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Old 14-07-2015, 08:04   #16
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Re: Installing Mast Steps with Mast Up

Originally Posted by pressuredrop View Post
just put steps on mine with the mast down, didnt feel like springing for folding steps so i made my own fixed ones out of 1/8" x 1" aluminum bar.... to get them strong enough they had to be made smaller then the standard triangles (still more then big enought for my feet... drilled and tapped alll the holes, the project took 2 days to make and install all the steps on my 35' mast, total cost - $50!!!!!! (aluminum 30 - hardware 7 - tefgel - 13) the total weight of all the steps/fasteners cant be more then 6 lbs... more than made up for by removing the retartedly oversided stainless angle brackets at the masthead for lights/antenna and replacing them with aluminum angle at a fraction of the weight..
Hi ! How far appart did you put your steps** ? I understand that there will be one on port, the next on starboard etc... all the way up...
So my question is how far appart port/starboard/port etc...
I intend to put two at the same level 4'1/2 from mast top to work confortably on mast top gear

Thanks for your help

**I'm quite nimble -or my age- & can raise my foot to a table top level around 2'1/2. I've got a 1987 Ericson 34 with a 51' mast from water level.
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Old 14-07-2015, 11:28   #17
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Re: Installing Mast Steps with Mast Up

Alain, this thread is several years old, but still very good information. Even if you are agile, I would not recommend putting them too far apart, since you might not be the only one to ever need to go up your mast. The other reason for normal spacing is that at sea, with a rolling pitching boat, everything is more difficult, and I think wide spacing would be more of a challenge. I dont remember what spacing I used,(others have said what they used) but I never felt like I wanted them farther apart. Also, remember that at the spreaders you want the one above the spreader on the same side of the mast as the one below the spreader. The spreader itself serves as the in-between step. I put steps on all three of my cruising boats and was glad. _______Grant.

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Old 14-07-2015, 12:27   #18
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Re: Installing Mast Steps with Mast Up

Please be very careful when drilling into a mast from a boson's chair.
If your drill bit catches the taught halyard running inside the mast and it's the only thing holding you off the ground...
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Old 25-07-2015, 19:10   #19
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Re: Installing Mast Steps with Mast Up

WEe Just installed some folding mast steps. (at the top of the mast only) We unstepped the mast first and it wasn't that hard, made the job so much easier. It is a great opportunity to inspect the mast while it is down. Highly recommend it!

I agree with the idea of drilling and tapping!
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Old 26-07-2015, 11:04   #20
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Re: Installing Mast Steps with Mast Up

Watched a guy install mast steps on his boat in the marina. Used a bosun's chair and rivets. He was working solo, took a lot of trips up and down the mast and two days and lots of hours to do the job. Came out okay though he screwed up a couple of the steps and got them cocked a bit. All in all, would much rather watch this than be doing it myself.

Have installed steps on three masts with it sitting on horses, way way way easier. Did two with drilled and tapped machine screws. Takes a bit of time but works well. Wouldn't worry about chafing on a halyard if you use the minimum length fasteners. Pop rivets stick farther into the mast than a proper sized threaded fastener.

Did my last set using SS pop rivets. Tried setting the rivets with a hand tool. My hands and wrists gave out on the first step. Bought a pneumatic rivet tool from Harbor Freight and made the job possible. Don't know how anyone could set a bunch of SS rivets even with high quality plier type tool without Popeye fore arms. Wouldn't trust aluminum rivets. Have seen way too many of those fail with minimum stress placed on them.

Ran the steps to the mast head on the first boat. Wouldn't recommend it. The one time I tried to work at the mast head using the steps found it painfully unpleasant. You have to lash yourself to the mast or be real good at working with one hand. Standing on the steps got tiring very fast. The one or two other times I used the steps climbed up using the steps but worked from a bosun's chair that my wife secured to a winch. Had constant issues with the steps snagging halyards and generally found them unsat. Stopped at the spreaders on the other boats. Primarily used the steps to get to the spreaders to navigate in the reefs and atolls in SoPac. They were very handy for that but not for much else.

Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
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