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Old 03-04-2011, 17:20   #1
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Up the Mast In the Wind

Wind gusting to 35 knots.

Me 50' above the deck clinging to the mast as it sways back and forth, with 12v drill, tap, helicoil inserts, Duralac, Loctite, bolts, fitting, screwdriver... all the while shaking like a leaf (heights have never been my strong suit).

Next time I'll just pay a mast rigger (actually, I probably won't, but I will at least wait for a calm sunny day).
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Old 03-04-2011, 17:27   #2
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Re: I'm too old for this s#*t!

Reminds me of one of the best lines ever said. In the video about sailing the square rigger Peking around Cape Horn someone asked Irving Johnson if he was scared climbing up those tall masts to furl the sails, and he said something like, "No, it would be silly to let go, now wouldn't it?"
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Old 03-04-2011, 17:38   #3
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Re: I'm too old for this s#*t!

I don't understand. Was there some emergency that required you to go up in such conditions? If not, what were you thinking?

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Old 03-04-2011, 17:48   #4
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Re: I'm too old for this s#*t!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weyalan View Post
Wind gusting to 35 knots.

Me 50' above the deck clinging to the mast as it sways back and forth, with 12v drill, tap, helicoil inserts, Duralac, Loctite, bolts, fitting, screwdriver... all the while shaking like a leaf (heights have never been my strong suit).

Next time I'll just pay a mast rigger (actually, I probably won't, but I will at least wait for a calm sunny day).
This is why you have children and Grand kids... Send them up the mast. Of course after intense training on what you want done up there
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Old 03-04-2011, 17:52   #5
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Re: I'm too old for this s#*t!

No emergency, just me being stubborn. In reality, there is no particular extra danger in going up the stick in windy conditions, just in my head. And I hate being disempowered by my own mental fraility, so up I went. I don't like it that I get scared relatively easily. Confronting my fear is what passes for courage, for me, I guess. Plus if I didn't do the job, we wouldn't be able to use our new furling headsail next weekend.
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Old 03-04-2011, 18:19   #6
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Re: Up the Mast In the Wind

Still haven't tried out the Top Climber (one man bosun's chair) that was in my boat when purchased. Every time I mention it someone with more money than me states how it's only about a hundred bucks to get someone else up there.

I think "only" a hundred bucks. The thing costs four hundred and I'm glad to have it. Every time I go up there unassisted it's gonna be like money in the bank, if I don't fall.

My foredeck light started working again on it's own, missed my chance.

Need to go up and take a look around sometime soon.
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:38   #7
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Re: Up the Mast In the Wind

Hmm. I bought a similar system to the topclimber using better quality climbing gear. I had a few shots at going up. Got just past the spreaders. Inevitably one looks around, and I was not very happy.
Eventually had to get someone in, which caused quite a delay. The work was more complex than I had thought and required two trips with quite a while up there working with two hands.
Incidentally the guy who went up said at first he had been scared but now was used to it. I guess it would come with practice, though I don't have much reason to go up other than exceptionally.
I wouldn't say I was that scared of heights but not that happy with them either.
Obviously younger fitter more gung ho types would find it easier, and just asking around some owners can but many can't.
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:04   #8
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Re: Up the Mast In the Wind

Don't mind heights and have mast steps w/ tether attached as I go up. No problem in calm conditions, BUT, always wonder just how much rolling the boat can do before my weight creates a force that drives the rig past the point of stability (around 135 degrees on my boat). I wonder what that angle is reduced to with my weight right at the top of the mast. Factors would include speed and momentum as well as basic mechanical advantage numbers. Any of you engineering buffs have an idea about this?
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:20   #9
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Re: Up the Mast In the Wind

I saw a pro up there for an entire afternoon a few weeks ago. It got complicated because he had to remove the mast top cap (term?) to complete the work.

He seemed fine with it, except for when the boat owner had to raise or lower him. There was a distinct change in his voice and demeanor at those times. "Have you done this before?", "Don't let go.", were a couple of the notable terms used.

I like the self climbing nature of the Top Climber, I think.

Does anyone think the Top Climber is unsafe or so poorly constructed as to be dangerous?

Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to rig a "self belay" setup as a safety device?

Saving money is not my only motivation as I wish to be prepared to act if needed when no help is available. I'm not young, but I think gung-ho means can-do, or we-can-do, in Chinese and I am that.
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:51   #10
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Re: Up the Mast In the Wind

I did this a few times with one of those expensive seat things ( a plank on some fancy ropes). Only when tied to the pontoon and with the tide out so we were settled on mud (Love Cats).
I hope I'll never have to do it at sea, though I reckon a lifeline (two) around the mast will stop me slamming into it if I don't get too far from it. But doing some useful work ???
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:18   #11
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Re: Up the Mast In the Wind

I had to climb our mast off-shore more than once - 84 feet off the water. I wear a flat life jacket for padding and keep a line around the mast as I go up (electric winch) to keep me close to the mast. Last time I had to retrieve the top furler after the webbing broke on the head sail. When i got down I was bruised from chest to knees including the important parts.
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Old 14-04-2011, 07:09   #12
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Re: Up the Mast In the Wind

Wearing some protective head gear would also help if climbing the mast offshore - at least two caps or even a helmet (most don't carry these onboard however).

The mast is doing it's best to shake one down, so getting banged up there is the norm...whew!
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Old 14-04-2011, 08:34   #13
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Re: Up the Mast In the Wind

It can be a very painful experience, An athletic cup might be a good investment to protect the jewels.
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Old 14-04-2011, 08:47   #14
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I found that two level mast steps at the top of the mast took a lot of the pucker power out of working at the top.I also had mast steps for the rest of the main, and on the long barefoot runs across the Pacific, would visit the top twice a day, just to check the nip on the DRS.
I had two occasions offshore where I HAD to be up there,because of halyard wraps on the jib and I had a 9 year old on the main halyard winch, and the steps were a godsend.
Jon
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Old 14-04-2011, 10:46   #15
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Re: Up the Mast In the Wind

But that sounds like the boat was at the dock. Out at sea it is twice the fun.

b.
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