Author Topic: climbing the mast  (Read 6225 times)

Warren Daniels

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climbing the mast
« on: June 07, 2009, 12:56:41 am »
I am interested in getting to the top of my mast this winter and of course, I don't have a system yet.  Which of the "ascending the mast systems" do you all like?  Pro's, con's?

Warren
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 12:41:27 am by Soggy Geek »

Peter Rabbit

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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2009, 03:06:05 pm »
Quote from: Warren
I am interested in getting to the top of my mast this winter and of course, I don't have a system yet.  Which of the "ascending the mast systems" do you all like?  Pro's, con's?

Hi Warren,

It seems there are so many ideas on the market for getting to the top of the mast.  However, watching a rigger one day I noticed he used a simple block system.  I copied his idea and put my own twist to it and came up using a 6 to 1 block and 3/8 line.  I truly forget the type of line but it is the very flexable high strenght stuff.  My thought was with that much line for a 6to1 I wanted it to store in a small space.  I got that. 

I raise one block with an extra line from the top and then pull the bitter end to reach the mast head.  I don't have any special locks or jams on the rig.  This might seem unsafe and I guess in some ways it is, but with focus  :) and with a 6 to 1 the pull is easy and since very little pull is on the bitter end, tying a knot to hold in one place is easy as well so I never added anything more.  The system is very simple and works.

Paul
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 12:43:07 am by Soggy Geek »

Warren Daniels

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climbing the mast
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2009, 12:26:53 am »
So, lemme understand this. I pull myself up with the end of line from a block.  Ok, I understand that.  What happens if I make a mistake or get forgetful.(read as stupid)  Will I be coming back down at a slightly higher rate of speed than I went up at? :o

Warren
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 12:43:49 am by Soggy Geek »

Peter Rabbit

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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2009, 09:17:53 am »
Hi Warren,

Look at it like this.  Only the sudden stop hurts  8).  Truly this has never even come close to a problem for me but it could happen.

On a serious side, this is the downside to this rig, but, like I said, it does tend to keep one focused.  If the basic idea works for you an old friend Rick, who also owns a 44 WO, bought a climbing rig from Bill Jacksons, an outdoor sports type place.  This has all the line locks used by mountain climbers and works on the same principle but has safety features.  If you want to email him to get the full story let me know and I will send you the email address.

The nice thing about either of these two is that they are far cheaper and work better than any of the other commercial products I have seen given all the pros and cons.

Paul
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 12:44:33 am by Soggy Geek »

Sybarite33

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climbing the mast
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2009, 08:48:17 pm »
I installed the folding mast steps on my 33 CSY several years ago and am very happy with them.

Lloyd Lofland
"Sybarite"
Key West, FL
33 CSY Hull # 52
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 12:53:51 am by Soggy Geek »

Peter Hibbard

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climbing the mast
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2009, 09:13:20 pm »
I am still using the bosun chair, main halyard - old school. Have been considering the mast mate system or installing folding steps. 

Lloyd, I would like more info on where to get the folding steps and any tips on installation.

Paul, the 6 to 1 rig from Bill Jackson's sounds interesting.  Would like more info on this. I will be in the ST. Pete area at the end of June.

Thanks,

Peter
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 12:55:05 am by Soggy Geek »

Silent Option

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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2009, 11:09:02 pm »
I use my bosun chair, a set of stirrups from an english riding saddle and two rock climbing ascenders (http://www.rockclimbing.com/gear/Detailed/3814.html)

I go up on the main halyard or on a spinnaker halyard.  I go from the deck to the top effortlessly in about 5 minutes and down just as fast.

My wife uses the system as well.  Its easy safe and the price is right.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 12:55:48 am by Soggy Geek »

Warren Daniels

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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2009, 12:45:21 am »
I was looking at the "ATN Mastclimber" in Latts and Atts magazine.  Don't know how much it costs yet but wanted some opinions. 

I was wondering about the folding steps.  Wouldn't drilling that many holes in your mast weaken it some?  Besides, me climbing up 65 feet with no safety device isn't smart.  Especially anything that can swing back and forth.  Maybe a power linesman strap would work for safety.

Bill, would it be possible to take pictures of your set up and post them.  Would love to see it.

Warren
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 12:56:56 am by Soggy Geek »

Silent Option

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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2009, 07:28:03 am »
I will take some photos of the lash up.  Even if you are climbing steps you should still have a safety line. That means another person on deck tending you.  That's why I like ascenders.  You can slide them up a safety line as you go up and easily move them down as you descend.  I haven't used the ATN climber but from what I have seen its a similar concept to what I am using. Your legs do all the work. 

I have only been aloft offshore a couple times and of course the weather was awful. I always wore a protec helmet and used a climbing harness vice a bosuns chair.

You don't have to be a climber to understand how climbing equipment works and use it.

I will get photos asap.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 12:58:00 am by Soggy Geek »

Peter Rabbit

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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2009, 08:46:06 am »
Quote from: Peter Hibbard
I am still using the bosun chair, main halyard - old school. Have been considering the mast mate system or installing folding steps.

Lloyd, I would like more info on where to get the folding steps and any tips on installation. Paul, the 6 to 1 rig from Bill Jackson's sounds interesting.  Would like more info on this. I will be in the ST. Pete area at the end of June.

