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Old 21-08-2014, 14:01   #16
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Re: Going up the mast

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Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
Sort of. You actually start with the figure 8 stopper knot, then wrap it through the harness and then trace the end of the line back over the figure 8. Check out this site it shows you how to tie it.

Figure 8 Follow Through | How to tie the Figure 8 Follow Through | Climbing Knots
I have no climbing experience and so have always used a bowline on the bight in the main halyard and shackled this to the bosun's chair. The spinnaker halyard has been used as an emergency line attached to my harness. Every couple of metres of being hauled up the emergency line is tightened on a separate winch.

I have a query about the Figure 8. I assumed if a Figure 8 was used, then the Directional Figure 8 would be tied on the bight, not the Figure 8 Follow Through. It the Directional Figure 8 a worse choice?
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Old 21-08-2014, 14:04   #17
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Re: Going up the mast

"Never trust your life to a shackle" is something to think about. Invisible corrosion in stainless is always a concern and a shackle is almost never required.
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Old 21-08-2014, 14:05   #18
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Re: Going up the mast

What is wrong with the halyard shackle? It's usually a locking type and it's on a splice. If you want to go flying around, put a bit of rigging tape on the pin.
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Old 21-08-2014, 14:07   #19
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Re: Going up the mast

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The very professional rigger that I have used, uses a bowline to attach his rig to the main halyard. Nigel Calder also recommends a bowline. Anyone ever had a bowline fail?????

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My assumption for this (which could be wrong) is that boat people know how to tie a bowline so they are not over complicating things by teaching you something you are unfamiliar with.

Two reasons I know of why rock climbers don't use bowlines are

1. Bowlines are easily tied wrong and hard to quickly identify as being tied wrong. Where as a figure 8 is very simple to tie and you can spot one that is tied wrong from 10 feet away. Falls into the KISS method and safety by redundancy.

2. Although it is rare, in the right conditions if you take the load off of a bowline and manipulate it enough it can work itself loose. (this only really applies to newly tied bowlines, not ones that have been tied for years and the rope has set into a permanent shape) You also can't easily tie a backup knot to a bowline where you can with an 8.
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Old 21-08-2014, 14:13   #20
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Re: Going up the mast

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
I have a query about the Figure 8. I assumed if a Figure 8 was used, then the Directional Figure 8 would be tied on the bight, not the Figure 8 Follow Through. It the Directional Figure 8 a worse choice?
Not sure I completely understand the question but the follow through figure 8 is tied into or through something.

For example if I don't have any carabiners I will tie a figure 8 stopper knot, pass the bight through the harness loop then trace it back over the figure 8 and finish the tail with a backup knot.

If I have 2 carabiners I will tie a double 8 ( you can't tie a double 8 through something you can only make the loop) then I will attach my 2 carabiners with the gates opposing one another through the bight and through my harness.

Here is a pic of a double 8

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Old 21-08-2014, 14:17   #21
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Re: Going up the mast

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"Never trust your life to a shackle" is something to think about. Invisible corrosion in stainless is always a concern and a shackle is almost never required.
+100!!!

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What is wrong with the halyard shackle? It's usually a locking type and it's on a splice. If you want to go flying around, put a bit of rigging tape on the pin.
The short answer is it isn't rated or designed to save your life. You can probably use it a million times to climb and be fine but it only takes once to die.

Climbing gear is specifically designed not to fail with in its rated life span. Especially ropes and harnesses are supposed to be thrown away after roughly 5 years or after a certain number of climbs.

Climbing rocks or a mast is a life threatening activity. The gear you use should be specifically up to that task, not just what you have on board.
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Old 21-08-2014, 14:36   #22
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Re: Going up the mast

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Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
Not sure I completely understand the question but the follow through figure 8 is tied into or through something.

For example if I don't have any carabiners I will tie a figure 8 stopper knot, pass the bight through the harness loop then trace it back over the figure 8 and finish the tail with a backup knot.
The thimble on the end of my halyard is too big to be fed through the loops on my bosun's chair, so tying it on this way is not an option for me.

So if you can't feed it through, you would tie a Double Figure 8, not a Directional Figure 8? This just looks very bulky.
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Old 21-08-2014, 14:43   #23
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Re: Going up the mast

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
The thimble on the end of my halyard is too big to be fed through the loops on my bosun's chair, so tying it on this way is not an option for me.

