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Old 22-01-2018, 09:03   #1
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Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

May be a stupid question, but I am wondering if it is reasonable to expect that an aluminum mast for a 30 ft boat can accommodate the weight of a 220 lbs person.


To give more information, all standing and running rigging is sound and has been sea trialed for a season. The mast is a z-spar aluminum extruded mast on a beneteau first 305. Double spreaders. Lighter people have gone aloft but never someone as heavy.
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Old 22-01-2018, 09:11   #2
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

Yes no problem. As far as hoisting goes, it'll be a lot of of work for the grinder. The person going aloft can help a lot by lifting himself as you grind.
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Old 22-01-2018, 09:38   #3
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

We routinely have some one up the mast on my 30 foot mono-hull for some reason or another. You really should have three people on deck. One to grind, one to tail and one more holding a back up halyard in case something happens to the primary. Your halyards need to be in decent shape of course.

My race crew are young and fit and basically climb the mast themselves, we just pull the bosuns chair up behind them.
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Old 22-01-2018, 12:54   #4
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

Understood, thank you for the answers. I am thinking of rigging two halyards. One attaches to the harness and the other with handholds and a step that way the climber can pull themselves up alternating with their hands/feet or with their weight on the harness.
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Old 22-01-2018, 13:56   #5
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

I donít know the Boat, but a small boat, Iíd worry more about how tender the boat is, and what effect my large self will have up there as far as motion with so much weight aloft.
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Old 22-01-2018, 17:21   #6
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

I've got a Sabre 28, weigh 170# and no issues going to the masthead. No radical swaying of the mast in fact it was pretty rock steady though I was in a Marina with flat water. Can't imagine an extra 50#s would make much of a difference except in effort to haul them up.
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Old 22-01-2018, 17:35   #7
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

Without knowing the structural integrity of the mast, your guess would be as good as mine. Would sure suck for the 220lb person to be the one to find out that the answer is no.
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Old 22-01-2018, 17:53   #8
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

You put more stress on the stick sailing with the rail in the water than would be placed by a 220lb human.

As far as the halyards, I donít trust them, I tie two to the bosuns chair. Notice I said tie. Snap shackles or the like should be only used for lifting sails, not humans.
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Old 23-01-2018, 02:07   #9
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

"... You really should have three people on deck. ..."
so there is a reasonable chance to hit someone with dropped tools!
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Old 23-01-2018, 04:15   #10
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

The forces on the mast are almost completely in compression and structurally, that's easy for the mast to handle. The compression loads from the stays are often hundreds or thousands of pounds per stay in static conditions. In a good wind bouncing in a seaway, the dynamic loads can be drastically higher. 220lbs is irrelevant.

Using a couple of halyards is a good idea. While they are unlikely to break, having someone lose their grip is very possible.
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Old 23-01-2018, 09:48   #11
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

Our 34' boat came equipped with everything for mast climbing.

We have steps on the mast, two halyards, winches, 2x clip on safety lines and a 25 year old son with his own climbing harness.

As I am a caring mum I did supply the telephone line riggers pole belt so he can stay up there longer.
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Old 23-01-2018, 12:58   #12
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

Yes you can. The rating for halyards far exceeds that amount of weight. That said I have never had more than one person cranking me up the mast. It is vitally important to have a good quality saftey strap run twice around the mast and back to your bosunís chair. Attach the saftey strap at the point where the Bosunís chair attaches to the Halyard. It would be nice to have all those people to help but frequently unavailable. You can get Accenders and go up a tightened Halyard by yourself. Available at REI. Make sure you buy the right size for your paticular Halyards and again use a Saftey strap. I use the same strap I use with my harness attached to my Jack lines when going forward at sea.
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Old 23-01-2018, 13:13   #13
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

I don't see any problem going up the mast. Keep in mind that the mast is very strong when working in compression, unless you have one of those very skiny mast with a fractionnal set up, a la Melges. I endorse totaly the idea of have 3 person on deck as described above.
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Old 23-01-2018, 14:49   #14
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

I weigh 220lbs and would regularly go up the mast on our 25 foot yacht.
Two lines, one as safety. I would also pull myself up with one so all the wife had to do was tail the line and keep cleating the safety off.
Before I even get the tools out Tina would retreat to the cockpit out of harms way.
The only time the boat rocked was when some jerk steamed through the anchorage pushing a huge bow wave.
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Old 23-01-2018, 15:32   #15
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Re: Can I hoist a 220 lbs person up the mast?

I see no structural or stability problem with a 100 kilo person up the mast, providing safety precautions adequately described by others are taken, but it does raise an interesting point on winch and pulley efficiency. My skipper has to struggle raising a 70 kg me to the mast head. With about 8:1 lever advantage, and 3 or 14:1 gear advantage, the pull on the handle should be between 3 and less than 1 kg. The actual pull is more like 20 kg, so there is a lot of inefficiency in the bearings, gears and pulleys. Has anyone seen any practical test results for yacht winch and pulley efficiencies?
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