Mast Climbing

NigelBirch

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What's the best way of getting up to the masthead?

I saw a kid a while ago with rope arrangement that he put his feet into and powered his way up to the top with his leg muscles.

But he was about 17 would it work for an overweight middle aged man?

I've seen tree surgeons with these as well, no idea what you call them.
 

Salty John

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Bosun's chair and a willing hauler. If you can run the halyard fair to an electric anchor winch this works well and saves the assistant considerable work. A pair of steps at the masthead helps if you want to work on the masthead for any length of time.
 

Sans Bateau

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Hi Spike, welcome.

BEST way, find a 17 year old who can follow instructions!

Otherwise bosuns chair and a good strong winchman.

Bugger I have to up my mast!!!!!
 

StephenRobinson

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the lad was using a prussic loop if he was climbing the mast rather than the halyards. Its a climbic knot really simple but deadly if you get it wrong. I use it to climb when Im solo but if possible do get a willing monkey to do it for you
 

Stevie_T

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You don't really need a 17 year old. I am 48 and climb ropes for a living, there are guys in the trade who are over 60. The actual effort involved in climbing the short distance of a mast is actually not a lot, perhaps slightly harder than climbing a couple of flights of stairs.
The right gear of course and a little training would help.
 

StephenRobinson

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ah but the advantage of having a 17year old to do it is you can sip a nice cold one while hes scurrying about up there. I'd call it supervision!
I agree with hannahbella about tyhe effort but of course you do need some basic power to weight advantage which is harder as we get older and heavier
 

wizard

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I bought one of the plastic ladders last year. Very simple - attach mast ladder to main halyard and hoist to top of mast. Attach topping lift to yourself by means of a bosuns chair (for safety - a second person is required to take up the slack on the topping lift on the way up and release it on the way down) all you have o do is leg it up the ladder to the top and then sitback in the bosuns chair to take some of your weight and do what ever you have to do.

The unit is called the 'MASTEP INSPECTION LADDER' and the website was www.mortonboats.co.uk
 

Solent sailer

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Hello
I have found that a bosons chair on the main sail halyard back to a winch, then I tie a rolling hitch around another halyard with a loop for one foot. in this was you can lift yourself up with one foot whilst the person on the winch takes up the slack, the rolling hitch can then be slid up the halyard for the next "step" up in this way I can quickly clime the mast and anyone can pull the bosons chair up with no need to winch.
paul
 

colvic987

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Take the mast down!!!


But if thats not an option, this is what i do, put up a ladder which normally reaches the spreaders, than use one of the above methods from there...

it works for me, but i climb 10/12 metre poles all day, so no problem for me...
and i've got all the safety gear...
 

Stevie_T

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Yes, thats the gear all made by Petzl. The particular system demonstrated doesn't seem the most eficient I have seen and leaves you hanging a bit low below the jammers and would make working right at the top of the mast a bit awkward.

Also chest harness and maybe a seat could make things more comfartable if you are going to spend a while up there but are by no means essential. There are very similar systems that address this.
A lot has been said about rope climbing on these forums and I shall not enter into personal preferences, but of course you do have to consider how you are going to get down as well. Also on any system, unless you are certain of the condition of the halyard, a back up would be advised.
 

gibbo26

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The gear used to get up a mast on ones own is derived from equipment used by climbers but more so by cavers it is known as SRT gear (single rope technique), some of the retail suppliers of the gear offer training as well.
Its great as you are in control and you dont have to shout at the 'muppet' who is on the winch and allways does the wrong thing!
look up on the web 'caving supplies' inglesport' bernie's cafe' (yes that is correct!) 'bat products'
 

PuffTheMagicDragon

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Simple.
Home made
Self fitted
Suits my style of sailing (single-handed cruising, most times)

CYANOmaststeps.jpg


Age: 60
Weight: 78 kilos
Health: survived 2 heart attacks


Very Important: Wear a safety harness and a tether. Clip on as you go along and when you arrive at where you're going.

Only drawback that I can see - compared to a seventeen year-old - is that mast steps cannot cook or share the vodka, whereas 'she' could! /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

PuffTheMagicDragon

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[ QUOTE ]
What did you make the steps out of ?

[/ QUOTE ]

Stainless steel (316L) flat bar, 15 x 3 mm.
Bent to shape and welded with the 'vertical' part overlapping the horizontal part of the stirrup.
Monel pop rivets, 5mm diameter, at the three extremities.
Ducolay (? - the yellow sticky stuff) paste applied before assembling and popping the rivets.

Staggered on either side of the mast, the vertical distance was obtained experimentally / scientifically - using a chair - and seeing how high I could manage to haul myself comfortably on one leg. This was then rounded up as a function of the distance between the boom and the spreaders. It was something around 16 inches, if I remember correctly.

Similar spacing was continued above the spreaders, ending with two steps, one on either side, on the same level at the top. These last two were positioned such that when I am standing with one foot in each, I can work comfortably with the masthead roughly at chest level.

The opening of the stirrup was made enough to take a deck shoe easily. The orientation of the vertical strap prevents the shoe from slipping off.

Half-way up the mast there is an option of sitting or standing on the roots of the spreaders.

The only awkward part is the area, just below the spreaders, where the lowers are attached but one gets used to this quite easily.

Let me know if you need more information.
 

PuffTheMagicDragon

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Absolutely! Make sure that when you drill the mast the holes are on the tight side; experiment with both metric and imperial sizes if you cannot obtain metric drills in 0.1 increments. When it comes to popping the rivets, ensure that the mast is well supported at that point. You will be using the lazy-tongs type of riveter and you will be putting quite a bit of weight on it; monel rivets are pretty hard to pop in that size.

Good luck on your project!
 
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