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Old 29-04-2013, 10:52   #16
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Wow, I had the same problem with my mast climber, I just thought it was me. My screw in pin on the shackle unscrewed itself and while standing at the spreaders I tightened it up and came back down. I zip tied them close and since then, I added a second main halyard so as I climb my wife takes up the slack on the second one. Well worth the the time and aggregation of puting it in. A hudge peace of mind, plus if my main halyard breaks i have a spare.
@ kettewell, what a great idea on the ladder, can you post a pic of it. Is it something you made or bought?
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Old 29-04-2013, 11:15   #17
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
I have a small, light roll-up caving ladder I can hoist up the mast on a haliard, and then fasten the bottom down tight, then climb right up. It takes a little getting used to, but once you have the idea of balancing your weight by putting one foot in from one side and one in from the other, it works pretty well. Once up to where I want to be I clip myself to the mast. Rolled up it is about the diameter of a very small sleeping bag, but only about 12 inches wide.
I have one, too. Mine is stainless (many are galvanized), I found it in a mountaineering & caving shop.

I used it twice but at the time, my mainsail halyard stretched too much under my weight and my topping lift wasn't suitable as a safety line.

Now that I have Dyneema halyards and topping lift, I might try again.

The point in using steps, a ladder, ATN climber or the like is to get rid of the friction on the halyard between the person and the winch. On my boat, there are 3 sheaves (1 at the masthead, 2 on deck), all without ball bearings.

Alain
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Old 29-04-2013, 16:46   #18
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FYI I got this response for. ATN, "I am using cotter ring/ smooth clevis pin for the Mastclimber, because of my experience with screw on pin with the Topclimber which, if screwed from left to right, had the tendency to unscrew themselves with the up and down motion of the climbing. this is the first time I hear of a problem with the cotter ring: I can only think that the cotter ring got caught on something and fell, and I you said, the up and down motion forced the clevis pin backward... I think I should use heavier duty cotter rings."

I still think that the correct solution is the one that was suggested here- carabiner with a screw closing latch.
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Old 29-04-2013, 16:55   #19
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

My caving ladder looks like this one, but I'm pretty sure it is longer than 10 meters. It's been awhile since I used it since I added mast steps.
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Old 29-04-2013, 20:21   #20
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

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Going up my mast is never a solo affair. if you go up my mast, I will be there, and you will have a safety line. I know how to use that safety line and will glad to be your backup, but no one goes up my mast alone.
Neighbors are not always available to help, but if anyone is around I will always ask...if for no other reason to send up a forgotten part or another tool to avoid multiple round trips up the mast. The ATN requires a lot more effort than mast steps, several round trips in a day is a bit of a workout
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Old 29-04-2013, 21:30   #21
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

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Neighbors are not always available to help, but if anyone is around I will always ask...if for no other reason to send up a forgotten part or another tool to avoid multiple round trips up the mast. The ATN requires a lot more effort than mast steps, several round trips in a day is a bit of a workout
To me, going up the mast on steps would be a workout, but I have weak legs.

If I (or my spouse/partner) had to do that, I would want steps on the mast. I know hard core racers don't like them, but they make a lot of sense to me.

I can only say what will happen (as law) on my boat, and that is that there will be a second person, there will be a safety line, and there will be a person on that safety line when the person up the mast is moving. Otherwise, it's hitched off. Even going up and down for items, to me, greatly increases the risks.

Just about everything we do on a sailboat is at least potentially risky (well maybe not changing the oil, but then there's the risk of spraying dirty engine oil all over your living room -- THAT'S a thought that makes me cautious!)

But some things are considerably more dangerous than others, and going up the mast is one of them.
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Old 30-04-2013, 04:29   #22
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Moderators.......


Please close this thread before the essential info is completely lost!!!!
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Old 30-04-2013, 05:08   #23
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

As this concerns a critical piece of gear I'll remind all that cotter pin has different meanings in different places.

In Australia what seems to be referred to as a cotter pin we would call a split pin.

Here a cotter pin would most likely be held in place by a split pin.
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Old 01-05-2013, 19:20   #24
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

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As this concerns a critical piece of gear I'll remind all that cotter pin has different meanings in different places.

