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Old 09-01-2012, 06:12   #1
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Mast Climber

Please view the 8 minute video -

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.
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:48   #2
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Re: Mast Climber

I am in my mid-60's and have been using a Top Climber for about 10 years. If you are able to do pull-ups and squawts without too much difficulty, the system works well but, with a tall mast, you will have sore legs unless you're in good shape. Some have used mountain climber ascenders and harnesses as an alternative to the Top Climber for some savings but the process is about the same.

FWIW...
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:52   #3
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Re: Mast Climber

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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.
Hi Perkie, we purchased one and used it to do some mid-mast and masthead work at the dock last summer. We bought it to allow one person to go up on his/her own (short handed crew). It can also be used as a straight bosun's chair. There's definitely a technique to master, but you quickly get better with just a few climbs. I found it quite easy to ascend. Descending is actually harder (at least for me), but no big deal.

I would say it is fairly easy to rig, and to use -- at the dock. I haven't tried it in rolling seas. It will definitely be a much harder to use when all hell is breaking lose, but that's the case with any climbing system (steps, bosun's chair, etc.).

I found that it was essential to make the climbing line as taut as possible. I'm also going to get an quick release belt of some sort that I can use it to clip around the mast once I'm in place to keep me close to the mast. With my weight (220#) I found it a challenge to stop from swinging around.

Overall I like the climber.
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Old 09-01-2012, 07:37   #4
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Re: Mast Climber

Do all cruisers carry or install some way to get to the tip of the mast? How common are problems up there?

I'm only asking because until now it's been one of those little details that I hadn't thought out. Tip of a Gemini mast is, I think, 45 ft. I can see that I will want to be able to get to antenna and blocks and lines, and wind sensors. I've seen the folding steps , but don't like the idea of drilling holes in aluminium and putting a different metal in contact. Not even a slightly different mix of aluminium, we have found.
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:04   #5
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Re: Mast Climber

Be careful of that long hair! It could cause a serious accident if caught in the assender.
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:09   #6
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Re: Mast Climber

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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Do all cruisers carry or install some way to get to the tip of the mast? How common are problems up there?
I would say all cruisers in my self-selected crowd have some means to go aloft. Most carry a bosun's chair as a minimum. Many have mast steps, and a few of us carry a climber. I've never had an emergency (yet) where I had to go to the top, but we've had a few problems to solve (anchor light out, rigging new halyards, etc.).

If you don't drop your mast every few years I would say it is essential to have some sort of means to go to the top. Good for standing-rig inspection as well.
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Old 09-01-2012, 08:31   #7
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Re: Mast Climber

Thanks for the assessment and opinions. We'll go with the mask climber. Hurricane Irene broke our wind vane (the arrow) in half. I've done the bosun's chair on our previous Beneteau 28, but now we have a Manta 42 and the mast is considerably taller.

Thanks again,
Craig and Mary
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:34   #8
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Re: Mast Climber

We bought one, and have only used it once. As noted, the first time it will wear you out, until you figure it out.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:40   #9
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Re: Mast Climber

You may want to check out this thread from the Ericson Forums. Relevant comments from a few users.

http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexchange/showthread.php?9336-ATN-s-new-Mastclimber!-NOT!
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:41   #10
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Re: Mast Climber

I bought ascenders to do the same basic thing... just waiting until the boat goes in the water to give them a try. I already had the climbing harness, but my wife has trouble winching me to the top.
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:33   #11
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Re: Mast Climber

I have a Top Climber and as a single sailor have used it extensively - once set up to your liking (play around for an afternoon to get the height dimensions of the lines right for you) you get the hang of it quickly. Some tips:
- Only use a halyard which runs through a mast sheave and tighten that line to the max.
- To keep me close to the mast I use a short line attached to one of the mainsail track runners.
- Do not forget a safety line with a Prussic knot!
- Wear some kind of shoes/hiking boots with a rough sole to prevent your feet from slipping out of the loops.
Good mast climbing!
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Old 09-01-2012, 11:51   #12
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Re: Mast Climber

I bought the ATN MastClimber and it works well and as described. As others have mentioned, it takes a bit of hand/feet coordination to move the ascenders up/down. Also, keep the line tight. I was able to make 2 trips to the mast in a single afternoon to repair my wind instrument. I did feel muscles in my legs that I didn't know I had for several days afterwards! Highly recommend.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:12   #13
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Re: Mast Climber

We just set up our mast climbing gear yesterday ( no breeze to sail in ) and both my wife and I had climbing harness from several years ago and we bought climbing assenders and yesterday we set up our webbing for climbing using a neighbors ATN MastClimber as the correct lengths. We both climbed our mast before dark.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:21   #14
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Re: Mast Climber

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We just set up our mast climbing gear yesterday ( no breeze to sail in ) and both my wife and I had climbing harness from several years ago and we bought climbing assenders and yesterday we set up our webbing for climbing using a neighbors ATN MastClimber as the correct lengths. We both climbed our mast before dark.
Would love to see photos of how you rigged it. I was going to purchase slings to run from either ascender today, but wasn't sure what length I'm going to us.
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Old 09-01-2012, 12:41   #15
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Re: Mast Climber

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Originally Posted by funjohnson View Post
Would love to see photos of how you rigged it. I was going to purchase slings to run from either ascender today, but wasn't sure what length I'm going to us.
We didn't take pic's of the gear but the webbing with foot loops comes up to about your waist to the assender and the upper assender is about head height that attaches to your harness. On the foot loop section it has a second loop just above the foot loop to run the rope thru to keep you close to the rope, we also used an additional short loop about 12 inches to attach the harness to the rope with a caribeaner so you don't swing away from the rope. Now you see why we borrowed the top climber to get ideas. Remember to use a left and right hand assenders.
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