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Old 21-08-2012, 21:41   #16
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Re: Getting to the top of the mast on a fractional rig without using the main halyard

Now let's see, the last time I pulled the mast, it cost me over $300. I've thought about using a bridge but stabilizing the boat under the bridge is problematical. It would be very embarassing if the current dragged you under it. I can see trying to explain that to my insurance company. Forgot, the rig isn't covered under my insurance. Probably would cost as much to hire a rigger to shinny up the mast as pulling it.

The Prussic knot is an amzingly useable discovery. It will get you almost anywhere up the mast with a few short lengths of 1/4" double braid. Use it religiously as a backup for my Top Climber and have found a lot of other uses for it like a foothold to be able to work on things that are slightly too high for me to reach from the deck.
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Old 21-08-2012, 22:30   #17
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Re: Getting to the top of the mast on a fractional rig without using the main halyard

Hi Snore,

I have done exactly what you are asking on a cat with a fractional rig. I climbed up the mast while a mate pulled the bosuns chair up behind me using the jib halyard. In order to get to the very top, I stood up in the bosuns chair, swung it around to the back of the mast and just held on while working on the main sheave.

You could do the same but obviously it is not the recommended way. Depends on your own risk analysis.
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Old 22-08-2012, 13:28   #18
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Re: Getting to the top of the mast on a fractional rig without using the main halyard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
There are a few unsafe methods being recommended here, the most goofy of which is to "muscle up" the last four feet of the mast. The "mast prussic" solution is a close second.

The OP (who admits to being a newby) asks how to reach the top of the mast without using the main halyard. The correct answer is: DON'T!
Out of interest, why do you think it is unsafe to 'muscle up' the last four feet? HWMO pretty much muscles up the whole way, it's awesome to watch, and a hell of a lot easier than me having to winch a dead weight....
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Old 22-08-2012, 14:28   #19
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Re: Getting to the top of the mast on a fractional rig without using the main halyard

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaucySailoress View Post
Out of interest, why do you think it is unsafe to 'muscle up' the last four feet? HWMO pretty much muscles up the whole way, it's awesome to watch, and a hell of a lot easier than me having to winch a dead weight....
People with 15HP dinghy motors pay someone else to do work that involves a modicum of risk, most of the rest of us do "risk management" (like not having a dinghy/motor combo that someone is likely to be tempted to steal.) For some, the cleansing of the gene pool rule applies.

From personal experience I know this is one of Bash's pet peeves. I would bet he believes if you are clueless enough (no sarcasm intended here as I am tempting fate myself) to let your main halyard get in such poor condition that it breaks that you are probably not up to the task of climbing the mast without killing yourself. Personally, I would rather go up the mast with one halyard and Prusik loops for backup than put my rig anywhere near a bridge. Unless I lived on a calm lake with no wind or current of any kind. Nah, I still wouldn't do it.
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Old 22-08-2012, 14:42   #20
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Re: Getting to the Top of the Mast on a Fractional rig Without Using the Main Halyard

If going aloft IMHO you need two independent systems.
I insist on two independent ropes attached to two points, usually a bosuns chair as one, and a harness as the other. These should be led to independent winches with a reliable jamming system. Normally they are raised one after the other ensuring the maximum drop if one system should fail is short.
If you have a fractional rig with no topping lift make sure it's in perfect condition because in most cases the gap between the jib/spinnaker halyard and the top of the mast is too great. Some of the 9/10 rigs are an exception, but it's 10x more difficult up there than talking about it on a forum.

Why this precaution? The most common reason for going aloft is a broken halyard.
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Old 22-08-2012, 14:49   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nosmo
Well, it just happened to me: on my Beneteau 31 the main halyard broke (at the shakle) during a race. back to the dock, I made it up the mast using the spinaker hlyd. the fractional rig allowed me to get up to the top of the forestay, but there're still 4 feets to go up to the top. there's only one sheave at the top (for the broken main hlyd) and I don't want to use the topping lift: the block is on the side of the mast, WAY to small to look safe.
So the only solution I see is muscle up the last 4 feet from the top of the forestay and try to use an extra line and carabiner to secure my position on top of the mast during the time it'll take to feed in the new hlyd into the mast. Any other suggestions before I risk my life up there? ;-)

Olivier
Okay my plan "B" is this. Wear a fall harness that is secured to the jib halyard while going up the spinnaker halyard. Then ascend the last distance using prussik knots the harness is your safety. At the worst time you will be 4 feet above the jib halyard sheeve so the maximum fall is 8 feet. That is better than hitting the deck and damaging th balsa core. We know how hard that is to fix!

