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Old 06-07-2011, 15:38   #1
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Location: Patuxent River, MD
Boat: 1979 Columbia 8.3 (27')
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Climbing the mast in dry storage

Hey guys,
I just bought my first boat (1979 Columbia 8.3) a few weeks ago and learning more and more everyday. While I was inspecting the rigging I found a need to climb the mast and was wondering if that could/should be done while the boat is in dry storage. Also the main halyard isn't exactly in perfect shape and from what I've heard that's the easiest way to hoist someone up the mast
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Old 06-07-2011, 15:45   #2
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Re: Climbing the mast in dry storage

EEK You might want to ask the marina or storage yard if they allow it first, but assuming they do then please replace the main and the spinnaker halyards if they are a bit ropey. You need one for hauling and one for safety just in case.

Whilst a bosuns chair is okay you will have difficulty working on the top of the mast because they don't go high enough. However, there are other alternatives. I use a flexible mast climbing ladder, others prefer a harness with prussic knots etc. Worth doing a search on here.

The other option of course is to take the mast down, which means you can work on it properly at ground level. Then you can really check it out, see the lights work and the VHF etc are in good condition.

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Old 06-07-2011, 15:52   #3
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Re: Climbing the mast in dry storage

There's no significant difference in the safety of going up the mast wether you are in the water or on a secure set of jack-stands on the hard, but a reliable halyard, a secure bosun's chair and harness with a safety line is essential. It should be a simple task to replace your halyard with new line. This can be accomplished by abutting the bitter ends of the old and new halyard wrapped in a couple feet of tape. Run the length of the tape alligned with the line so there is a large surface area of adhesion on both lines, but nothing bulky that can become caught at the masthead. Once you have the new halyard placed Do Not use a snap shackle on the halyard to secure the bosun's chair, but put a bowline on the chairs lift ring first and then the shackle. I like to have one person crank and another tail while I keep a short safety line from the chair around the mast and shifting it at a pause when crossing the spreaders. When your handling tools aloft, be sure to have those below secure the line and walk away from under your work.
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