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Old 16-01-2018, 12:40   #16
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

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Originally Posted by NevisDog View Post
The guy has already purchased the manila rope. Nothing wrong with a brand new 1-1/2" (12mm dia?) manila climbing rope. Only age will kill it, so dump it before it ages. Climbers don't use double sheet bends to join ropes - never safe enough to risk your life on - here they use an overhand knot, much safer. Me, I'd use a fisherman's knot, double fisherman's, or carrick bend if you're sure you know how to tie it.

1-1/2" is about 45mm... that is rediculas. get yourself a ~10mm static rope to climb. and 7mm cord for prussiks. look up texus prussiks if you want a cheap way to climb a rope.
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Old 16-01-2018, 12:44   #17
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

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1-1/2" is about 45mm...
Yes but 1-1/2" circumference = 12mm dia. Imperial rope measurements are usually given as circumference, while metric is always diameter.
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Old 16-01-2018, 13:27   #18
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

The 1 1/2" line I bought is diameter, the circumference would be about 120 mm. Such a massive dyneema line would obviously be quite expensive.

The manila climbing rope is designed to be used without additional equipment or safety lines. In my school and the school my retired phys ed teacher mom taught at, kids routinely climbed 20' similar ropes with only a crash pad for safety. The standing knots, harness etc in my OP are only for safety and to free up my hands at the top
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Old 16-01-2018, 13:42   #19
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

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Here is a link to a youtube vid that shows one inexpensive way to achieve what you want: I made my own, (and improved on it slightly) plus used a safety harness. I have used it several times. You can find my post here: Getting Up The Mast It's rather lengthy and maybe confusing a little but it was just my way of paying a tribute to a guy that gave me some pointers. He recently lost his wife to cancer.
Yup, I'm going to build one of those too. Am thinking of actually having two cam cleats for redundancy. One at the top of the board, and one at the bottom.

When I replaced my halyards, I bought an extra halyard that I store below, and is to be used only for mast climbing.

I'll be getting a bosun's chair, perhaps a Harken, that wraps around the user for extra security. the bosun's chair will be secured to an existing halyard.

I don't like heights, and I think I'll be satisfied with this system.

I'm extremely unlikely to ever want to go up the mast on a emergency basis. I sail on Lake Michigan, mostly daysails with the occasional long weekend away. This is a system I'll use at the dock in the marina, with a helper managing the halyard for the bosun's chair.
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Old 16-01-2018, 13:59   #20
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

New Tribe makes "recreational" climbing harnesses, designed for sitting in the tree tops for hours while watching the birdies. They ain't cheap, but look comfy
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Old 16-01-2018, 14:32   #21
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

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If the halyards are in good condition, climb those - one to climb, one as a safety. Use prussic knots/loops. One short loop to harness/bosun's chair, one longer one for your feet. Medium for safety line. Tension both the halyards before starting the climb. Total cost, probably nothing - suitable line for the prussics is probably aboard. I do this regularly for work, and it works very well.
I do the same with the exception of using a Bachmann hitch and 2 D carabiniers as in the video below. Much easier to break the carabiner away from the rope and slide up than a prusik knot/loop.

I attach the upper Bachmann to the bosun's chair and the lower to 2 foot loops of seat belt tape. You can then stand at the Masthead and get above and properly work on the lights, aerial whatever you're up there for.

My 2 cents worth.

https://youtu.be/oKShjgeovXI
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Old 17-01-2018, 03:15   #22
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

What's wrong with lifting the bosun's chair with a halyard and a winch?
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Old 17-01-2018, 03:53   #23
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

Masthead Access Methods
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Old 17-01-2018, 05:59   #24
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

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What's wrong with lifting the bosun's chair with a halyard and a winch?
Absolutely nothing. Is my first choice, especially when doing up neighbors mast using electric winch. But my wife doesn't have the guns to winch me up, and she's afraid of going up in the chair.
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Old 17-01-2018, 06:39   #25
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

With a good multispeed winch surely strength has nothing to do with it. If it does you're probably overloading the winch anyhow.

I singlehand and have no friends (as you might judge by some of my forum comments ) as such I climb using an ascender, gri-gri, pursik for safety, and a climbing harness. Total cost is probably about the cost of a used mast climber.
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Old 17-01-2018, 07:16   #26
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

The OP has a 27' boat. Forget about winches, other than safety backup.
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Old 17-01-2018, 07:43   #27
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

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Originally Posted by calin1967 View Post
What's wrong with lifting the bosun's chair with a halyard and a winch?
The problem is if you have to work on top of the mast, like the wind speed thing or the lights. Its easier to work from above than trying to reach up and feel your way around.

