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Old 14-10-2009, 09:11   #1
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Does Anyone Have or Use a Topclimber?

Based on the price and my fear of heights, a few months back, when I was shopping, I decided to go with a chair instead.

But after being up the mast a few times, possibly...er probably becoming a single handing cruiser or at least part time cruiser, and seeing it in action at the Annapolis show, I really like it.

My one major concern, though, is there doesn't seem to be any way to rig a safety line.
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Old 15-10-2009, 05:49   #2
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Why can't you rig a safety line, just as you would with a conventional (hoist from deck) chair?
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Old 15-10-2009, 05:59   #3
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I wanted to be able to go up the mast without any help, also. I bought a MastMate step climbing rig, but this safety line approach would work for a Topclimber, as well.

I use the spare main halyard to haul the MastMate up the mast, and the spinnaker halyard as a safety line. Attach the spin halyard to something sturdy at the base of the mast and winch it tight. Then use a climbing knot (Prussik, Klemheist, or the like) on the halyard, attached to your climbing harness. You just slide the knot up as you climb, and down as you descend.

That way you can do it all solo, and safely. I tested the setup with all my weight a few feet off the cabin top and it works great.
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Old 15-10-2009, 09:26   #4
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I bought the ATN topclimber, and while it is usable I would not buy another.

The climbing line has to be about as tight as a guitar string or you just can not get up. The process does get easier after the first few tries but still not easy.

I have seen home made set-ups with a standard chair and a pair of ascenders that do not have as much 'pre-load' to set and release. I think they would be better, and not as expensive. IMHO
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Old 15-10-2009, 10:19   #5
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I eventually went to using the drum on the windlass to haul the chair up. Boy you need to trust the person on the windlass to know what they are doing though....
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Old 15-10-2009, 11:20   #6
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Have a top climber and use it all the time, it's great. Went to the masthead 7 itmes in one day changing the headstay. Climbing is not effortless and takes a little time to set up but no help needed to get to the masthead. The more you use it, the easier and faster it gets to set up and climb. The TC worked better when I switched my main halyard, the one I use with the TC, to one of the new low stretch synthetics. With a stretchy or loose halyard, you waste a lot of energy overcoming line stretch. I use the Spinnaker halyard and a Prusik knot for a safety line.

FWIW, I'm 65 and no great physical specimen.
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Old 15-10-2009, 14:10   #7
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TC

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Have a top climber and use it all the time, it's great. Went to the masthead 7 itmes in one day changing the headstay. Climbing is not effortless and takes a little time to set up but no help needed to get to the masthead. The more you use it, the easier and faster it gets to set up and climb. The TC worked better when I switched my main halyard, the one I use with the TC, to one of the new low stretch synthetics. With a stretchy or loose halyard, you waste a lot of energy overcoming line stretch. I use the Spinnaker halyard and a Prusik knot for a safety line.

.
I also use a TC, yes it takes a time to get used to and I have also added a screw gate karibiner for piece of mind, use it on main halyard with topping lift as safety line. If SWMBO is not available for safety line duty I use a Petzl shunt but prussik knot will work just as well.
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Old 18-10-2009, 19:32   #8
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I have one and am very happy with it. Looked at a lot of systems, decided this one had the most positive feedback. Got mine on eBay, a lot cheaper than retail...
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Old 18-10-2009, 19:44   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. Considering that I already have a really nice chair, I think I'm going to go the adding ascenders and foot straps to my current rig route.
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Old 21-10-2009, 11:58   #10
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the top climber is TOPS

while it's clear this issue is settled, i can't resist jumping in...

i think the top climber is a superb piece of gear, and an essential item for short-handed offshore sailing. i've had one for at least a decade. a couple years ago, i customized the harness for my body size -- a nice improvement. most sailors are fit enough to use them. it allows one person to easily & safely go aloft... and even get a little bit above the masthead. i took mine on an atlantic crossing on a friend's boat. we had some masthead problems mid-atlantic. the TC is the only way i could have gone to the top and made those repairs at sea. yes, the control line has to be tight... but that's pretty easy to arrange on a sailboat with stout attachment points and winches. good sailing...
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Old 21-10-2009, 12:34   #11
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Wouldn't leave home with out my Top Climber. Went up the mast in12-15 ft seas and 25-30 knots wind half way between Hawaii and PNW to jerry rig a broken baby stay while my only crew manned the helm. I really doubt he could have hoisted me in a chair and controled the boat.
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Old 21-10-2009, 12:57   #12
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i use my rock climbing harness with a couple of prussik lines one line on the main halyard one on the spinnaker halyard. works fine for me.
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Old 29-10-2009, 07:02   #13
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Have it, use it, love it. It takes a little rythum.
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