

It was only recently that I noticed by chance that the first step had lost a cast pin (one of two) that supports the weight of the user. That means that I had been using it for a year and the PO for an unknown period of time with only one pin holding our weight. Both of us are about 180 lbs and since this was the lowest step, it got bounced on a lot as you hauled yourself up.

Obviously, it's not good that this step had lost a pin somehow but given the number of load cycles it had seen, I'd say it gave good service. I can tell you that I have no qualms about these steps holding my weight with two intact pins.

EDIT: The remaining pin showed no visible signs of cracking or fatigue and the only reason I noticed the issue in the first place was that the step rested slightly out of square when folded out.
 

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Schooner Captain
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
"Engineered?" By whom?
No idea, but it is sold by a company that would lose millions if someone fell to their death because of bad engineering. If home made ones fail, to bad so sad.
They are rated for 500# properly installed, And judging by the photo, thats one nice chunk of cast aluminum.
 

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Tundra Down
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The hand bolts worked well. They easily screw in to stop the step from popping out. The overlap is quite long probably 1-1/2" and the friction considerable, so they are not really apt to just pop out unless a toe catches on the way up. The stop bolt eliminates that possibility. I did have one come out and fall, taking a chip out of the deck so figured they needed some sort of positive remedy. I also considered cabling them together, maybe 3 or four at a time which would, at least stop them from falling but the stop bolts work fine. That said, as with any step, I'm always also harnessed up if going more than a few feet.
I like it! One question. Your drawing of the bracket shows 8 rivets,4 per side. Did you reduce the actual number to 2 per side?

Can you share actual pictures?

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