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Old 23-01-2012, 08:31   #31
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Boat: Sundeer 64' ketch
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Yes, you can use a rope ladder, they call it a ratline. See Johnny Depp

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Old 23-01-2012, 09:03   #32
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Boat: Coronado 35
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

Originally Posted by Dan_78 View Post
I've seen this Mast Mate mentioned on this site before:

Mast Mate Home
I have one of these and I use it. Much better than a rope ladder as it has clips that feed into the main sail track every few feet to keep the ladder from swinging around the mast as the boat rocks.

Plus it is easily stowed as it rolls up and fits into a small bag.

I also fix a halyard, and use a sliding "prusik" knot attached to a harness (as others have suggested) for a backup safety line in case I fall. It is very simple to rig and you just slide it up or down as you climb/descend.

Eventually though, I think I will install folding steps on the mast as they are much more comforatable and you can use them without removing the main sail.

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Old 23-01-2012, 10:11   #33
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Re: Climbing a Mast - Alone

YES, I made my own "Mast Mate" type ladder system and have used it a number of times to climb my mast solo. I used 100' or so of quality sailing line, tied alternating loops every foot or so (so each step is approx. 2'). I put about 6" of PVC pipe on each loop, this allows comfortable footing without the rope loop cutting into your foot. I also tied in a mast track lug at every other loop, allowing the ladder to be hoisted up the mast with the main halyard and remain very stable in the track. Total cost was ~$50 (as opposed to $300 for a mast mate).

I have a simple climbing harness I use when climbing my ladder. On the harness are two heavy lines about 4' long with a carabiner on the end. As I climb the ladder, I always make sure at least one of those carabiners is clipped in somewhere independent of the ladder line. One trick for doing this is to lower the jib or spinnaker halyard, tie loops in the line every 4' or so, and re-hoist it. Then you have an independent line to continuosly clip into as you climb your rope ladder.

Make sense? Kinda hard to explain in words, but it works real slick, and in my opinion using the always-clipped-in method it's fairly safe.

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