We have one of those mast mate webbing ladders, brilliant bit of kit, with inmast reefing we don't have a mail sail track so instead it has a bolt rope and runs up the trysail track.

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Old 17-01-2018, 08:00   #28
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

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Originally Posted by mikedefieslife View Post
With a good multispeed winch surely strength has nothing to do with it. If it does you're probably overloading the winch anyhow.

I singlehand and have no friends (as you might judge by some of my forum comments ) as such I climb using an ascender, gri-gri, pursik for safety, and a climbing harness. Total cost is probably about the cost of a used mast climber.
Guess my wife is a weakling! I'm not going to tell her that, as I don't want to be a singlehander!
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Old 17-01-2018, 12:54   #29
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

check out:
Mast Climbing
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Old 17-01-2018, 22:41   #30
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Re: Mast Climbing on the Cheap

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check out:
Mast Climbing
Have used the set up in this video but with a climbing harness. It works but the climbing harness is not very comfortable for hanging for longer periods. Notice they used the seat/harness from the Mast Climber in the video. The Ascender/Grigri system is cheaper to put together, but npt by a whole lot, than the Mast Climber. Going with off brand hardware and a used bosun's chair could bring the cost down. Limited experience with the system, a couple times up the mast. Initial experience, it seems to take a little more effort to climb with it than the ATN Mast Climber. Using both legs and arm felt iike more work than the Mast Climber system. Way easier and faster to descend, however. The Grigri was so easy to use. Could descend as fast or slow as I wanted with virtually no effort. Had to make some modifications to the foot straps mainly sewing a bit of seat belt material onto the stirrups to hook them together so you had leverage against the mast. The rock climbing harness that I used had high rating for comfort but wasn't comfortable for more than a trip up the mast and very limited work while up there for me. The waist belt began to dig into me and was quite uncomfortable. That's why i highly reccomend getting the ATN seat/harness if you can find one and still keep your limbs after paying for it. I'm going to be back to the boat in March and will borrow the set up again and see if a bit of adjustment might make it easier to use and the harness more comfortable. The climbing rope doesn't have to be anchored to the deck which makes swinging out to work on spreaders or around the mast to work on the opposite side as your climbing line easier.

Have a Mast Climber that I've used extensively. The foot straps work out of the box. The harness/seat is very comfortable and safe for working hours aloft. The ascenders are a little clunky in use and hard on my hands without gloves. Climbing is straight forward and relatively easy though not a walk in the park. Descending is it's weak point as you have to carefully gauge how far you move the ascenders down the rope. It's the opposite of climbing but hard to gauge how much you move the foot and seat ascenders. Lower the foot ascender too much and you can't release the seat ascender and vice versa. You have to reposition the foot or seat ascender to be able to release the opposing ascender and descend. Not moving the ascenders far enough and you waste time and increase effort because of added iterations of the movements. Takes more energy than you'd expect with gravity working with you and was slow.

You could do the Mast Climber thing with rope and Kleimheist or Prussik (K/D) knots and a bosun's chair or climbing harness. Use one length of line for a foot strap and another for the chair/harness and up you go just as you do with the Mast Climber ascenders. One word of caution, the Prussic knots on the 5/16" line locked up on my 5/16' halyards when put under load. Discovered this when I kept forgeting to slide the Prussik knot safety line down as I descended with the Grigri. Had to take tension off the K/D knot with the ascender foot harness and physically loosen the K/D knots to get them to slide up or down. Don't seem to remember this happening on the 3/8" halyards on my otther boat so it may have something to do with the rope diameter in smaller lines.

Caution about Bosun's Chairs. Without a restraining strap that will keep you on the seat it's really ease to slide forward off the seat and find yourself hanging by your armpits. That is dangerous especially if you silde completely through the seat and fall free. At best it can be really difficult to get back onto the seat.

I've got low stretch, exotic cored, dacron covered halyards and use them to climb. Way better when working at the mast head as you can get a few critical inches higher than with a dedicated climbing rope. When you tie two ropes together, as you would with a separate climbing line, the knots take up critical space that limits how high or even if you can get your head above the mast head. Halyards won't work as the climbing line if you have wire halyards or have stripped the dacron cover off your exotics so don't do that. The low stretch exotics make climbing a lot easier as you waste way less effort with lines that don't stretch. My favorite is T-900 as stretch is practically zero even in 5/16" but it's way pricey. If you are replacing halyards, do at least one in the lowest stretch line you can afford. Even StaSet X takes way less energy to climb on than straight Dacron double braid.
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