In Australia what seems to be referred to as a cotter pin we would call a split pin.

Here a cotter pin would most likely be held in place by a split pin.
yeah i was wondering about that...

i've recently been using a knot that i thought was called a midshipmans but im not sure - its 3 turns up the stay then down and 1 turn same way under the rope and thru - bloody carabiner just gets in the way - one of those on each main shroud and i can hang up there all day. Wiggle it and it slides up or down then resets under load. Very high tech - figure eight knots onto the harness, not much to go wrong 'cept the ropes looking a bit old...
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Old 21-08-2013, 00:31   #25
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

Split pins are cotter pins. They go in the end of clevis pins to keeo them in place.

Have used my Top Climber a lot and never had an issue with the screw type shackles backing out. Probably been up the mast more than 40 times, twice last week, without problems. Climb on the main Dyneema main halyard because of it's ultra low stretch. Makes climbing way easier than with a stretchy line. Use a line with a Prusik hitch on a separate halyard as a safety line. Almost always climb by myself. Not that many people hanging around the marina that want to sit around and watch me going up the mast. The Top Climber isn't exercise free to climb with but it's not that hard. Will admit that I was a little tired after climbing the mast 7 times in a morning when I changed the headstay under the roller furling.
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Old 21-08-2013, 06:59   #26
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

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Thanks, a locking carabiner would not chafe and will not need to be taped.

Once above the spreader I wrap a rope around the mast and fasten it to the eye immediately above the seat. When I clear the upper shroud, I move the rope above the uppers. The whole idea behind the ATN mast climber is that you don't need a ground person. But for those who posted about the secondary halyard, with a fractional rig, there is only one halyard at the masthead.
I'm glad you revealed the name of the climbing gear (intentionally or otherwise), I also use the ATN equipment and now know to recheck the pins, which I will this afternoon. Circular retainer rings can be problematic although convenient. Where the gear is mission critical, they should not be used.

FWIW...
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Old 21-08-2013, 09:39   #27
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

If you prefer a ladder, I can recommend the MastMate (mastmate.com). It is hauled up with a halyard and has slugs to fit into the mast groove, so it doesn't sway around. Strong and well-built.

It comes with a safety belt (with tool pouch). You connect the belt around the mast, so you can't fall any further than the next spreader :-(

Once at the top of the mast, the MastMate has two steps at the same level, so you can stand there and work, held in place by the safety belt so both hands are free.

The only problem with the MastMate is that the steps are rather far apart and this can be hard on the knees.

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Old 21-08-2013, 15:03   #28
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

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I'm glad you revealed the name of the climbing gear (intentionally or otherwise), I also use the ATN equipment and now know to recheck the pins, which I will this afternoon. Circular retainer rings can be problematic although convenient. Where the gear is mission critical, they should not be used.

FWIW...
Your welcome- safety notices need the manufacturer. I finally settled on using a straight cotter pin and wrapping it before the climb and unwrapping it after. I have used both sail tape, first aid tape (the thick stuff)- heck duct tape would even work in a pinch. Just something to secure the cotter pin and prevent chaffing.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:30   #29
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

I had the same thing happen, twice. Once the round pin snagged on another halyard, second time it snagged on my shirt. I was lucky. Someone is going to die or get seriously hurt.

Why? Because the manufacturer wants to save $0.50 profit by putting in cheap pins. Too bad I can't find another brand besides A_ _ .

If you have one of these mast ascenders replace the round pins with stainless steel heavy grade. Then, with needle nose pinch the ends in so there is no way to snag on anything.

Be safe...!

Good Post !
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Old 02-03-2014, 14:11   #30
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Re: Near Catastrophic Failure of Mast Climber Gear

We're fortunate to have good mast steps. The racers may not like them but for cruising they're great.

We only use climbing gear with screw lock shackles and never cotters, spiral rings etc.

When I climb my wife tends to the safety halyard. We never solo climb. We also give feedback and confirmation while working aloft.

The biggest risk is forgetting to check something before climbing. A proven checklist is crucial.

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