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Old 04-06-2016, 10:34   #16
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Re: what distance should mast steps have ?

I'd also recommend two even steps


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Old 04-06-2016, 10:44   #17
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Re: what distance should mast steps have ?

I'd also recommend two even steps at top (one on either side of mast). What a difference when you have bigger projects at top. (I did same at arms where for working on/ replacing the deck lights, flag halyards. Recommend the folding type steps for main where you absolutely DON'T want things to catch. I did use the 'triangle' steps on the mizzen. Also wish I had installed then closer than 18"... thought/ and have managed ok for the few times you really have to go up, but 12-14" would be sooo much better, especially at near 70. A lot of folks skimp at the bottom. Make it easy... and it's safer if you have to go up in a storm... which is usually when you have to go up!


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Old 04-06-2016, 18:23   #18
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Re: what distance should mast steps have ?

Is it more useful to place the steps so I ascend the mast from forwards or aft?

Maybe not a big issue on a smaller cross-section mast but on a 70' stick probably a few inches difference.

There are usually more halyards on the front of the mast cap than aft, maybe easier to get started at the deck level cos the boom and mainsail are a nuisance.

I have seen some bigger yachts with a winchable elevator on a track on the front of the mast - wonder how practical this is on a 70' rig?


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Old 04-06-2016, 19:25   #19
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Re: what distance should mast steps have ?

My steps are 16 to 18 inches apart, but I have constant problems with one of the hallards getting tangled up on them. I recently was caught out in a squall and could not get my main sail down! I have considered connecting them with webbing or rope. Has anyone else had this problem?
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Old 04-06-2016, 21:02   #20
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Re: what distance should mast steps have ?

All good questions... see you are really thinking this through (before ordering/ drilling any holes?). Mine are centered and on the p/s faces of the mast and don't have trouble accessing climbing up aft or bow side or switching mid- height/ often use spreaders for that, but at top you can just find you need to be on the other side. (I suppose we all have our own method of getting on other side of mast... I go down a step or two, get a good grip on higher step and 'hang' with arm strength while making a quick left to right foot swap in a chosen step, then finish swinging around to other side, and back up on opposite side.) I recommend you always have TWO safety lines... a short 6' or so that you clip to next step as you move up/ down and a halyard that goes down to deck crew (wife) via around a winch drum which they keep just less than tight. If you ever slip... it will be the difference between a fright or a flight (with a likely very very unhappy landing).

Regarding an 'elevator' ride up/ down... the closest I seen/ done is using a variable speed w/ high & low gear shift Milwaukee 24v battery angle drill with a jawed bit that fits your winch like a winch handle. Use the low 0-600 rpm position. Even a small frame assistant can leverage their body against the end of the drill and slowly lift you up at controlled speed using the variable speed trigger. Slow to start... a little faster as you lift off/ get in a rhythm with legs/ arms slip-guiding you you... slow again as you have to work around stays or approaching your work site. A fresh drill battery is good for 4-5 trips up!

BUT, don't want to sound like a nervous ninny but ideally for full safety sake) you really should have a second person tailing the winch. If using the drill/ electric windless on the boat, it is really critical that the climber have/ maintain his own safety lines. It's just too easy for something to go wrong... lines/ wraps coming off the winch head/ operator looses grip tailing, especially if your helpers are new to using the 'lift drill' operation/ tailing. Cruising couples can get very good but extreme caution is in order if you ask non-boating friends/ even other boaters you don't know well.


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Old 04-06-2016, 22:07   #21
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Re: what distance should mast steps have ?

We have folding mast steps and internal halyards. They have been awesome.

The first thing I do when I get in port is climb the mast steps to check the rigging. That way I have time to fix a problem while I am in port. I hate discovering a rigging problem when it is time to leave.
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