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Old 25-12-2009, 17:39   #1
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Bosun's Chair Limitations?

My masthead light is out. I'm not done investigating, but I believe it might be due to a blown bulb and not a wiring issue.

My boat's not too large, (Coronado 25). Is there a weight limit for going aloft using a bosun's chair? I'm 5'11" and 220#, not exactly svelte.

Thanks!
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Old 25-12-2009, 17:49   #2
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As long as your gear is in good shape you should be good to go. Use a safety line as a backup.

Fair winds
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Old 25-12-2009, 17:56   #3
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I don't like springing up the mast like a monkey so I take it pretty carefully.

Try the bosuns chair between 2 hard objects like bricks and see if it breaks. If material just check the stitching etc.

I always do my own knots, never using snap shackles etc. Using the smallest loop in the bowline possable so the knot is low to the waist then you can go up higher.

Then I take it up a few feet with me on it and bounce up and down.

then if it breaks higher up at least you tested it.

Also if I need to do something on top I will do something at the 1st spreaders one day, then higher up the next day... by the time all the mast work is done I am over the fear of heights again... till next time!


Have fun!
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Old 25-12-2009, 18:12   #4
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I haven't bought a chair yet. I know the harness itself (the one I'm looking to buy) will support my weight, I was wondering about the mast and the shrouds and all the supporting stuff.

I like the idea of knots vs. shackles.
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Old 25-12-2009, 18:30   #5
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yes the rig should handle it no problem used to go up on my 25 footer all the time.

Fair Winds
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Old 25-12-2009, 18:52   #6
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I currently have a chair..Im 210 lbs...and will eventually get a harness as well...I think there is a time and place for both...I would not want to be in a chair off shore..but the chair is more comfortable long term at the dock even if a little restrictive of movements aloft...My teenage girls hoist me up with a little effort...then ransom me for shopping money to let me down..
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Old 25-12-2009, 19:50   #7
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Have you sailed this boat yet? If she can handle wind in her sails then she can handle the small load of you going up the mast. I have gone up as small as 23footer with a 28ft rig, the only issue, not weight, I was 5'7"105 lbs, but it was the movement. Do not let anyone move about the deck, and especially hop on or off the boat, the movement can be a bit violent at the top for such a small vessel. Instruct your deck hand to tell you if they move about so you can hang on. Also pick a place and day with no/little wind and no wakes moving through. I like to tie a short separate line around my waist after the spreaders, so if their is a critical malfunction to the bosuns chair/halyard or your line handler drops the line, you only fall as far as the spreaders and not all the way to the deck. Markj's idea about taking it in two stages is great and I will try that, my fears really kick in at the very top, which makes it hard to work effectively. Have fun
Merry Christmas,
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Old 25-12-2009, 21:23   #8
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I like to tie a short separate line around my waist after the spreaders, so if their is a critical malfunction to the bosuns chair/halyard or your line handler drops the line, you only fall as far as the spreaders and not all the way to the deck.
To clarify I meant tie a short line encircling my waist and the mast.
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Old 26-12-2009, 00:04   #9
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No mechanical shackles........bowlines only
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Old 26-12-2009, 04:23   #10
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I bought a fancy Spinlock harness...It works great, gives great support but my voice goes up two ocataves after I have used it...50% of the weight is taken by your 'wedding tackle'

I am back to my old trusty bosuns chair.

The harness is not worth the money unless you are the 'up the mast man' for a big racing boat. The same applies to Spinlock's fancy lifejackets...too uncomfortable!
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Old 26-12-2009, 05:04   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
... I always do my own knots, never using snap shackles etc...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Engineer View Post
No mechanical shackles........bowlines only
FWIW: OSHA, and every other safety code I’ve seen, requires that (boatwain’s chair & fall arrest) lifelines and lanyards etc be FREE of KNOTS (and splices, except for terminal eye-splices).
Double Locking Snap Rings are always used by the professionals.

How "strong" is a bowline?
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Old 26-12-2009, 05:43   #12
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For me it's a linesman's belt, hate those bosun chairs, though I have not looked at new ones, seems it would be pretty easy to slip out of one, or harm the wedding takle as moondancer mentions. After working as a high rock scaler I am very comfortable in the belt.
As for the stength of the bowline, well I have been taugh that providing the line has no cuts or major abrassions, if the line breaks, it will be at a knot that it will fail, so the bowline will hold, but the line will snap at the knot, leaving the bowline behind,.... see ya in the fall....
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Old 26-12-2009, 06:01   #13
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A rope, with a bowline, retains only approximately 60 ➛ 65% (or less) of its strength, at the location of the knot.

Knot Break Strength vs. Rope Break Strength

Knot Strength
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Old 26-12-2009, 07:33   #14
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Gord: Wow, thanks for the links Gord. I guess it's shackles after all.

Moondancer: ROFL...

Ocean Girl: No, I haven't sailed it yet. I'm making ready to sail. All systems must be "GO" before departure, fortunately we're almost there. Good call on not letting people run around on deck, and the water is positively glassy where I'm berthed so wakes shouldn't be a problem. It's a dead-end where I'm at.

Hope you all had a Merry Xmas, and that you're ramping up for a great New Year!
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Old 26-12-2009, 08:04   #15
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I use a shackle + a safety line tied to the chair D-ring and abpove the shackle. I also use a soft chair instead of a board. I bought two many years ago fom Lands End when they still sold marine equipment. I also wear a life vest while at sea to protect my chest from the mast. Using this rig, I have gone up my mast to 85Ft in running seas with only minimal bruising despite 10 ft swings.
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