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Old 25-06-2009, 04:11   #1
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Crow's Nest on Modern Yacht

I've been looking around for crow's nests on modern boats as I quite like the idea; I was considering putting one on the aft mast of a ketch. I never found any, until I spotted one on a blog (S/V ORCA III).

Has anyone else got one / knows how to get a kit / got any ideas on how to make one?

Thanks.

I've attached an image below (I anonymised it; the picture is however published on the blog above).
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Old 25-06-2009, 04:18   #2
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I've got one on my boat. I'll take some photos of it when I get home in early July. I'll post them in my profile page.
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Old 25-06-2009, 04:21   #3
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Thanks.. Had a look on your profile.. nice boat btw

Did the nest come with the boat? Is it aluminium? Bolted/welded to the mast?

Do you find it at all useful?
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Old 25-06-2009, 07:20   #4
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captain58sailin: sitka island .. not sure I could imagine a more beautiful place.
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Old 25-06-2009, 11:20   #5
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I had mine built on the 1st port spreader.

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Old 25-06-2009, 13:28   #6
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Nice! Is it aluminium? Steel? Bolted? Welded? From a kit or plans or own design?

Do you find it at all useful?
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Old 25-06-2009, 15:32   #7
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I think in certain situations it'd be real useful. Being able to see a more distant horizon or entering many coral atolls (being higher up) finding your way around coral heads.
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Old 25-06-2009, 17:19   #8
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The crow's nest came with the boat, it is welded aluminum, I have not had occasion to use it yet, where it will come in handy is when I am scouting for salmon & albacore when I am in the fishing mode; also when I am in the south pacific, making land falls in the atolls, I can get up there and watch for coral heads & shallow spots. Yes Baranof island is quite beautiful, if you can stand the rain.
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Old 25-06-2009, 18:02   #9
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A yacht I crewed on through Bligh Channel, the Yasawas (Fiji) simply hoisted me up to the spreaders to look out for coral heads. Also when entering and departing Maupiti (Society Is.), anything but an easy channel to navigate.

Given the various devices available to enable climbing the mast easily, is a crow's nest really necessary (it's another piece of equipment requiring maintenance, creating addl wind resistence, and a potential obstruction)?

I realise it would add an additional margin of safety, however so can a harness secured to the mast.

Personally, I'm installing a forward sonar unit (Interphase) as a back-up to the "view from the spreaders" technique described above, and for when I'm single handing.
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Old 25-06-2009, 19:31   #10
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We installed folding mast steps and used the first set of spreaders as our crow's nest. As you can see from the picture, we wore a harness and tethered ourself to the mast or to the diamond stay for safety.

Because of the diamond stays on Exit Only, we could hold on to two stays, and we had the tether and harness for additional security. We went up to the first set of spreaders many times during our circumnavigation. It made navigating in coral much easier.

A true crow's nest would have been nice, but on Exit Only the spreaders were more than adequate for the job.

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Old 25-06-2009, 19:36   #11
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Great thinking, Dave. I see that the folding mast steps continue on up the mast - did you or your son ever go up to the second spreaders for an even better viewing position for any reason?

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Old 25-06-2009, 19:57   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaoJones View Post
Great thinking, Dave. I see that the folding mast steps continue on up the mast - did you or your son ever go up to the second spreaders for an even better viewing position for any reason?

TaoJones
We never went higher that the first spreaders when navigating in coral. The view was good at the first spreaders which were about 23 feet above the water. The trip up to the first spreaders was quick, taking less than a minute, and it was secure. There's less motion at the first spreaders in a seaway, and the motion would be significantly magnified and more violent at the second spreaders.

The only time we went to the second spreaders was to inspect the rigging and to work at the top of the mast. Everytime I made a passage, I climbed to the top of the mast to inspect all the rigging before leaving. During the circumnavigation (11 years), I replaced every piece of rigging except the two 12 mm cap shrouds which are still original. Since multihulls don't heel over, the rigging takes big stresses, and whenever I found a broken wire strand, I immediately replaced the damaged wire. Those mast steps kept us safe from losing our mast to broken rigging, and kept us safe when navigating in coral.

We also climbed to the second spreaders and mast head for photos.

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Old 25-06-2009, 19:59   #13
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BlueSovereign, I believe you are trading off one set of complications for another. I wonder which will require more attention, time, & money. An electronic device that puts another hole in the bottom of your boat, that requires electrical energy to operate, along with the attendant maintenance issues. Or an inert device that sits on the mast waiting for someone to perch?
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Old 25-06-2009, 21:09   #14
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BlueSovereign, I believe you are trading off one set of complications for another. I wonder which will require more attention, time, & money. An electronic device that puts another hole in the bottom of your boat, that requires electrical energy to operate, along with the attendant maintenance issues. Or an inert device that sits on the mast waiting for someone to perch?
Mate, I suspect you would agree with me that when it comes to yachts (sailboats are all called "yachts" in NZ) EVERYTHING and I do mean EVERYTHING is a trade-off!

I don't begrudge you your set-up.

However, when I think of:
  • all the bird **** your crow's nest inevitably will facilitate (and it will whether you want to admit it or not)
  • that it's another structural item requiring major holes to be made into your mast, with associated issues of metal corrosion
  • the impact of any structural item on a yacht in powerful winds (there is a reason why one takes off EVERYTHING DAMN THING you can when a hurricaine approaches)
  • its potential for hampering halyards, sails, spinaker poles, and the like
With all candour I'm happy to have a piece of bronze secured through the hull, using electronics that are 1,000 times more effective and accurate than the human eye, which is subjected to angles or glare of the sun, and water distortions.

Note I would likely have both someone on the spreaders (as the above post has) as well as using the Interphase.

That said, if you and I are both solo sailing I have an option you don't have ....

Based on experience I know Murphy is always looking over your shoulder ... just waiting to make things difficult when you can least afford it or need him to ... thus creating in effect a "solo" situation you never planned for.

Personally, though I love the concept, I'm even opposed to folding steps being installed, for many of the above mentioned reasons (mainly holes in the mast. There are, as I stated other options which can be inserted into your main-sail track to make it easy to climb a mast.

Again, I don't begrudge your approach, though based on my sailing 1/2 way round the world, my core mantra is two fold:
  1. a yacht has the potential for being a very dangeous place
  2. Safe BWC is all about risk management
IMHO, there are fewer risks and far less encumbrances via my proposed approach.
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Old 25-06-2009, 22:16   #15
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Ya' know I don't want to take this back to the mono vs multi thing but with a multi it's much more conceivable to be up on the mast while underway without an actual crows nest structure and remain secure & provide the input that's needed.

Cap'n58's setup seems really useful to me in the variety of ways he's described and while electronics are wonderful & provide great input, I would argue that they don't begin to provide the complexity of data that can replace eyesight even with the issues of glare & distortion that do exist.

Blue Sovereign, I don;'t disagree with your mantra/'s, but holes in the mast are managed by minimal maintenance (unless it's a wooden mast) and correct initial mast dimensions in the first place.
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