My plan "A"? Write a check to a rigger with proof of insurance. At 57 my bones will take longer to heal and the time I miss sailing recovering is worth the money.

Bill
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Old 22-08-2012, 14:59   #22
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It is bad enough to climb a mast with one halyard, and do you use the shackle or do you tie a proper climbers figure 8 in the halyard when you climb, but to also climb above your last attachment point by 4 feet in a bosun's chair is a fools mission.

I have well over 10 year climbing experience from my time living in California and I use my climbing harness with an additional chest tether when I go up the mast. If I fell the 8 feet that would result in climbing past your last anchor point by 4 feet I would still likely hurt myself but at least I wouldn't fall out of or tear my bosun's chair and plummet to the deck.

Let's talk physics for a sec. An 8 foot fall equates to a speed of 24.95km/h when you are suddenly stopped. When climbers are lead climbing, climbing with a rope down to their partner and clipping into anchors as they go up, they are using something called a dynamic rope. It stretches which prevents a climber from breaking their back when they fall. Halyards are not dynamic and will stop you immediately.

For this example imagine you try tying your bosun's chair to the roof of your house and make it long enough so it and you are clear of the ground by two feet. Put the chair on and jump off the roof backward. Is it going to hurt? What are the chances anyone but a spry 15 year old will end up with torn back muscles at the very least, if not a head injury from falling out of the chair backwards.

If you don't have mast steps, get them, at least for the last four feet, then you can use a bosun chair and a chest harness with proper crotch straps, or better yet a $60 climbing harness which is so much more comfortable anyway, and two short tethers to climb the last bit safely by clipping in above your head at each step and always having one clip on before removing the other. The prusik knots are a decent idea if done properly, with d rings and tethers, not just free holding.

300 for your health or life? If you can't afford that for a mistake you made then you probably shouldn't own a boat as this won't be the first or last time you make an expensive mistake owning a boat, it is part and parcel of boat ownership

Be careful, I have seen someone at sea in calm weather decide they were going to run up the mast to get a view of a pass. He didn't feel he had time to strap in. The boat was heeling just enough that he missed the gunnel by a foot when he slipped and fell. We never think it is going to be us.
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Old 22-08-2012, 15:04   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex 77

Why this precaution? The most common reason for going aloft is a broken halyard.
Cut right to the heart of it!

I always use two halyards and I have mast steps so that the wife just has to tail them on two mast winches.
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Old 22-08-2012, 15:38   #24
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Re: Getting to the Top of the Mast on a Fractional rig Without Using the Main Halyard

Quote:
Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
Cut right to the heart of it!

I always use two halyards and I have mast steps so that the wife just has to tail them on two mast winches.
My yacht has mast steps up to the first spreader, these are useful, but an extra few steps close to the top of the mast would be great.
To get above the top the mast is a great help if wind sensors etc need replacing. This is difficult to achieve with a halyard alone.

Ps despite the brave talk it's my wife that normally volunteers to go up the mast. She once spent 5 hours at the top the mast replacing our wind instruments. The funniest, in retrospect, was replacing our radar scanner. She needed both hands to hang on to he scanner, which meant no hands for security, or stability. I am not sure my cries of "don't drop it" were a help
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Old 22-08-2012, 16:54   #25
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Re: Getting to the top of the mast on a fractional rig without using the main halyard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
There are a few unsafe methods being recommended here, the most goofy of which is to "muscle up" the last four feet of the mast. The "mast prussic" solution is a close second.

The OP (who admits to being a newby) asks how to reach the top of the mast without using the main halyard. The correct answer is: DON'T!

If you've screwed up so badly as to lose the main halyard, you've got several safe-and-sane options: (1) drop the mast, which is not too hard on a Tartan 33; (2) hire a rigger or a boatyard with a lift; (3) enlist the aid of a structure, such as a bridge or a high dock, where you can safely reach the sheave from the structure, hopefully without endangering the boat.

Bottom line: if you think there's a chance of losing the main halyard when going aloft, you're not ready to do the job.
Properly done, prussics on the mast is very safe and I wouldn't hesitate to do it. The OP isn't worried about losing the halyard when going aloft, they're worried about what to do if they've already lost it.

