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Old 28-11-2009, 06:43   #16
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No, the sal does not need to be removed. It can be set free.

Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Why does the sail have to be removed?

When flaked my sail is at least a foot below the opening for the sail slot?

I would think that when you are at the working height you just tie around the mast with your harness and lean back like a telephone lineman?

Safety line is a must, of course.

What is an ATN?
If you tension it well, it is not much more difficult to climb, although that may vary with the individual. Particularly for trips to the spreaders (deck light bulb, antibird measures, boots), it is easy to leave it free.

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Old 28-11-2009, 10:45   #17
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I'm another ATN Top Climber fan. I've been using mine for two years. Takes a little bit if getting used, but not much, and gets easier with every use. The lower the stretch of the climbing line, the less energy wasted in halyard stretch and the easier the climb. I've gone up the mast as many as 7 times in one day changing the headstay. Have rerigged the boat using the Top Climber, drilled and tapped for hardware, and replaced light bulbs. I don't have to worry about finding someone to winch me up or storing a bosun chair and 200' of line.

You could probably do the same thing with mountain climbing gear. I started on that route but couldn't find exactly what I needed and got a lot of run around from the sales people. Decided to just go with the TC and haven't regretted it. Everything in the bag so it stows easily and pieces don't get lost.

I use a backup line with a Prussik hitch on another line as a backup. Whoever was using a rolling hitch or whatever should find out how to tie and use a Prussik knot. The Prussik knot was designed for climbing so slides up or down the line easily but locks up instantly when a downward pull is put on the knot.

FWIW, I'm 65 and not in great shape but find it no problem to use the ATN. It is a bit of exercise but so is sailing.

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Old 28-11-2009, 12:04   #18
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Roverhi has it correct in my opinion. Use a prussik hitch and not a rolling hitch on your safety line. It is really no more difficult to tie (rig) and that is what it is designed for. High Angle rescue teams often use them (for many purposes) for self rescue. There is some advantage to using a "tended" safety line (line tied to climbers safety harness going to a winch or other anchored friction device), however, the person tending the line MUST pay attention and keep excess slack out of the line! The advantage is that if the person aloft was to become incapacitated, then the person on safety could lower them back to the deck (assuming the person aloft wasn't tied off at the time of incapacitation). Always use a safety (backup) line or system when going aloft no matter how you get up there. With the prussik (safety) system, you don't need any additional help if you are also using either the mast mate or the Top Climber. As always, everything has it's pros and cons.

Hope this helps,
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Old 28-11-2009, 13:01   #19
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I used a Mast Mate for a few years. It was a chore pulling all the main sail slugs from the mast ect. and reversing the whole procedure. More than a couple hours. For me the ergonomics of stepclimbing in that position and hanging onto the front of the mast became very painful to the lower back and the wrists. There had to be a better way. In the past I had rigged two Jumar line ascenders with foot straps and scared the hell out myself at the top of the mast when I tried to descend. I decided to revisit using climbing gear to do the job. I had heard this is how the single handed ocean racers do it so I researched the subject. I went to REI in Seattle and started asking a lot of questions about single line ascension techniques and gear. The sales staff in the climbing department was reluctant to give me any advice at all, being a non-climber with no knowledge I was just a legal liability to them, if using their gear and advice, proceeded to go out and kill myself doing it the wrong way. Once they realized what my intentions were and that I knew what a line and pulley were they got me pointed in the right direction. The hardware I eventually assembled are one Petzel ascender, one GriGri self belayed, one opening pulley, two carabineers, foot straps, a length of climbers 10mm static line, it's inexpensive and low stretch and is hoisted on the main halyard, big wall harness with extra wide straps and more comfort in mind than a standard alpine harness. I had started off using an alpine harness and it was a real ball buster after hanging in it for more than 10 minutes. All these parts were less than what I paid for the Mast Mate and body belt pouch. After practicing in the back yard on a big tree limb, getting everything properly adjusted and learning the technique I tried it on the mast. It worked very well and worth the effort.
As it turns out this is a very similar setup Evans Starzinger uses and just published an article in CW December issue, " Scale Your Mast" in which he goes into some depth on the subject.
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Old 28-11-2009, 14:51   #20
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I was just going to mention that article too, Steve.

My wife and I just watched the video on the Mast Mate website. It didn't look very confidence-inspiring to either of us to see the demonstrator in the video trying to get his feet in the Mast Mate's steps.

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