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Old 30-10-2013, 23:53   #2536
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

I have simple Battery operated port and starboard lights that i can put up easily if there is a failure.

any body got any good ideas on how to get up the mast
I am thinking of aluminum steps. Shaped like a long V. I am always needing to go up these days and its real hassle. I have looked over the net and seen different idea's. there isnt any real great breakthrough.
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Old 31-10-2013, 09:01   #2537
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Ross, I know what you're talking about. The folding aluminum steps are too heavy, the loops catch the halyards and create a lot of turbulence, and despite my 3:1 ratio block and tackle, going to the mast head is a lot of work. If you have a helper, especially one that weighs very little, you can use the windlass and a snatch block to do the heavy lifting. A couple years ago, I purchased a Milwaukee 28 volt right angle drill motor with a special bit shaped like a winch handle's business end. They are marketed as a Winch Buddy to those who like to pay more for the same thing. That may be the easiest solution for me, since I now have self-tailing Harkens as my halyard winches. I just need someone below who can pull the trigger, fill my tool bucket with the screwdriver I forgot, or send up some cooling refreshment that I can enjoy while at the masthead. I still use the block and tackle, as my "safety line", hooked to a spare halyard. It's a very efficient system, one I've used about a dozen times, on other people's boats. I'm trying to scrape the bucks together, at the moment, to overhaul my mast and rigging, so mast work will be a low priority for a while.
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Old 31-10-2013, 09:01   #2538
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

The top climber system looks interesting. The maststeps are dangerous with the fast motion of a multihull.

I use a similar system to the one shown by Mike McMullen in his multihulls seamanship book from way back. I have a bosun chair rigged with a 5-1 tackle and mountain rescue ascender descender after the tackle rigged with a short line to the chair. Basically you hold the end of the line and move the ascender up then pull down on it to take another bite. The weight on the ascender sitting in the chair locks you in place. I haul myself up and the line goes into a bag tied to the chair so it doesn't foul. If I have a helper they can handle the line and it is much faster than the stop and bag. I tie a safety line around the mast above each spreader as I come to it, using 2 the second is tied to the next section before the first is released. It is a safe singlehanded system, easier to pull up than winch without the danger of the help losing the tail, getting an override etc....Not really fast but with a good chair you are comfortable for hours if you need be up that long. Use your legs around the mast to control your position and swing in waves.
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Old 31-10-2013, 09:40   #2539
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Quick note here, for masthead work the ascender line has to be very short, you pull the line through it instead of pulling with the ascender. Another option for higher work is to hoist a halyard with a stirrup or step (keeps your foot from getting caught in a loop) to get over the masthead. Don't forget a downline so you can retrieve it when you are back on deck. An important safety procedure is to remember to secure the end of the tackle line if your weight is off the ascender. A cleat on your chair is one method. In all cases practice with your gear at very low heights to be sure you understand how everything works before going up a mast.
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Old 31-10-2013, 10:05   #2540
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I had 2" x 2" aluminum L angle that worked well. Halyards hanging up wasn't much of a problem and it made it so easy to go up the mast that all the maintenance was taken care of more often. I think the ascenders would work well to but not as easy.
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Old 31-10-2013, 10:23   #2541
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Jim Brown uses short sections of aluminum angle like Randy uses: click on link)

Sailing Scrimshaw, Part Three | OutRig Media
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Old 31-10-2013, 12:56   #2542
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

GOING ALOFT:
I use two different styles of mast steps. The two steps that are underneath the mainsail cover when not under way, are the cast aluminum folding design. They are out of the way, create no snags, do not rattle, and if bedded properly in caulk, they don't encourage corrosion either.

Once above the sail cover throat's height, the steps switch to being those triangular marine store versions, that are made of flat extruded aluminum (2" wide), and are ribbed all around. They are incredibly light, very strong, and like the others, they encourage neither snags, nor corrosion of the mast.

I have these fixed steps only to the height of well below the lower spreaders, where I have a pair that are matched in height (side by side), so that I can stand with my arms hanging over the spreaders, to watch for coral when making a landfall. (Rarely needed, but nice)...

Then there are no more steps until the mast's head, where I have another pair of the cast aluminum folding version, about 3' below the very top. This makes it where I can go up the rig in my self propelled bosun's chair, stand on the "just unfolded" steps, tie a safety strap around the mast and my backside, and then stand there! These steps get my head well above the very top of even my tricolor light, for servicing whatever needs it. Without these, it is a challenge indeed!

CLIMBING THE RIG:
Since all of these things have been both avocation AND vocation over the years, I have climbed a mast hundreds if not thousands of times, as described below. I needed something that allowed me to work alone, and did not rely on hanging my ass in a sling, with the business end of the rope being controlled by a stranger.

This is what has worked for me:
I made a 3 to 1 purchase block & tackle with the LARGE Harken ratchet blocks,
(with > a 2,000 lb rating). The bottom block has only a shackle, and is attached to my chair. The top block has a shackle and a becket. This top block's shackle is attached to a bowline made above the main, the spinnaker, or the headsl's halyard. (Not relying on "their" shackle or splice). The bottom of this top block has the end of a 150' length of 1/2" NER Regatta Braid rope tied in and whipped... This rope goes down to the lower block, back up and over the top block, and then down to the deck.

