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Old 14-10-2014, 19:45   #1
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Up The Mast

All of my big boat sailing has been on racing boats. Going up the mast, we sent the smallest guy, and we always had 2 or 3 winch grinders, and tailers to zip him up. I have read that Lyn and Larry Pardey use a 4 to 1 block and tackle on a halyard and will hoist themselves up to work on the mast. I also saw the Dutch? line brake system at the boat show this weekend in Annapolis. If you use a bosun chair and the 4 part block system, how do you securely tie yourself off once you have hoisted yourself?
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Old 14-10-2014, 20:09   #2
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Re: Up The Mast

Been using that method for almost 30 years. Upper block is a double block. Lower block is single ratchet block with a becket on top.

Do NOT use a jam cleat but rather use a Prusik knot. Prusik Knot | How to tie the Prusik Knot | Climbing Knots

The two ends of the prusik knot are tied to the top of the chair. The Prusik knot is loop around the loose line that comes down from the top block. The line that contains the Prusik knot is maybe a length of 3 feet. To go up you pull on the line and slide the knot up as you go. Soon as you stop it twists and stops you. To come down just hold the knot kick out and descend. Squeeze the knot to slow yourself down.

Highly recommend this method its fool proof and very safe

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Old 14-10-2014, 21:00   #3
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Re: Up The Mast

Lewmar used to make a set of fiddle blocks that had a cleat on the side. Unfortunately, probably long out of production and I'm hanging on to mine. You can just the line in a knot around the block to make a secure tie off. Unfortunately, you'll need 200' plus of line to pull yourself up a 50' mast with a 4 part tackle.

Much prefer going up with the Mast Climber, however. Use a Kleimheist or Prussic knot on a spare halyard as a safety line.
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Old 15-10-2014, 01:33   #4
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Re: Up The Mast

I have just ordered this set up http://aloftalone.com

I do a lot of work alone and need a safe way to get up a rig quickly and safely. Was really impressed by this set up at the Boatshow here recently.


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Old 25-10-2014, 13:14   #5
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Re: Up The Mast

The Aloft Alone Kit looks to be the ultimate kit for solo ascending the mast. Climbing looks to be relatively easy though may get tiresome using just one leg. Descending looks like about easy as it could be. Watched a rigger working on a mast with a rig similar to the Aloft Alone, if it was not actually a genuine article, and was truly impressed how quickly he could ascend and descend. Only problem is the cost. Even with the favorable exchange rate of the US vs Kiwi dollar, it's nearly a boat unit.

Have been using a Top Climber Topclimber : solo mast climbing system, top climber, mast climber for a number of years and found it to work well for occasional trips up the mast. One negative is the climbing line has to be threaded through the 'climbers' from the bitter end. That may require dedicated climbing line if you don't have a halyard without spliced onto one end. It is also not quick on the descent. Actually more time consuming and a hassle to come down than to go up having to alternate lowering one 'climber', then the other. The bosun's chair/harness is really comfortable and secure to use. No issues with sliding out of the seat that I've found with other bosun's chairs I've become intimate with. It is also very comfortable to sit in for hours for those occasional long lasting trips up the mast. It makes climbing a lot quicker and easier if you have a low stretch halyard or climbing line that is cinched up tight.

I picked up The ETN 'climbers' that allow the halyard/climbing line to be attached anywhere on the line. Makes it convenient just to pick any old halyard to use as a climbing line. ETN used to market the Top Climber in the US. They have since gone on to market their own version called the Mast Climber with their improved 'climbers'. The ETN Mast Climber lists for $450. Believe the Top Climber sells for less. Neither includes the helmet or climbing line that is included with the Aloft Alone Kit.



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Old 25-10-2014, 13:33   #6
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Re: Up The Mast

Using a block & tackle system, you can simply take the "tail" which you were using to hoist yourself, and tie it to one, or several of the falls, with a few half hitches.
FYI, I'd also recommend a separate safety line.

Also, there's a lot of good info in this thread Going up the Mast
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Old 25-10-2014, 14:33   #7
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Re: Up The Mast

As an exmountaineer and someone who taught high angle rock rescue i go up the mast using my mountain climbing equipement sans helmet. The admiral is just not strong enough to raise me. Vs the loft system i use 2 legs to raise myself.
But as i approach my senior years it does get a bit harder and i have to go up the mast this winter to replace radar reflectors and our deck light stopped working.
Anyone want to come to Tunisia and assist an old man?
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Old 25-10-2014, 14:56   #8
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Re: Up The Mast

Yeah.. I was the little guy racing! Nothing like going to the top to clear something in 20 knots of wind and 6 ft seas! haha
Solo, Even 4 part it's quite a task going all the way up. Too much for my feeble body.
Just tie the tail end off around the standing parts. When being hoisted I always use a second safety line.
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Old 25-10-2014, 16:35   #9
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Re: Up The Mast

chuchr,
On a 40'er, you don't have a windlass? Er, I mean power windlass. As if you do, I can't imagine that it'd be too much work for the Admiral to get you up to the masthead.