I wouldn't hesitate to climb the mast using prussics (I actually preffer kleimheists). One would attach to my climbing harness through a locking carabiner. The other would go to one of my feet, but pass through another locking carabiner to my harness. Doubly redundant and very safe. Worst case is a slow slide down to the forestay.

This is exactly how I climb my main halyard to get up the mast and it works well, the only difference is using the mast itself if you can't use the halyard.
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Old 22-08-2012, 17:04   #26
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Re: Getting to the Top of the Mast on a Fractional rig Without Using the Main Halyard

Quote:
Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
Cut right to the heart of it!

I always use two halyards and I have mast steps so that the wife just has to tail them on two mast winches.
I've only been climbing the one halyard. I clip it to the deck, winch it tight, and climb it using prussiks. I've reasoned that a fitting failing won't result in a fall (I'm on the winch plus a cleat, so redundant), and there is a massive factor of safety in the halyard itself. As a weekend warrior, I don't have the chafe issue that offshore cruisers have, and I've been up there enough to know I don't have a chafe issue at the "nip" of the shieve (yes, I went up with a back-up halyard the first time).

I've thought a bit about the safety factors (I'm also an ex-climber), and it seems acceptable to me. I also wear a helmet and a proper harness, and try to only climb where I have access to medical attention (I don't like climbing at anchor if I know I'll be back at a dock soon enough).
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Old 22-08-2012, 17:34   #27
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Re: Getting to the Top of the Mast on a Fractional rig Without Using the Main Halyard

If I might drift the thread slightly...

I normally use a bosuns chair for going aloft, but as others have found, it won't get me quite high enough to work on the tri-color or windpoint. So, a few years ago while in the States I went to REI and asked about climbing harnesses for dummies. They gave me a short tutorial and sold me a fairly inexpensive harness. It does the job of getting me up high enough, and with a separate chest tether I feel quite secure. That's the good news. But, I find that after an all too short time, it becomes really uncomfortable, and then my legs go numb. I can still function up there, but it is a really unpleasant affair for me.

So, am I doing something wrong, and can anyone suggest a useful change in my so-called technique?

Cheers,

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Old 22-08-2012, 22:36   #28
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Re: Getting to the Top of the Mast on a Fractional rig Without Using the Main Halyard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
If I might drift the thread slightly...

I normally use a bosuns chair for going aloft, but as others have found, it won't get me quite high enough to work on the tri-color or windpoint. So, a few years ago while in the States I went to REI and asked about climbing harnesses for dummies. They gave me a short tutorial and sold me a fairly inexpensive harness. It does the job of getting me up high enough, and with a separate chest tether I feel quite secure. That's the good news. But, I find that after an all too short time, it becomes really uncomfortable, and then my legs go numb. I can still function up there, but it is a really unpleasant affair for me.

So, am I doing something wrong, and can anyone suggest a useful change in my so-called technique?

Cheers,

Jim
I've been aloft in only a bosun's chair and found it really scary. If I went upside down, I'd fall out (maybe it was a bad chair, though). I wouldn't do it without a harness, but you could either double up and use a chair as well, or buy a better harness. You can "test fly" them at the store.

I have a strong preference for Arcteryx harnesses, myself. I also have two folding steps at the top of the mast (but not anywhere else), so I have a good place to rest my feet. I use a very short tether to the harness so that I climb the main halyard, clip the tether to the spin halyard bail on the far side of the mast so it's a bit above my waist, then lean back a bit with my feet on the steps. I could stay like that for hours (luckily, I never have to, though, because I always have to go back down for the one tool I forgot).
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Old 22-08-2012, 22:47   #29
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Re: Getting to the Top of the Mast on a Fractional rig Without Using the Main Halyard

G'Day CW,

My chair has the attachment point quite high up, so that my COG is well below the attachment. Thus I don't feel too concerned about becoming inverted.

Having the step(s) near the masthead is a good deal, but as of now I'm missing them. Likely will have the mast out fairly soon and will consider putting some on then. Also will consider steps up to the first spreaders... used them a lot on our previous boat.

But, back to harness design -- what features make one model more comfy than another? Mine was designed by someone descended from a medieval torturer.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 22-08-2012, 23:08   #30
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Re: Getting to the Top of the Mast on a Fractional rig Without Using the Main Halyard

The harness designed by Brian Toss is apparently a very good and comfortable one. Never used it though.
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