I start with the rig (being sure that both of its ratchet blocks are ENGAGED), extended to its maximum 50', 3 legged length, this has then been figure eighted in a military "helmet bag", with the top block on top of the pile of rope.
I unzip this previously packed helmet bag, attach the top block to my hoisting halyard, and pull the bosun's rig all the way to the top, firmly. Then I wrap the halyard on a winch and securely cleat it. (This raising of the rig, is all in less than 1 minute)!

The bottom block is now at deck level, and I hook it to my chair for climbing. To get started, I will be pulling the loose end leg of rope, and I may need to fend off the boom with a hand on the shrouds, or or foot on the mast. It is quite easy. Then, once above the boom, I just hand over hand to the top. Remember, these are engaged ratchet blocks, so only turn in one direction, (UP). With this VERY soft but textured rope, you can let go at any time, and will not fall! Each pull is 1/3rd of one's weight, but it is with both hands. Then the blocks hold you there, you repossession your grip, and pull together, again... all the way up. Wherever, whenever I choose stop, (as a safety), I take the loose "final" leg of the rig that I was pulling, fold off 2' of it, and use it to tie a single hitch in the chair's attachment ring. It only takes TWO FINGERS, if anything at all, to hold myself in position! To come down, IF it will not drop on it's own, I disengage the bottom ratchet, so that it will.

It takes me a couple of minutes to get up there, (15 seconds to come down), and it is much faster than being raised by another person on a winch, safer too, imo...

WHICH CHAIR:
I use my comfortably padded "conventional" chair with 5 pockets, if it is a big job requiring many tools and a long time. For climbing a clients mast, I have stirrups that I can tie into their mast head, to get over the fact that they do not have mast head port & starboard steps. (This again, is to get my head over the stuff on top).

For a quick job or an inspection, I always use my professional repellers rig, (like rock climbers use). It attaches at my waist rather than at eye level, so gets me higher up without steps OR stirrups. YOU CAN NOT FALL OUT! For spreader end inspections or work, I can lay down, even hang slightly upside down, if necessary... using this rig & chair.

OTHER SOLUTIONS:
Conventional all the way up mast steps snag halyards, add unnecessary mast weight, add windage, and are very limited in utility. Most of the time both of your feet and one hand are not available for work, positioning, or fending off. Even if you tie yourself in place to free both hands, you can not go to spreader ends, or feel all the way down wires, or to get to that mess in the middle of your headsail extrusion.

Both the ATN climber and portable webbing mast stirrups that you suspend by a halyard, have the same problems. You have too much of your body occupied all of the time, are confined to the mast area, and can not get to the rest of the rig as effectively, if at all.

For doing long complicated jobs up the rig, OR shorter but VERY acrobatic jobs all over the rig, nothing works as well or as safely, as the two chairs I have described, suspended (with 100% self control), by the 3 purchase climbing rig that I suggest here.

Hope this helps,
Mark
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Old 31-10-2013, 13:59   #2543
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

It is challenging to make posts and think of all the safety factors. Jim Brown may use angle steps but they and the folding variety can allow your foot to slip off and when you swing back into the mast (hopefully you do have a line) they will cause more damage than the standard windage steps. The only quick fix I can come up with would be to fit the angles with the locking parts used for bikeing shoes and climb with the bike shoes. You'd have to twist your foot and lock in with each step but your foot wouldn't slip off. Still not as safe as the chairs. I'm tempted by the fold down steps at the top for time saving but again your feet won't slip off a stirrup.

I forgot....its Halloween and I have that troll outfit....Good to see all the posts, I was wondering if the Johnson Town faithful all drank the kool aid......(Sorry, now I can put this dang thing away......)
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Old 31-10-2013, 14:09   #2544
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Suppose i cant get better answers than that. Well done guys impressive detailed and a very fast delivery of information... Man this CF is sure worth its weight in gold. I have heard of people actually falling to their deaths from climbing masts here in NZ. I am not that fond of going up but when you gotta go you gotta go. Having safe systems like described. I love Jim Brown's video of him climbing the mast. But i wonder how he holds onto those little brackets.
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Old 31-10-2013, 15:26   #2545
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Rossad, they're just steps. You don't hold onto them, hold onto the mast. These days using better fall protection, I'd use a rock climbers harness and a Petzl grillion work lanyard to hold myself hands free to do whatever in comfort and safety.
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Old 31-10-2013, 17:39   #2546
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Over the years, I've had four friends fall from the mast, one didn't make it. A safety line is part of my kit, these days.
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Old 31-10-2013, 22:58   #2547
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

I have a trip to the mast head in my near future. Lost the jib halyard the last time out.
Corazon came with a bosuns chair and all the trimmings. I've attached photo to see if anyone can help me put the pieces together.

the rode is oversized and the blocks in good shape
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:16   #2548
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