That, or recruit a young lad nearby to get you up there via a winch. Even if you need to use some tackle, with a bit of purchase, led to the winch. Then you can get LOTS of mechanical assist; like 4:1, or 6:1, plus whatever your winches power ratio is.
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Old 25-10-2014, 21:06   #10
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Re: Up The Mast

The main component of the Loft Alone system is a Grigri. You can buy this at any mountain climbing store. You can also buy an Ascender and a mountain climbing harness. The whole thing would be less than $200. The Loft Alone seems to be quite a lot more (4 x more)

Using a standard Grigri, ascender and mountain climbing harness, you can easily climb up on two halyards or even one halyard. There is certainly no need for an extra line for this sole purpose. I have done this many times at the dock and underway. Just go to any mountain climbing store and get these items. I do describe this in my singlehanded tips book.

And by the way, I watch other boats struggle to haul men up the mast with winches. I know that I can climb the mast much easier myself using this method.
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Old 25-10-2014, 22:08   #11
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Re: Up The Mast

The easiest way I have found, that doesn't cost a lot of money. Piece of 3/4" plywood, with stirrup cutouts near the lower edge. Large cam cleat a few inches from the top. Fairleads near top and bottom. This piece is like an ascender for your feet. Attach a compact ascender to your climbing harness. Works like the top climber etc. Stand up, slide the ascender up, then pull up your feet to slide the foot piece up, then stand up again, etc, inch worming up the halyard. Like everyone else, I use a separate belaying line either with a carabiner hitch or a figure 8, for safety. To go down, you have to be able to get the halyard out of the cam cleat so it can slide down. It should be tethered to your harness. Rappel down the safety line. You can disengage the ascender shackled to your harness, or hold it open and keep it on as a safety device. This rig works best with both lines actually dedicated for climbing, even though I did call the ascent line a halyard. Obviously, first time up the mast you will indeed be using a halyard or topping lift made fast to a cleat on deck. First thing, I shackled a new dedicated ascent line to the masthead. The safety line must have slack in it, but the ascent line needs to be hauled down and made fast with a bit of tension. Shackle the end up top reduces stretchable length to just the height of the mast so it is easier to keep tight.

One thing I like about this system is winches and tackles and stuff are totally out of the picture, and your helper doesn't have to be skilled or experienced at grinding or tailing a winch. Sucks when a newbie gets a few riding turns of your halyard on the winch while cranking you up. I would rather he or she just keep an eye on me from the cockpit and be ready to send up whatever tool or part I forgot.

I used a piece of plywood that could have been taller, yeah, and disengaging the line from the cam cleat was awkward. If I make up another one it will be T shaped to get the cleat up within easy reach.

I already had the harness and hardware handy, apart from the ascender for the harness, so cost was negligible.
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Old 26-10-2014, 02:38   #12
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Re: Up The Mast

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
chuchr,
On a 40'er, you don't have a windlass? Er, I mean power windlass. As if you do, I can't imagine that it'd be too much work for the Admiral to get you up to the masthead.

That, or recruit a young lad nearby to get you up there via a winch. Even if you need to use some tackle, with a bit of purchase, led to the winch. Then you can get LOTS of mechanical assist; like 4:1, or 6:1, plus whatever your winches power ratio is.

yes we have a windlass and that would work - in the end i guess i am old fashioned as not sure the admiral could do it right so i will continue on -
actually this year i may just hire someone as it is not expensive and just talk to a guy who was in hammamet and he hired a guy to up his mast at a very reasonable price. we will see if i do it or not
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Old 26-10-2014, 05:46   #13
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Re: Up The Mast

It's easy for those of us who've been up the stick many, many times, plus lots of other high places, to treat such an act with respect, but fairly casually.

If one's not a "cool hand" (calm under pressure) then I'd definitely suggest having an experienced person or two there, the first time or two you go up the stick. Not that a newbie can't figure it out, but having a mentor there (regardless of either's age), goes a long way to keeping the stress level of the event a lot lower. In addition to the old hand walking you through various steps [reminding you aloud of what you've read, & or watched online about the process(es)]; both as you prepare to, and then actually, go up the spar.

Also, it's a heck of a lot easier to teach this stuff live, first hand. As one can evaluate their "student" physically, & mentally. Which is key in terms of knowing what to teach them, or I should say, show & or remind them how to do.
And the student has someone to field their questions (even if in truth, they already know the answers), & remind them of things they already know. Their mentor reinforces learning & doing something scary, simply by being there & talking to them/talking them through it, assuming he/she's competent.

Man has a natural fear of heights, it's that way via Darwin & Natural Selection. As anyone who doesn't, gets up high, does something foolish, gravity kicks in, & they're eliminated from the gene pool.
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Old 26-10-2014, 14:42   #14
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Re: Up The Mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrowleyMonster View Post
The easiest way I have found, that doesn't cost a lot of money. Piece of 3/4" plywood, with stirrup cutouts near the lower edge. Large cam cleat a few inches from the top. Fairleads near top and bottom. This piece is like an ascender for your feet. Attach a compact ascender to your climbing harness. Works like the top climber etc. Stand up, slide the ascender up, then pull up your feet to slide the foot piece up, then stand up again, etc, inch worming up the halyard.
Would you please post a picture of this piece of plywood with the cam cleat attached?

Alain
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Old 26-10-2014, 15:33   #15
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Re: Up The Mast

Please pardon my lack of climbing knowledge. If you use an ascender for your harness and another for your footstraps, where does the Grigri come into play? And the idea of having an experienced climber do a hands on lesson is a great idea. This is not equipment I am familiar with.
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