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Old 04-01-2015, 14:55   #1
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Best way to safely climb my mast

The time has come to go up the mast for a couple of issues, have to make it to the top to change out the anchor light bulb. Wondering what a good way to accomplish this would be, I have a Swiss seat from my repelling days and was thinking of having a friend winch me up although thinking working from a seated position at the top of the mast may not allow changing the bulb, appreciate thoughts on the way to go.
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Old 04-01-2015, 15:14   #2
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast


I bought my boat in March last year, and the rigger used 1/2" X 250'with 2 pulleys and Boatswain Chair to check my mast and rigging. He said itcosts about $200 - $250.
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Old 04-01-2015, 15:40   #3
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

Mast Climber, Top Climber or make up your own using mountain climbing gear.
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Old 04-01-2015, 16:21   #4
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

Best way to safely climb my mast

Send someone else up.


No, really, the best and safest way to go up a mast, IMHO, is with mast steps. I know because i've had to climb the mast on every 'big' boat i've owned EXCEPT the one on which I had installed mast steps. Installing mast steps is almost a guarantee that you will never find a reason to go up your mast. It makes me think that the best way to guarantee you will live forever is to buy a life insurance policy on yourself.

On my last boat I made a 'mast mate'. You can buy them for a couple of hundred bucks at Mast Mate Home. For about $5 less I built my own. Works great. You should remove your mainsail so you can use the track slides that come with it, worthwhile because it holds the mast mate close to the mast, keeps it, and you, from swaying in the wind. Not as good as real mast steps but it does allow you to go up and down and stay up high enough to easily work at the top. With no help.

I've also gone up - and down - in my bosuns chair. A real work of art that probably cost hundreds when it was built. The PO had it set up so he could haul himself up and down with the aid of a 3 or 4 part tackle. I had some linebacker friends do the hard work. Good for doing work on the way up the mast but troublesome working at the top. And I once helped haul a guy up his mast in a chair by using his electric windlass to do the work.

As for the mountain climbing gear, well, you better be in good shape.....
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Old 04-01-2015, 16:38   #5
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

ATN mast climber. can go up yourself - no winching. very saft. Being in shape helps, but im able to get up and down without a problem. Not thrilled to do it, but it works well

ATN Mastclimber | Single Handed Bosun Chair | Climbing the Mast
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:17   #6
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

I would second the comment about TopClimber. It costs about $400 and the company support is outstanding. It's major advantage is that you can climb to the masthead by yourself. The disadvantage is that it takes a lot longer to get to the masthead than it does with someone cranking you up in a bosun's chair.
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:24   #7
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

Yes, topclimber well worth the money, and very safe.
however always check the condition of the halyard that you are going to use to go up on.....
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:33   #8
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

I forgot to mention: when using the Top Climber, it is a good idea to have a safety line around a halyard (using a trucker's hitch) and attached to your safety harness that you advance when going up and coming down on the Top Climber.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:07   #9
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

There's quite a bit of information on precisely this topic in the link below. And part of it includes a detailed description of the hardware which I've used for about 2 decades on boats, or rather, masts of all sizes. Including the tools which I commonly carry aloft, & a bit on safety gear as well.
There are some good contributions, by a lot of knowledgeable members.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f55/going-up-the-mast-131448-4.html
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:25   #10
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

Mast steps may be convenient, but I do not consider them safe. Better using a good rope climbing system. Think ahead on issues that may come up. Should always have someone around in case things go wrong. Once I had to climb up to rescue a guy who had his sweat shirt jamb into his Jumars when he was down-combing. He didn't see that coming.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:43   #11
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

Fit mast steps. Easy enough to make. I also wear a climbing harness and use a spare halyard just in case of something not planned for. There are many options and all can work but consider what happens if you need to ascend the mast with the main raised. Yes, it can happen. Our headboard ripped out several years ago and we could not reef the main. We could not head the wind without putting ourselves into a precarious position due to being in a reefy area. By scooting up up the mast steps I was able to drag the main down, slowly. They are also a great way to get to the spreaders for reef guidance.
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Old 05-01-2015, 09:58   #12
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

ATN Top Climber is a great device and, if you rig it correctly, will allow you actually stand above the top of the masthead - something you really can't do in a bosuns chair.

As someone said before, check your halyard condition BUT ALSO CHECK YOUR FITTINGS ON THE ATN AND MOUSE THEM WITH WIRE.

I didn't, and even though the unit was new, the pin backed out of the shackle, nearly causing my untimely death from 60' in the air! Fortunately the pin held in just barely, preventing the unit from collapsing. This is simple climbing safety awareness, which I ignored, thinking that since the unit was new, everything must be tight. I agree, that if you take the proper precautions (as you should with any device), that this device is a safe and easy (if not time-consuming) way to get up the mast. It can be used, like a bosuns chair, if you have someone to winch you up, or electric winches. Other than that, it just takes getting in to the rhythm and you can get up fairly quickly.
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:08   #13
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

I am 68 years old and use a top climber to go up my 50 ft mast. its all in the legs
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:23   #14
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
Best way to safely climb my mast


On my last boat I made a 'mast mate'. You can buy them for a couple of hundred bucks at Mast Mate Home. For about $5 less I built my own. Works great.



Bwahaha! Sounds like a lot of my projects!
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Old 05-01-2015, 10:46   #15
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Re: Best way to safely climb my mast

I'm 70 years old and have been using the ATN sourced Mast Climber to climb the stick for going on 5 years. I'm not in great shape and a few more pounds overweight than I'd like. It is not effortless to climb the mast with the Mast Climber but something that I've done many times, 7 times to the mast head in one day.

The Mast Climber saved my butt and the stick the first time I used it soon after buying the boat. Climbed to the mast head just to see how it worked. When I got there, looked around and discovered several broken strands on the headstay wire at the Norseman eye fitting. Side loading on the furler equipped headstay had caused the wire breakage. Can't stress it more, you should go up the mast at least once a year to check out all the fittings on your mast or have very good insurance on the stick. The Mast Climber paid for itself on that first trip up the mast. Yes, you can hire a rigger to do the inspection but that will cost you more than the Top Climber right quick.

The main difference between the Top Climber and Mast Climber is the climbing hardware. The ATN Top Climber ascenders can be clapped on a suitable line at any place. Those for the Mast Climber have to be threaded onto the bitter end of the climbing line. That's the probably why the Mast Climber calls for a dedicated climbing line that you hoist to the mast head with a halyard. Depending on how your halyards are rigged, will determine which of these two similar systems are right for your situation. A VLS (very low stretch) line makes using either way more efficient and easier. Use another line attached with a Prussik or Kleimheist Knot to another Halyard for safety. Take a spare safety line as you'll need two to come down with the foot and seat hardware. If you don't have two, you could be forced to climb down hand over hand.
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