Originally Posted by Nicholson58
We use either the electric
self-tailing primaries in the cockpit
or the Milwaukee 1/2 inch right angle drill & winch
bit. We can use the winches at the mast
or the cockpit
. Always use two halyards and duct-tape the shackles closed. The self-tailers are OK but the lines also pass through rope clutches
or onto cleats
. Take the time to make the extra belays functional. I take a set of prusick loops with me to be able to seta 'ladder' to step up above the mast
top. Everybody's hardware
& layout is different. Just make sure you have redundant equipment
to stay safe. Don't be in a hurry.
I would caution you STRONGLY that at least two of the things you are doing are very dangerous. The first is the use of powered winches with a human on the end. Solenoids can and do stick, and sometimes the winch
will just free flow. When this happens it is all too easy to get a riding turn, and if you are close to the top of the mast, or below a vee in the rigging
you may be killed. I was present at the aftermath (a day later, and spoke to the guys who had to clean it up, friends of mine) of a horrific accident
in Jolly harbour a few years ago: a woman was putting a man up the mast using a powered winch. She paused during the ascent, and the winch kept going. It had already developed a riding turn, which, because it was continuing to pull under load could not be freed. At least you do have a safety
line… I believe they did not. She tried tripping the breaker but of course because it was a stuck solenoid the breaker had no effect, and up he continued to go… she began to panic, and tried frantically to free the line, trapping her hand in the process. Soon her entire body was being turned around by the winch, and she was screaming for help, and trapped her other hand in an effort to free the first. A neighbouring yachtsman came running onboard to help…. husband still going up towards his likely death… and to cut a bloody story short, the yachstman lost
all eight fingers, the woman both her hands and most of a forearm, before someone managed to cut the power to the winch, saving the man. He could easily have died as well. Try to imagine the consequences if some part of you gets trapped or snagged on the way up, say in the vee of a stay, and the winch fails to stop. What if you are right at the top, and the winch fails to stop… even for one second. It will burst the fitting and down you will come… even with a safety
line, if you fall only a couple of meters it can cause severe damage to you, as halliards are not climbing ropes and do not stretch… the effect would be similar to falling two meters onto concrete.
Secondly, it sounds like you are attaching yourself to the halliards using snap shackles. This is extremely dangerous and should never be done.
Shackles commonly suffer crevice corrosion
that is extremely difficult to identify and may fail suddenly and without any warning or indication. You must use either a figure of eight style climbing knot
or else bowline, and shackle the end to the harness/chair only as a means of stopping the shackes flopping about. There is no way adequately to inspect snap shackles, as the pins which hold the moving parts
are captive inside the joint. Further, subsequent to a fall they are doubly likely to fail. A correctly knotted line will not.
The milwaukee drill is far safer. Grinding manually or tailing and climbing… safer still and best practise.