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Old 17-04-2010, 11:53   #1
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Prime Climb Mast Steps

I saw som interesting mast steps today. The brand is Prime Climb. They clide in the mast groove on the back of the mast. Each step hooks to the next one with a solid rod. They looked to be really well made.

Has anyone used them, and if so, opinions?
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Old 17-04-2010, 13:55   #2
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I have not used that system, but I have used Mast Mate...

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Originally Posted by over40pirate View Post
I saw som interesting mast steps today. The brand is Prime Climb. They clide in the mast groove on the back of the mast. Each step hooks to the next one with a solid rod. They looked to be really well made.

Has anyone used them, and if so, opinions?
And Mast Mate has some advantages (and it is possible I am wrong about what I see):
* Prime Climb cannot be set free. That is to say, the sail must be removed from the track and the Prime Climb replaces it. Mast mate can set free if tensioned.
* It cannot be set with the sail in the track. Big negative.
* Has no outside edge on the step - important in waves of dock-side wakes.
* It cannot be set with the sail up. You may not plan to, but...
* More expensive, but not enough for that to be a determinant.

It has good points:
* Lighter.
* Less tangles. Mast Mate can snag on spreaders. Not serious.
* Easy to get your feet in. Mast mate is a bit tricky that way, until you learn to point your toes and wear sneakers.
* Better hand holds. Well, maybe more obvious. With the Mast Mate you grab the mast, not the loops.

I think the negatives out weigh the positives, but I love watching innovation. I have used a Mast Mate for 16 years.

Flexible, portable mast climbing ladder made of nylon webbing which attaches to any sail tra

With either, but a real rock climbing harness for safety.
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Old 17-04-2010, 19:13   #3
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I am very interested in the Prime Climb. For the reasons listed in the paragraph below I would love to get a look at one and if possible give it a try. I will be checking out the local boat shows for sure. I like the apparent stability; the possibility of none of the flexing and twisting that comes with the Mastmate...not a huge issue but still. I would also be interested in the extent to which it relys on the halyard for support. Would like to spare the sheaves the cycling my two hundred pounds of load in climbing the ladder... again maybe a small thing but still.

I am glad for the Mastmate and will probably be using it for awhile BUT...
this may just be me afte but after using my Mastmate for quite awhile now it is still a pain to climb as the webbing steps are too far apart and so can be difficult to find given that the foot has to be worked into the semi-collapsed strap. I would NEVER climb it w/o safety as one reviewer states he does as I find it impossible to climb without leaning back to look down between my body and the mast to locate the webbing step. This would be unnerving for me at even 20' above deck w/o safety and would probably not be necessary if the steps were closer... say 14" rather than 17" from the bottom of one "rung" to the bottom of the next one and that is the unloaded distance... the loaded distance is a couple inches more I figure
The product is really well made for sure and easy to trust for it and I would be a loyal fan if, as I suggest, the "steps" were closer. I'd probably pay the extra cost for the added labor and materials and stay with this product. I'd recommend that anyone thinking of a Mastmate get one customed up with closer steps.
I cannot use my sneakers to climb one because it is too uncomfortable to stand in the straps for very long... their stiffners may help in that regard.
I would not be the least bit inclined to try to use one w/o it being attached to the mast...for me it would be too loose. When hauling up the track the key to getting it to work efficiently is to get it as taught as possible.
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Old 17-04-2010, 19:31   #4
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Yes, Mast Mate would be wise to place the steps closer together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butler View Post
I am very interested in the Prime Climb. For the reasons listed in the paragraph below I would love to get a look at one and if possible give it a try. I will be checking out the local boat shows for sure. I like the apparent stability; the possibility of none of the flexing and twisting that comes with the Mastmate...not a huge issue but still. I would also be interested in the extent to which it relys on the halyard for support. Would like to spare the sheaves the cycling my two hundred pounds of load in climbing the ladder... again maybe a small thing but still.

I am glad for the Mastmate and will probably be using it for awhile BUT...
this may just be me afte but after using my Mastmate for quite awhile now it is still a pain to climb as the webbing steps are too far apart and so can be difficult to find given that the foot has to be worked into the semi-collapsed strap. I would NEVER climb it w/o safety as one reviewer states he does as I find it impossible to climb without leaning back to look down between my body and the mast to locate the webbing step. This would be unnerving for me at even 20' above deck w/o safety and would probably not be necessary if the steps were closer... say 14" rather than 17" from the bottom of one "rung" to the bottom of the next one and that is the unloaded distance... the loaded distance is a couple inches more I figure
The product is really well made for sure and easy to trust for it and I would be a loyal fan if, as I suggest, the "steps" were closer. I'd probably pay the extra cost for the added labor and materials and stay with this product. I'd recommend that anyone thinking of a Mastmate get one customed up with closer steps.
I cannot use my sneakers to climb one because it is too uncomfortable to stand in the straps for very long... their stiffners may help in that regard.
I would not be the least bit inclined to try to use one w/o it being attached to the mast...for me it would be too loose. When hauling up the track the key to getting it to work efficiently is to get it as taught as possible.
Standing in the rungs is more comfortable if you work your heels in, to where the weight is on your heel. This, of course, depends upon the mast design. A good seat harness helps, too. If I am not going to the mast head (where there are 2 steps) I carry a sling to make a second step.

