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Old 09-01-2012, 12:41   #16
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Re: Mast Climber

As a follow-up to my last comment, if you choose to buy a Top Climber, a couple of tricks:

1. To be on the safe side you need a back-up safety line. For that I use a 2" nylon tether about 3' long that is attached to a separate mountain climbing ascender that I connect to a a spare halyard pulled taunt along the mast. If for any reason the grip of the harness cam fails, the back-up ascender will catch me. The back-up line also helps keep one from swinging too far although I do not set the primary line up immediately adjacent to the mast--within reach but not immediately adjacent--so that I don't keep bouncing off the mast as the boat rolls. One can also wear a water-ski life jacket to provide a bit of protection to ones upper body while climbing.

2. It's easy to loose one of the foot straps and a trial to get ones foot back into the thing once that happens. To prevent that, I use a piece of velcro one-wrap tightened around the tops of the foot straps just above my feet/shoes to keep them tight on my feet.

3. For hoisting tools/parts and what-not it helps to have a continuous loop of light line--I use 1/8" messenger line--that passes around a fixed point (pad eye/grab-rail or whatever) on deck and through a carabiner on my harness/belt. I stuff the line into one of the pockets on the harness and it pulls out as I climb. I have another carabiner connected to the line where the two ends are joined that allows one's "helper" to connect a bag containing whatever one needs to the line once the climber is situated. With the continuous line the helper can actually down-haul on the lazy side of the loop and host supplies up to the climber while tailing the bag to keep it from swining around. (This is particularly necessary is one needs climb while the boat's underway).

4. Lastly, we have a set of wireless headphone/mic units from cruising solutions that allow me to speak with my wife without undue difficulty while I'm up the mast. A little loop of line around the headphone strap connected to ones collar with an alligator clio ensures that one doesn't loose the unit if it comes adrift and it likely will at some point.

FWIW...
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:58   #17
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Re: Mast Climber

I've had a Top Climber for 4 years. Have used it extensively, once 7 times to the masthead in a day changing the headstay/furler. Climbing is easy but not effortless. I'm 67 and haven't had an issue getting to the top though the 7 trips in one day was a workout. Occasionally, I've broken out the Top Climber and gone to the mast head for the fun of it. Kind of a zen experience hanging up there. FWIW, the Top Climber saved my mast. When I got the Top Climber, went to the mast head just to get experience using it. Decided to check the shrouds and stays while I was up there and found broken strands on the headstay. Don't know how long before the rest of the strands gave up the ghost but it looked really ugly.

As others have said, you need to get the rope that you use for climbing with the TopClimber tight. I switched out my StaSet X main halyard for a dyneema cored rope and the low stretch line was significantly easier and more efficient to use. A rope with a lot of stretch wastes effort in overcoming the stretch in the rope.

The new Mast Climber has ascender hardware that can be clamped on the line anywhere via removable pin. The Top Climber that I have has to be threaded onto the climbing rope from the end. An inconvenience but not enough of a one for me to spend the $80 or so Etienne wants for the new climbing hardware to upgrade the old Top Climber. The Top Climber is claimed to need 1/2" halyard to work. I've been using it with 3/8" without a problem. Believe the newer hardware is supposed to work with 3/8"-1/2" line.

The bosun chair/climbing harness of the Top Climber is a great piece of kit. It's secure without being restrictive and comfortable for long periods up the mast. I've done things like install lazy jacks that required drillng and tapping multiple holes for mounting blocks. Was up the mast for several hours without discomfort.

I use a separate rope with a Prussic knot for backup though I doubt that I'll ever need it. The climbers don't seem to bother the dacron cover on the halyard, have never slipped or caused any sort of problem.
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Old 09-01-2012, 17:10   #18
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Re: Mast Climber

As a 64 yr old singlehander I find the Topclimber perfect for the job except for one thing. I can't get that extra foot or so I'd need to look over the top of the mast to repair wind instruments or anchor light. So I'm going to try putting in a few mast steps up there to see if that does the trick. I don't want to get too far up out of the seat but I don't see any other way to get up over the top.

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Old 09-01-2012, 17:16   #19
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Re: Mast Climber

And another thing - they suggest using the bag it comes in to hold tools but it's just too deep. Either use something else or hook it higher. And I'm going to start tethering everything. It's always humorous when the thing you need the most falls into the drink. And if you're going to need 3 screws - take 5 up with you.

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Old 09-01-2012, 17:26   #20
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Re: Mast Climber

Have you hooked the climber D ring into the lower ring on the seat/harness. That will get you a foot higher so you see the masthead. Haven't tried working with the harness in the alternate connection but you can definitely get your head above the masthead.

"It's always humorous when the thing you need the most falls into the drink."
One of the reasons that I went up the mast 7 times in one day.
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Old 09-01-2012, 17:32   #21
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Re: Mast Climber

Quote:
Originally Posted by perkie43 View Post
Does anyone have experience with these, or care to offer their opinion? I'm in the hunt for a bosun's chair and thought this design would be easier on the winches and my wife's arms too.
Yeah, we have one of these. (new and improved means resown) It works. Not very fast though, not like being hauled up on a winch. Only benefit; you can do it by yourself.
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Old 09-01-2012, 17:52   #22
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Thanks Rover - don't recall another attach point but will look.

Got a new idea to try Re dropping things - Harbor Freight sells a magnet strip with a hole on each end for mounting. May be a good way to hold onto things when aloft.

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Old 09-01-2012, 18:37   #23
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Re: Mast Climber

I bought a springy coiled lanyard that I attach to tie wraps with a puka around the handle of my tools. Did that after watching my brand new Bosch drill fall to the deck. Fortunately, it bounced to the middle of the boat instead of overboard. It was a 'come to Jesus' moment and I immediately went out and found a way to keep tools from falling.
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Old 09-01-2012, 19:06   #24
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I hope it isn't thread hijacking to discuss methods of hanging onto tools when aloft but a worthy discussion. Taking a line up with me is how I haul my cordless drill up. Then less weight to haul up and down.

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Old 10-01-2012, 10:33   #25
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Re: Mast Climber

Okay, the big question is whether using it is possible on the hard?
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:38   #26
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Re: Mast Climber

I have no problem with using the mastclimber on the hard. If the hull is blocked well enough it shouldn't be an issue.

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Old 10-01-2012, 11:09   #27
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Re: Mast Climber

so ... am I missing something or are they charging $400 for a bosuns chair, 2 ascenders, and some rope in a bag? Maybe also a climbing harness.

Your local climbing gym (or amazon, or google shopping) can give you the same for less than one third of the price.

But, of course, its a boating part ... made of special magic metal and foo-foo juice, so the price must be higher.

???
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:58   #28
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Re: Mast Climber

it would seem to me that you would still need mast steps at the top to give a stable platform to work on. If you wanted to check the halyard sheeve that you were using to ascend the mast you would need to take the weight off it by using the steps at the top? Any comments?
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:03   #29
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Re: Mast Climber

I've decided I need some mast steps at the top and am in the process of adding them.

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