It looks pretty standard, are they both fiddle blocks? You really should run a 5-1 purchase to make hauling up easier....getting tired isn't helpful for maintaining a grip. This looks like it will be 4-1, or do we count it 3-1? For a set up like this the block with the cam cleat is attached to the chair and the other block hoisted on the remaining halyard that you know is in good condition, I attach a second as a back up. The line of course is run through the blocks with the final run leaving the tail at the cam. You need 4 times the mast height in length around 200 feet for your size boat. You still need to tie a sailbag on the chair to bag the line going up. I don't recommend a set up like this because it doesn't have the safety of using an ascender. If you lose the line before you cleat it it will run out as you play down elevator. On an ascender set up the line exits the top block giving you a 5-1 and if you slip it will catch you as it works on the end line. When I first started mast work I tested this out and it really works, automatic brakes instead of bone breaks. Naturally with the ascender you need another mast length of line, about 250 feet for a SR34. If budget is a problem you can use a 1/2 nylon rode if your blocks are big enough. Use leather gloves, smaller line is harder on your hands.

If the jib halyard is just stuck at the top and doesn't need to be threaded a long pole with a treble hook can be rigged to snag it.
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Old 01-11-2013, 17:06   #2549
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Roy:
Very good point about safety. We all need to be so careful, don't we!

I frequently go up my OWN rig sans safety rope, (IF I am alone), but on other's boats, I usually have the client handle a safety rope, with a turn or two on the winch. They would MUCH prefer this job, vs having to slowly winch me up the mast.

On one 30' boat that I had done mast work on, his halyard (that I had previously used to go up), popped, the next time he went out! The "law of averages" is in fact... "the law"! If you do risky stuff ALL of your life, as I have, you have got to be very very careful. Luck only takes you so far.



Dale:
About your chair... YOU have to determine its strength first. Some knock off brands use what they call "Poly" webbing, as if POLYester, was the same as POLYpropylene. The former is very strong with a long life, and the latter, not so much.
Also, Polypropylene breaks down quickly from UVs.

Polyester (aka Dacron), has the look and feel of a seatbelt... It's smooth, supple, and neither slick nor shiny (as is the case with Polypropylene).
The quality of the threads matter too, ESPECIALLY if this is old, worn, and spent time in the Sun.

My old West Marine "deluxe" bosun's chair was part of a re-call, so we beefed it up with an extra layer of seat belt gauge Polyester webbing over all of the other webbing, including across the back. We made some nifty stirrups at the same time.

Regarding the climbing blocks shown...
These appear to be a 4 to 1 setup, as the cam block HAS to be the bottom block. Being 4 to 1, you would need almost 200' of line, it therefore takes a LONG time to pull yourself up, and the load you experience is actually more than the 3 to 1 rig I have previously described. The reason is that with your rig, you can only keep the tail of the rope in the cam, if you have one hand free to do it. That means that you are pulling yourself up with ONE HAND! WHEW!!! Also, if you let go, and your rope's tail is not in the cam cleat, or pops out of it, you will fall! Lastly, the snap shackle block IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED. Snap shackles can easily snag their ring and suddenly open!

ALSO... Never risk your life by trusting a halyard's snap shackle, but connect your lifting rig's block with a standard SS screw shackle, going over a bowline, that has been tied to the halyard just above its shackle.

Imo... These blocks you have are fine for use as a preventer, but not for mast climbing. For total versatility when climbing the rig, even when you're on your own, only the climbing rig and method that I suggested above, will fill the bill. It will also get you to places that conventional mast steps can not.

With MY suggested climbing rig, each pull is with "both hands", and if you accidentally let go, nothing happens... The ratchets hold you up. Even if one block gets accidentally dis-engaged, the other block's ratchet will only allow you to come down slowly, but not fall.

It only works as described with Harken's BIG ratchet blocks. Both have big beefy standard screw pin shackles, but one block also has a becket as well. (NO snap shackles)
Btw... Do NOT trust their 1,700 lb working load "smaller version" for this application. I actually cracked one of these 30 years ago, from the shock load applied when I came down quickly, and stopped mid mast too abruptly. Harken kindly sent me the larger blocks at no charge. For this kind of dangerous work, as they suggested, a 10 to 1 safety factor is about right!

It is also important that you use NERs 1/2" "Regatta" braid for this rig, if you want it to work as well, be as safe from falling (due to its knobby texture), feel as good in your hands, offer the best grip, and fall in a pile with no hockles.

It took some trial & error for me to get there... but this combination is what really works for climbing the rig, (even on ones own when necessary), and offers maximum versatility for carrying your tools AND accessing the entire rig .

If these special purpose Harken blocks (and Regatta braid rope) are too expensive for you right now Dale, better off to just get someone to winch you up imo. You will find them everywhere you go.

Regards,
Mark
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Old 01-11-2013, 21:08   #2550
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Re: Trimaran - Especially Searunner - Owners

Thanks for that mark and Cavalier,
I think I'll hire it done , even at Mexican Wages.
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