I have not had a problem setting it free, but I have a nice 2-speed winch and I give it a good twist. I used it free on a boat without a winch, and that was much more sporting.

The thing of it is, like many tools, the Mast Mate requires practice to become fast and easy.

The real trick would be one that could slip into the track without removing the sail slugs.
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Old 17-04-2010, 19:49   #5
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I have a Mast Mate and folding aluminum steps, and I like them equally well. The Mast Mate is more trouble to set up, but is quite secure once it is in place.

I also carry the Mast Mate as a man overboard recovery tool. If someone ever goes overboard, and if it is impossible to get the individual back on board using other methods, I would toss the Mast Mate to the person in the water and let them grab on to the loops of the Mate Mate with their hands and feet, and then Winch them on board with a halyard. It's not an elegant way to get someone back on board, but if nothing else works, it could do the job.
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Old 18-04-2010, 00:33   #6
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"I have not had a problem setting it free, but I have a nice 2-speed winch and I give it a good twist. I used it free on a boat without a winch, and that was much more sporting."



"Sporting" is certainly the right word Thinwater ...I seem to like my sport closer to the ground (or water) and that is part of the problem for me with any solution for going up the mast I suppose

Overboard recovery! What a great idea Maxingout!
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Old 28-05-2010, 15:44   #7
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Prime Climb Mast Steps

I am very familiar with the Primb Climb Mast Steps since I own this product and have used them on a number of occasions.

I did a lot of research before purchasing this item and after having used them I find Primb Climb to be the most stable, secure and easy to use and I say that even being a senior citizen. They are stowed away in a sturdy canvas bag when not in use and then when needed can be easily and quickly installed.

I purchased them for my Island Packet 38 which has a 52' mast and I could chose to either go to the spreaders or to the top of the mast, depending on how many steps and rods I would deploy. The top step is a left/right step which allows one to comfortably stand on the top of the Primb Clime and be positioned above the top of the mast.

I just recently sold my boat and am willing to offer the Prime Climb unit at a very reasonable price. If interested, please contact me either through this sight or directly by email:
bd38112 at aol dot com
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Old 28-05-2010, 16:43   #8
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And how are you going to haul any of these products up your mast if your halyards are broken and shredded., or jammed, and that is the reason you are climbing?

I'll stick to real mast steps.
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Old 28-05-2010, 17:57   #9
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Anyone have a good solution for climbing the mast if there is no sail track, and rigid foldable mast steps are not an option? I have a gaff-rigged schooner, and the sails attach to the masts with parrells and lace lines, so the mast must remain free of obstructions.
I generally use a bosun's chair on a haliard, but, since I am solo, and have no winches, I have to haul myself up by hand - not an ideal situation. (I am getting too old for this!)
I am considering a climbing rope, with stabilizing loops around the mast, and some version of Prussic knot ascenders. - any thoughts?
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Old 28-05-2010, 17:58   #10
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So sorry - just realized I am guilty of thread drift! My apologies to the OP.
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Old 28-05-2010, 18:04   #11
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Prime Climb is not hauled up the mast with a halyard for the very reason you mention. Each step and connection rod is individually slid up the mast from the bottom of the mast to what ever height necessary in order to fix, recover or repair a broken or shredded halyard.
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Old 28-05-2010, 18:17   #12
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Right, so your sail is jammed in the sail track while reefing and the halyard is stuck making it impossible to get the track free to install any step ladder junk.

Right, so you are in a situation where you need to get up the mast and do a repair at sea after being up for 2 days with little energy left. It's just balmy enough to climb the mast, but alas...what? You are going to drag out some bag of crap, sit there, get out each rod, and put together some contraption, and its all going to work just fine without any gremlimatic problems? Give me a break! At least with a mast step already in place you don't have to think about it, and you can attach your harness to it.

This is yet another system that can go totally bonkers useful only to get more money from the consumerist boating community.

KISS!
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Old 28-05-2010, 18:21   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post

The real trick would be one that could slip into the track without removing the sail slugs.

What about cutting a second, smaller gate in the track just above the head of the lowered sail? If the sail slides are long enough they should not get hung up and this would allow raising either the Prime Climb or Mast Mate without removing the sail.

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And how are you going to haul any of these products up your mast if your halyards are broken and shredded., or jammed, and that is the reason you are climbing?
Apparantly the Prime Climb is rigid and does not use a halyard for raising but is pushed up the mast track. One point for Prime Climb. But I really like Dave's idea for MOB retrieval. One point for Mast Mate.

Mike
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Old 28-05-2010, 18:47   #14
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1) You need a free track to be able to use any of these products.
2) You must assemble the Prime Climb which takes time, dexterity, room and patience.

MOB retrieval: More theoretical ungrounded wish fulfillments...How do you envision someone is going to have the strength after being in cold water for awhile...on the brink of hypothermia to be able to grab on to anything, yet alone get in a position to put their arms/legs through while trying to stay upright, afloat...unburdened by PFDs or rings?
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Old 28-05-2010, 19:27   #15
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And how are you going to haul any of these products up your mast if your halyards are broken and shredded., or jammed, and that is the reason you are climbing?

I'll stick to real mast steps.
???

I have 4 halyards. I think most boats have at least one spare, even if it means dropping the jib.

But high-windage, tangle prone mast steps are easier for a novice to climb, and give the illusion of being safer, no question about it.
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