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Old 19-02-2012, 18:59   #31
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Re: How do you climb the Mast ??

There have been several other threads on this topis, so a search would turn up more info.
A couple of notes;
- ascenders work well
- prusik knots are cheaper, but grip tight and are harder for a beginner to use - could be frustrating, and consume more energy to go up.
- a great alternative to the prusik knot is the kleimheist knot, which still bites enough to hold your weight in acsending, but slides much more easily than a prusik, when the weight is off (ie, when moving up a foot or so, before weighting again)
- I always use a backup on a spare halyard with a prusik
- Please practice this stuff a few feet off the ground, before going higher. make sure you can go up, down, that you are backed up on separate line, etc.
- Prusik and kleimheist knots need to be "tended", which means that you have to keep an eye on them, sometimes taking a bit of slack out, so they will still grab if you fall, or adding a bit of slack, so they aren't a nuisnace, and are grabbing too much to move up or dowm, when needed.

Be very careful, when using ascenders or knots to ascend, not to introduce too much slack in your safety line. Always keep it with something like a few inches of slack or less. Even a short fall, ie one or two feet, onto a static halyard line, by a 200lb person will cause huge loads on the system. If interested, google something like fall factors in climbing. A climber that falls 5 ft on only 5 ft of static rope, will have much more force applied to him, through the harness, that a climber who falls 20 ft on 40 ft or rope. (the latter had better not ground out, nor hit a ledge, however)
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Old 19-02-2012, 19:48   #32
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Re: How do you climb the Mast ??

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
I've got the ATN Top Climber, combination seat/harness with ascenders. ... Can't recommend it highly enough though they aren't cheap. The big advantage over a harness and ascenders is the seat is truly comfortable for long hangs working on the mast. It's a very well thought out system.
+1 Have used the ATN climber for the last few seasons. I'm far from fit, but I find the climber to be fairly easy to use, and very comfortable to work in. It can be used as a straight bosun's chair if desired, but it's great being able to go up the mast on my own, especially since we sail with just two on board.

It does take some practice to get the feel of things, and the cost is relatively high, but it is a well thought out system that works as advertised.
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Old 19-02-2012, 20:06   #33
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Re: How do you climb the Mast ??

I winch my wife up. I told her that the alternative was to winch me up.
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Old 19-02-2012, 20:17   #34
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Re: How do you climb the Mast ??

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That's great to hear. I've been on the fence about getting one. Might just pick one up now.
RH - I bought the ATN Mast Climber and it paid for itself when servicing my windex and annometer. Highly recommend,
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Old 19-02-2012, 20:44   #35
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Re: How do you climb the Mast ??

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RH - I bought the ATN Mast Climber and it paid for itself when servicing my windex and annometer. Highly recommend,
Don
For you and everyone else with the ATN, I thought you had to have a permanent line rigged and not just use a halyard? Not sure if I have a spare line that goes all the way up that I could always keep dedicated.
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Old 19-02-2012, 20:58   #36
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Re: How do you climb the Mast ??

That ATN Mastclimber gets my tick of approval, and a place on the shopping list....

Darwin about 10 years ago, a fellow cruiser got half way up his mast and fell breaking his leg, three weeks later he paid an "expert" to do the job....he fell breaking an arm AND a leg......[shakes head]

At the enquiry (sailing club beer garden) alcohol was deemed to be a contributing factor on both occasions.....
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Old 20-02-2012, 01:20   #37
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Re: How do you climb the Mast ??

Ive got steps to the top of the mast so i use an ascender as a safety - no wear on the lines because it only bites if i fall - which i dont. once im up i use a carabiner. I havent figured how to get to the top of the mizzen yet cos the halyards arent substantial enough that i trust them with my weight and ther are steps to the crosstree but nothing from there up. guess ill fit a climbing halyard when i replace the outer maizzen shrouds in the next few weeks - the other possibility is to tie temporary rope steps
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Old 20-02-2012, 04:49   #38
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Re: How do you climb the Mast ??

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Ok related question: Will my mast support my weight? I weigh 200lbs, the mast is deck stepped with good solid core, the mast is 28' off the deck and is extruded aluminium. I have this fear that if i go up the mast will buckle.

Just hang off a halyard, with your feet just above the deck, if the mast does not buckle, unlikely, then your OK.
Your weight will be acting at the top of the mast, whether you are physically at the top of the mast, or a few inches off the deck
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Old 20-02-2012, 05:50   #39
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Re: How Do You Climb the Mast ??

