I usually have my 18 stone ex-rugby playing friend to haul me up the mast
when required. However, in preparation for single
handed cruising, I thought I would learn how to climb the mast
There are loads of different systems one can try, but being the cheapskate I am, I did not want to spend dosh on some mountain climbing kit that might be very occasionally used. So use of two loops attached to a halyard
using prussik knots seemed to provide the answer. One loop connects to the bosuns chair, while the second loop ends in two bowlines in which you insert your feet. Progress is made by standing on the feet loops taking the strain off the seat loop. Without any strain, the loop can be pushed along the halyard
. One then sits into the seat and removes the strain from the foot loop. This in turn is pulled upwards. This "stand sit, stand sit" continues until you arrive at the height you require.
Simple but effective technique. Had I the strength to use it?
Boat being out of the water
for the winter, I ventured forth to the nearest convenient tall tree, and threw a warp around a reasonably high branch. Two of my children
looked on with great interest wondering what sort of crazy antics their old man was up to this time.
First effort saw them rolling around with laughter as dad twisted around inches from the ground due to poor length of foot loops unable to make any progress skywards.
Back to base for a new length of rope
to use for the loop (the foot loop needs to be about twice the length of the seat loop) and hey presto a few minutes later I was well up the tree with the kids
down below going "me next, me next!"
It is definitely something that requires practice as I found climbing the 5 metres or so I climbed quite tiring. But I was pleasantly surprised that it is fairly doable. A few more practice runs on the tree and it's up the mast with me!!