Thanks,

Peter

Hi Peter,

I will be overseas later part of this month.  Rick Flemming is the one I have seen with a climbing rig from Bill Jacksons.  Here is Rick's email.  Send him a note and tell him I gave you the email.  He is delivering a boat to St Pete later this month so maybe the two of you can connect and he can go over it with ya.  Rick Flemming <svnautilus@aol.com>,

Paul
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 01:00:21 am by Soggy Geek »

Soggy Paws

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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2009, 05:55:28 pm »
Warren,

I must say you do have some great questions-it is hard keeping up with you!  It makes for some great discussions, though.

Here's some info and pics from our log we wrote a year and a half ago re our experience with my Mast Ascender and a link to the ATN Top Climber website.

Soggy Paws Blog - Adventures with Mast Climbing    
 
I wouldn't want to go up our 65' mast more than once a day with the Mast Ascender, but from the above posts it sounds like the Top Climber is better.  Even so, I'm not looking for a workout when doing this, so easier is better.

However, now that we've had that experience and discovered the "windlass powered elevator option" we will never do it any other way in port.  This option uses your horizontally mounted windlass to power you up and down as follows:
 
  • You will need two main halyards.  Both should be 1/2" or better line and led internally over the aft sheaves at your mast top.  Don't use an external spinnaker halyard because if the block breaks you may be headed down fast.
  • The first one, your hoisting halyard, needs a tail long enough to be fairlead to your windlass.  In our case this is the boom topping lift which doubles as a spare main halyard.  To get the extra tail length you could tie in a suitable length of similar line as a knot will easily roll around the windlass rope drum.  If you are unsure what knot to use consult with a good Boy Scout to get help with the bend (knot used to tie two lines together).  Obviously tie your own knot.
  • The other is your safety halyard, and it is firmly attached at both ends near the deck alongside your hoisting halyard.  In our case this safety halyard is our main halyard.
  • Attach your bosun's chair to the hoisting halyard and run the other end down through a mast mounted rope clutch around a mast mounted halyard winch and then forward to your windlass's rope drum.  It helps if you can stand at a proper tailing angle to the windlass and still operate the windlass controls.  A good reason to use a wired remote for the windlass instead of deck mounted foot controls.
  • Climb into your bosun's chair and attach a 3' length of about 3/8" line from the chair lifting point to either side of the safety halyard with a rolling hitch or something similar.  The knot you use should easily slide up and down by hand, but should hold firmly if tightned suddenly.  Again get help from a Boy Scout, if you are unsure.
  • Now have your mate operate the windlass to hoist you up while you slide the rolling hitch up with one hand.  Do the same coming down.  If anything should break or your mate keels over you will still be secure and can yell for help to get down.  The rope clutch is a great safety stop on the way up, but must be released, and therefore is of no use on the way down.  That's where the short line and rolling hitch come in.

We also have mast steps to the first spreaders for short trips up to get a better look at shallow water ahead.  We have used them for that purpose only three times in 10 years. 

I doubt that this method would be effective in a gale offshore.  But I don't plan to have to go up in that case.  That is why we have spare halyards.  It works great in calm conditions and makes me feel really safe aloft.  And, the best part is that Sherry never complains anymore about having to hoist me up the mast.

Dave
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 01:16:01 am by Soggy Geek »
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Peter Roach

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climbing the mast
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2009, 09:13:08 pm »
I use a bosun chair and the spare halyard wrapped around the anchor windless. I have my helper step on the up button to go up and then let me down by releasing the pressure. Perhaps others don't have a rope portion of their windless.

Peter
I tried having a bad day once but I did not like it

Ron Sheridan

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« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2009, 07:56:40 pm »
Hello Warren, Have sent a few emails to you over the past few months and wonder.. did you get them?

If not, you cannot go wrong with REAL steps/ up or only at the TOP.
At the dock, almost anything works.  Away from the dock when shit happens, wear diapers and suck it up tight.

I've suffered serious bruising years ago, and now WANT to be a mast hugger!

Ron
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 12:35:52 am by Soggy Geek »

Soggy Geek

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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2009, 09:12:21 am »
After having been up the mast several times on steps in a seaway, they are not necessarily the best solution either.  With the mast whipping back and forth, you have to hang on TIGHT! and then you have no hands left to do the work you are trying to do.

And, you get very fatigued very quickly.  In just a few minutes (when I was in good shape and under 40), I was in fear of losing my grip due to fatigue.  I had to come down and rest (arms and legs shaking) before I could go back up and finish the job (the radar had come off its mounts, after 2 months of pounding to weather on the 'thorny path', and was swinging by its cable!)

But going up the mast with ANYTHING in a seaway is going to be problematic.

Interesting that no one has mentioned the steps that you rig on a halyard on your mainsail track... has anyone tried these (at the dock or at sea)?

Sherry
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 01:17:44 am by Soggy Geek »
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Warren Daniels

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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2009, 09:22:14 am »
I liked the thought of the mainsail track and was getting excited about it until I remembered that our main sail is a behind the mast furling system.
 
You know Sherry, thinking about getting fatigued when climbing the steps and not having enough hands to hold on when you reach the top.  How about a strap like the electrician pole climbers use to climb the power poles. Its leather and would not hurt the mast and it would definately be strong enough to hold a person.  And it could be shortened or lengthened for your desired distance  from mast.
 
Warren
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 01:22:17 am by Soggy Geek »