I used to haul myself up by a 4:1 but I've had shoulder surgery and not as strong as I was. A buddy uses the ATN and another uses the mountain climbing widgets. An older couple suggested prussik knots.
I made a bosun's chair out of maple plank and added a 12V winch from Harbor Freight. I replaced the winch cable with dynema, about 120 ft, ran that through a block and back down to the other side of the bosun's chair. The bosun's chair has the winch motor on one end and gell cell battery on the other. It has a remote control switch. I release the winch drum and haul the block up the mast however high I want to go, then engage the winch. I use a separate harness and safety line with a rapelling descender. It is important to test the line supporting your weight to make sure it can hold 2X the weight or more. Fittings can fail also. I've seen several instances of experienced riggers falling. You can fall out of traditional bosun's chairs and get inverted in some harnesses. If you have someone on deck hauling you up, loose tools, or unfastened gear can fall and injure them. Having someone around to call 911 or radio for help is a good idea.
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Old 20-02-2012, 12:06   #40
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Oh, I went up my mast yesterday for the first time (first time up A mast) and honestly I was terrified. Hubby sent me up in the bosun chair to change a light, I got up and was too chicken to get to work so I got him to bring me down.

Then we were going through "the ropes" for me to take him up, but I was kicking myself and I knew I would be soo annoyed at myself if I didn't do it, so I got him to take me back up. After looking at how everything works again it did make me feel more at ease.

Anyways, went back up, equally as scared as last time but got the job done. Guess its all so new to me, hubby built our boat and put all the rigging in himself and I know I'm in very capable hands with him, don't know what was wrong with me! Want to do it again though to just get used to being up there, I'm sure there will be many more times I need to be up there!
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Old 20-02-2012, 12:15   #41
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Re: How do you climb the Mast ??

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
For you and everyone else with the ATN, I thought you had to have a permanent line rigged and not just use a halyard? Not sure if I have a spare line that goes all the way up that I could always keep dedicated.
The older models required a dedicated line so you could fish the the line through the ascender mechanism. ATN's current model has a cutout for the line, so you lace the halyard through the side of the ascender.

One other point - I was surprised at how much stretch was in my halyard. This introduced some swinging. I suppose I didn't have the halyard snug as tight as needed.
Don
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Old 20-02-2012, 12:40   #42
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Re: How do you climb the Mast ??

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
For you and everyone else with the ATN, I thought you had to have a permanent line rigged and not just use a halyard? Not sure if I have a spare line that goes all the way up that I could always keep dedicated.
We use a dedicated ultra-low stretch line (1/2" I think) which we hoist up using an existing halyard. You certainly can connect the climber to any halyard, as Capt.Don says, but most of us relaxed cruisers have probably settled on mid-range line which will stretch quite a bit. The climber's grips are also pretty aggressive (a good thing) so you want a line that has strong sheath. This is why I use a dedicated high strength line.
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Old 20-02-2012, 12:40   #43
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Re: How do you climb the Mast ??

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
For you and everyone else with the ATN, I thought you had to have a permanent line rigged and not just use a halyard? Not sure if I have a spare line that goes all the way up that I could always keep dedicated.

Still haven't used mine yet, but I've loaned it out a few times and received positive reviews.

The web site now says a dedicated line is no longer needed.

It's worth noting the line doesn't or shouldn't come straight down but rather at an angle away from the mast and taut. Good videos on the web page.

ATN Mastclimber
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Old 20-02-2012, 15:51   #44
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Re: How Do You Climb the Mast ??

I've got the TopClimber, old model, and use my main halyard to ascend. Do have to thread the bitter end of the halyard through the ascenders but it's not a big problem. Had StaSet X halyard but found it stretchy for using the Top Climber. Switched to Dyneema, or something similar, cored 3/8" rope and it's worked a charm. Virtually no stretch so there is no more wasted motion. The TopClimber is supposed to only work with 1/2" line but has worked fine with the 3/8th Dyneema cored line. Don't know why anyone would use a dedicated climbing line unless you had internal halyards with stripped cover halyards. I just tie off the sail hoisting end of the main halyard, run the halyard around a winch and winch it bar tight. The halyard runs straight down the mast and is not a problem. I don't use a shackle on any of my halyards, just tie them off with a buntline hitch or bowline. If you are working on the forward or aft part of the mast, a lot easier to have the 'TopClimber' on the side where you are working.
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Old 20-02-2012, 16:12   #45
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Re: How Do You Climb the Mast ??

We hoist a climbing rope using one halyard which I clip onto using my climbing harness and a belay device. My wife winches me up using another halyard and the bosun's chair while I help things along by taking up the slack on the climbing rope. Works for us and my wife has really nice shoulders .
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