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Old 24-08-2015, 18:17   #1
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Standing on a Bosun's Chair

I've been doing some refit at my masthead and I'm disappointed with the limited time that I can endure in my climbing harness or my bosun's chair. With either means I'm losing circulation in my legs over a span of about ten minutes.

I was thinking of using my climbing harness and hanging my bosun's chair just beneath my feet at a point where, upon standing on it, I could remain secure in my climbing harness and yet take some pressure from my thigh straps.

My plan would be to suspend the bosun's chair from a point near where my lifting halyard is attached to my harness so that this point is well above my center of gravity. With my feet in the bosun's chair I would relieve much of the pressure on my legs and remain aloft longer and in comfort.

I am thinking of setting this up experimentally at a point just a foot above my deck for a trial. Do any of you have experience with a similar plan or an alternative that might be useful for me?

BTW, I am using redundant security with a second chest harness and safety teather.

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Old 24-08-2015, 18:26   #2
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

The problem could be those leg straps,to tight on your legs and cutting the circulation, get rid off those straps or reléase the tensión , im using a bosum chair with straps but those are a bit loose , never got that problem and my record is 2 hours up there...

You need to feel confy at the chair but without loosing safety... Cheers.

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Old 24-08-2015, 19:39   #3
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

I know there are climbers on CF and I hope they will chime in. I was wondering if it is your harness that is causing the problem. Have you seen Brian Toss's climbing harness? Not cheap but they sure look good to me. Also look at Rigger's Harness and see how yours compares.
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Old 24-08-2015, 20:02   #4
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair


Do not try the double suspension gambit: I'm pretty sure your legs will go out from under you with that arrangement. But sure, test it, maybe an inch or two above the top of the deckhouse.

Add some foam padding to your bosun's chair's seat, so you can sit more comfortably in it. Or get advice on how to modify your climbing harness. I understand climbers just learn to live with the numbness happening.

Instead, using your now more useable bosun's chair, install two folding step at the right distance down from the masthead that you can easily bear down on the top of the mast crane with your tools. You might want to slide some large shrink tubing over where the hinge is, so as to eliminate rattle in the steps. Go up in your now more comfy bosun's chair, and use the steps when needed.

Do be careful.

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Old 24-08-2015, 20:12   #5
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

Of course be careful! Have you tried just adding some foot straps? You can go up with you feet out of them, then slip them on and stand up out of the sitting position. Much easier than trying to stand up on moving chair. Probably best with climbing harness vs. the chair. Use a good pair of shoes or even boots to avoid the constriction of the straps on you feet.

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Old 24-08-2015, 20:14   #6
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

As a climber I would say that this sounds quite unstable. Aid climbing is the process of using rope ladders (Etrier). Because of the single point of suspension the aider acts as a pendulum and "wobbles" back and forth. Part of the skill of aid climbing is bringing stability to the situation.

So suspending the bosuns chair without a firm attachment at the chair would lead to significant stability issues.

If you could lash it to the mast you may get away with it. (suspend from above and stabilize for side to side movement with a lashing.

Good luck and let us know how it works out (and try to not end upside down).
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Old 24-08-2015, 21:41   #7
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

I think I can see a similarity between your proposed configuration and that of a rope ladder hung over the side to climb aboard from the water. You will tend to assume a horizontal position, centered somewhere around your belly-button.

Sitting in a bosun's chair will support you close enough to your center of gravity to take most of the load off your hands and arms, and climbing harness. It's been used for centuries. Why isn't it working for you?
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Old 24-08-2015, 22:34   #8
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

Steps on the mast near the top are great, but if you don't have them, a quick alternative is a line tied tight between the stays to stand on. It works well to stand on for short periods and brace yourself on depending on what your doing.
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Old 25-08-2015, 07:14   #9
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

How about a loop of line attached via prusik knot? Cheap and simple and can be used as ascender/descender if the winch & belay crew take a holiday:

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Old 25-08-2015, 07:30   #10
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

Time at the mast head is painful.....why dont you simply make up two mast steps and then rivet them on? They shall see more than one use. Alternatively, if you are concerned about snagging you could use folding ones.
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Old 25-08-2015, 07:32   #11
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

How about a pair of collapsible steps at the mast head? A lot safer.

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Old 25-08-2015, 07:39   #12
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

Depending upon how fit/agile you are doing a headstand on the bosun's chair may relieve pressure on the legs for a while
Alternatively the masthead steps may be an easier option
Good luck with whichever you choose.
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Old 25-08-2015, 07:41   #13
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

Why don't you install two folding steps of equal height at a level near the top of your mast that you can transfer your weight to from your chair? When I was young, I always made my bos'ns' chairs with an extra tall yoke so I could stand up in it to work above the masthead. Still have one, although being an old guy now, have installed folding steps with two sets of level steps at the spreaders and masthead.
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Old 25-08-2015, 07:54   #14
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

Two foot loops made from webbing, with the foot loops tied together with about 30cm of cord. You "capture" the mast in the cord between the foot loops . . . Reasonably stable.

And, depending how high you set them (or have multiplfoot loops on each side) This will also allow you to stand on the loops and get above the masthead.

Some harnesses are more comfortable than others for long duration hangs.
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Old 25-08-2015, 07:58   #15
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Re: Standing on a Bosun's Chair

Haven't experienced you seat pain issue but I installed a pair of folding mast steps just below spreader and mast top where 95+% of long duration work occurs. Once I get up there I transfer over to the parallel mast steps and belt off (usually with some tension still on my chair). Easily good for hour or more, but rarely need that much time. The steps near the top are especially beneficial because it's hard to get all the way up and over mast top to work at very top of mast (wind instruments, VHF/ ham antennas, tri-color, shrouds/ stays) with conventional mast climbing options. But now that we are back from Caribbean, I have developed relationships with businesses that have 60' boom trucks (tree companies). If you can find a public bulkhead... for $100/ hour you can usually find someone to lift you up to do your work after regular hours. I have also arranged up to four boats, all needing an aerial lift to line up and share the lift truck to/ from drive expense (we each pay our own aerial time). Safer, easier, you have built-in experienced ground crew, and I do better work when my leg muscles aren't twitching!

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