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Old 03-09-2011, 13:49   #1
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Mast steps and what ?

I'm planning to have folding mast steps fitted to new boat with a mast about 15m (50') above the deck. I'm a reasonably fit 54 year old and think it would be pretty easy to get to the top on the steps alone. Of course falling could do a lot of damage and so prudence tells me I need a safety system as well. What I want to know is, for you guys who use mast steps, what back up system do you use? I want a system that I can do by myself since the admiral is a lightweight and she's struggled previously trying to winch me up a much shorter mast.

Greg
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:03   #2
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Re: Mast steps and what ?

I use folding mast steps with someone on a safety line...if that someone is light weight, they can have that safety line on a winch...your wife wouldn't actually have to winch you up....just keep the slack out.
Going down may take some practice!
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:05   #3
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Re: Mast steps and what ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eleebana View Post
I'm planning to have folding mast steps fitted to new boat with a mast about 15m (50') above the deck. I'm a reasonably fit 54 year old and think it would be pretty easy to get to the top on the steps alone. Of course falling could do a lot of damage and so prudence tells me I need a safety system as well. What I want to know is, for you guys who use mast steps, what back up system do you use? I want a system that I can do by myself since the admiral is a lightweight and she's struggled previously trying to winch me up a much shorter mast.

Greg
i use one of these between a tied off halyard and a harness.
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Old 06-09-2011, 16:17   #4
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Re: Mast steps and what ?

Use a rock climbing harness and ascender. The ascender is run through a spare halyard. You can get both at any quality outdoor store. I got mine in the US at REI.
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Old 06-09-2011, 17:31   #5
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Re: Mast steps and what ?

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Use a rock climbing harness and ascender. The ascender is run through a spare halyard. You can get both at any quality outdoor store. I got mine in the US at REI.
G'Day Greg,

The above is good advice... not too expensive and easily rigged.

But, I must admit that on I-one I had folding steps up to the lower spreaders, and often climbed up there and stood/sat on the spreaders for long periods (looking for bommies) without any gear at all. Never seemed too hazardous, and I don't even like heights very much!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 06-09-2011, 18:53   #6
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Re: Mast steps and what ?

I'm a chicken. I use the steps but also wear a harness and have the wife handle a halyard. I have the halyard on a clutch so going up she just takes the slack out. Coming down she has to use the winch. Before installing the clutch she used the winch. A little hair raising getting her to do it right because I could not stand there to show her. But I had her ride in the harness for a bit with me holding it so that she could get a sense of what I was feeling.

I also take a tether up and use that as yet an additional measure. The tether is useful to take the load off your legs while working and to help stabilize yourself. Kinda like a lineman climbing a wood pole on spikes, you lay back into the strap pushing a bit against the pole while working with your hands rather than standing straight up and down which could encourage a cut out (and many, many splinters.)

If alone I still use harness with a tether/strap. But if the Wife is around....well misery loves company.

BTW, what spacing are you using??? Some one recommended 24" to me and I feel that is really too much. I can handle it and it reduces the number of steps but 18" or 20" would probably have been better.

Finally, consider putting two steps at the upmost point, so you can share the load on your feet at the top of the mast.
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Old 06-09-2011, 18:56   #7
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Re: Mast steps and what ?

I use folding steps and a safety belt.
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Old 06-09-2011, 22:52   #8
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Re: Mast steps and what ?

I installed folding mast steps 3 years ago. At 67 I still use them often since I single hand. I installed them 20 in. apart which is the max I can stretch (short legs). I attach a spare halyard to the base plate, keep it tight and use a Prusick knot to provide a safety attached to a tree climbers saftey belt. This allows me to move it up and down the tight spare halyard. If I should fall or slip off the knot will hold me up.
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Old 06-09-2011, 23:24   #9
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Re: Mast steps and what ?

With a climbing rig your wife can easily belay you even if she is small. I am 115 and have belayed men over 220 with no trouble. You can take a 30 minute course for belaying at any climbing gym so you are safe doing it.

That's all you need if you have steps to get you up but want a way to prevent falls.
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