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Old 06-07-2019, 12:32   #1
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Temporary ratlines

I am sailing a 50 ft. Gulfstar sloop that I am planning to transit to French Polynesia and it appears that the ability to station someone comfortably aloft to navigate around coral heads in lagoons and passes is important if not critical. I am interested in any information that you can provide about crafting or buying ready-made "temporary" ratlines or other means of getting someone comfortably and safely aloft for a protracted period of time and then back down for conning the boat in places requiring it. You can e-mail me directly at schnierlaw@aol.com if you prefer to do that over posting your reply to this thread.

Thank you.
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Old 06-07-2019, 13:44   #2
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Re: Temporary ratlines

Do you have split lowers? And are they steel or 'soft'.

I once did a lot of sailing on square-rigged tall ships, and we often rigged temporary ratlines. We'd just use any old bit of line and tie modified rolling hitches to make each foothold. Instead of just one 'roll' in the hitch you can put in as many turns as you like so make it more and more secure, depending on what you're tying it to. With our tarred, served galvanised rigging I used to do about 5 turns. With dyneema shrouds maybe 6 or 7. 1 x 19 stainless you might want a couple more, and more still if you have rod rigging. Am I making sense?

We spent a year in French Polynesia in 2016/2017. Only time I might have wanted to go aloft was in uncharted territory, such as within the lagoons of the less-travelled Tuamotus and one or two spots in the Gambier Islands. I still didn't think it was worth the bother of doing this though. The areas that are charted are well-charted (unlike some other parts of the SP). The French did a good job in that respect.
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Old 06-07-2019, 17:49   #3
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Re: Temporary ratlines

This might be simpler, easier, and quicker to set up https://www.atninc.com/atn-mastclimb...quipment.shtml
Tying ratlines onto untarred ss wire shrouds so they don't slip sounds like an exercise in futility and frustration that would take weeks and result in an "iffy" perch, as the lines slipped slowly down with you on them. Hoisting a rope ladder might be better, but it would need to be taut to keep from swinging you into the mast. Getting a ladder that wasn't stretchy and was long enough to be useful might be quite a challenge too.
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Old 06-07-2019, 18:46   #4
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Re: Temporary ratlines

I think I’d look into Folding mast steps and maybe a Bosun’s chair once there, or just hoist someone aloft in a comfortable chair.
I’d get tired quick hanging onto steps myself
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Old 06-07-2019, 19:08   #5
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Re: Temporary ratlines

After our first trip to the Bahamas weaving thru coral heads in places we probably should not have gone, we installed ratlines made from SS tubing on the shrouds up to the spreaders to better see the bottom. The next year we installed a teak tread on the fourth ratline down from the top to make is more comfortable to stand on for long periods of time. If I were to make them again, I would heat up each end of each tread and crush it in a vise. After drilling two holes in each end, I would fasten the tread to the lower shrouds with bulldog cable clamps.


Bill
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Old 07-07-2019, 04:35   #6
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Re: Temporary ratlines

Thank you. Your response is very helpful.
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:00   #7
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Re: Temporary ratlines

This is the way I did the ends of my tube ratline steps. I now think it is over complicated, but you can see how the bulldog cable clamps work. Much of my tubing was scrap, and buying the hardware by the box helped on its cost. Only the bottom tube was long enough to require heavy wall tubing.

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Old 07-07-2019, 07:20   #8
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Re: Temporary ratlines

Thank you.

I am a total novice about these kinds of things, but isn't there a risk that you will damage/weaken the wire rigging by the use of these kinds of mechanical attachments?
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Old 07-07-2019, 07:25   #9
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Re: Temporary ratlines

I was unable to access the website that you imbedded in your response. Can you e-mail it to me at schnierlaw@aol.com?

Thanks.
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Old 07-07-2019, 07:50   #10
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Re: Temporary ratlines

Post it I’d like to see it too.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:24   #11
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Re: Temporary ratlines

Cable clamps properly applied will not significantly weaken your shrouds. Remember though that the common style of saddle like the galvanized ones from the hardware store is shaped to accept six strand wire. It has grooves that match up to the wire's strands. For best results match the saddle grooves to the wire. Do not overtighten. The solid rung will prevent the clamp from spinning/spiraling down the wire so you only need it to be snug and for the nuts to be secure against loosening. Nylon insert lock nuts work great for that, or you can use a tiny bit of Loctite Blue. Not red... it often requires heat to subsequently turn the nut in the event it must be tightened or loosened or removed. Blue gives good holding power but will yield to a wrench or socket applied with determination. You can also use a punch or chisel on the u-bolt threads, or drill and use a cotter pin or ring, keeping in mind that a stray cotter pin end can shred a sail pretty badly over the course of a couple of hours, should it happen to come into contact.


Me, I like steps. Folders are nice I guess, to keep windage down, but I prefer regular fixed ones. To prevent halyards from fouling them, run a wire down the outer corners and seize the wire to the step. This also makes them more secure.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:53   #12
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Re: Temporary ratlines

Thank you.
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:06   #13
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Re: Temporary ratlines

The mentioned link has an extra ':' at the end of it
Click, delete ':', refresh, enjoy....or click below

https://www.atninc.com/atn-mastclimb...quipment.shtml

Thanks, I have updated the link for him, Pete7
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Old 07-07-2019, 10:20   #14
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Re: Temporary ratlines

Thank you.
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Old 07-07-2019, 15:20   #15
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Re: Temporary ratlines

When sailing or motor sailing with the mainsail up, I find ratlines more comfortable to stand on, faster to ascend, and safer to use while conning the boat than standing on mast steps or on a spreader. I take a VOX controlled FRS radio and a wrist compass up with me while my wife with her similar radio manages the helm. The compass lets me give her courses to steer and helps me keep up with our ultimate objective. The radios compensate for our being unable to see each other and save the shouting which always sounds like we are aggressive and mad at each other, especially in a stressful situation. Both of my hands are free to hang on in case we hit something.

"The Complete Rigger's Apprentice", by Brion Toss has instructions for making both wood and rope ratlines. Both are about as "temporary" as my metal ones, and materials for them might be easier to source.

Street in "The Ocean Sailing Yacht, Vol 2" also has instructions. He has a description of an installation that can be removed and later reinstalled if that is desired.

Bill
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