So if you can't feed it through, you would tie a Double Figure 8, not a Directional Figure 8? This just looks very bulky.
When you dress and tighten it, it isn't all that big. The idea is knots should be slim and pretty. I think the old saying is "a dressed knot is a happy knot and a happy knot is safe"

If you do use the double 8 make sure you are using climbing carabiners with locking gates to clip in with)

All of this is an extra investment and more work but it is by far the safest as opposed to what people can get away with.
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Old 21-08-2014, 14:54   #24
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Re: Going up the mast

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What is wrong with the halyard shackle? It's usually a locking type and it's on a splice. If you want to go flying around, put a bit of rigging tape on the pin.
You cannot tell if it is about to fall apart. Stainless steel is subject to corrosion that is invisible to the eye. But it can fail at a moments notice. If a shackle fails in its intended purpose the main sail falls but nobody dies. If it fails and drops a person it can be fatal. Just because you have a backup safety line is no reason to trust a shackle.

For the same reason, never trust an external halyard that is lead to a block hanging from the mast truck (it has a stainless shackle). Always use internal halyards lead over separate sheaves for primary and safety lines. The sheaves can fail but the bolt through the mast probably will not. Even if the bolt fails the halyard cannot fall far.

Someone else in this thread talked about a 2-part purchase main halyard. That can be dangerous too if just tying onto the block. The block can explode and drop the person.

There are too many safety issues to cover in a thread like this. And there is lots of bad information in my opinion. If you don't do this regularly get the Brion Toss DVD and memorize it. Then watch it again right before going up the mast. He explains the proper hitches and safety procedures in great detail.
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Old 21-08-2014, 15:30   #25
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Re: Going up the mast

Sure a figure 8 is better than a bowline, but a fig-8 is probably a 9.9 out of 10 and a bowline is a 9.7

In fact the splice is theoretically stronger than either, but the quality of the splice is an unknown, which is why it is avoided.

Do use a safety line (another halyard) as a backup.

For choice I'' wear a climber's harness with the safety line on the harness and the main load-bearing line on the bosun's chair
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Old 21-08-2014, 15:40   #26
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Re: Going up the mast

Actually I tie a bowline by passing the loop through the cabrina or bosons chair rings, then tie a complete normal bowline using the doubled up line, and also clip the remaining loop into the cabrina. Not sure what this knot is called or if it has a name, but it sure looks strong!
No need to pass the bitter end through the cabrina or harness rings,
Wait I'll do it and take a pic!
Click image for larger version

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Happy to hear if someone thinks it's going to make me fall on my ass I'll rethink my method!
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Old 21-08-2014, 15:55   #27
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Re: Going up the mast

This is the standard figure 8 which I believe is recommended and can also be tied in the bight so no need to pull the halyard end through ( as we can't on our 2:1 halyard)
Possibly a better method than I was using beforeClick image for larger version

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Old 21-08-2014, 16:06   #28
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Re: Going up the mast

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
The thimble on the end of my halyard is too big to be fed through the loops on my bosun's chair, so tying it on this way is not an option for me.



So if you can't feed it through, you would tie a Double Figure 8, not a Directional Figure 8? This just looks very bulky.

Use an aluminum carabiner of known pedigree rated for climbing. Petzl make good ones.
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Old 21-08-2014, 17:15   #29
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Re: Going up the mast

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OK I've gotten the Bosun's chair and intend to go up and see what kind of anchor light I have as I want to go LED.
I replaced my anchor & tri bulbs with LED before my last trip but they failed in the rainy spell of weather we had. They are more vulnerable to damp than the old bulbs. I think you need a very weather proof case. - read more expensive
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Old 21-08-2014, 17:16   #30
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Re: Going up the mast

Hmmm...

If you are too worried about the possibility of a s/s shackle failing, then why not use a galvo shackle? Even a Crosby or equivalent. But really, we use a s/s 10 mm bow shackle that has never seen salt water as a link between the chair's mild steel eyes and the well tested spliced end of a halyard. My 80 kg mass does not stress this system beyond what, 5 % of its rated strength? If that worries you, fine, but it does not worry me. Before going aloft I bounce test the whole setup with an arrested fall of around a foot. That is not a definitive test, but is reassuring to me.

And FWIW, the professional riggers that I see don't use all this fancy gear. They have a look at the condition of the halyard and then tie (gasp) a single bowline through the loops on their (gasp) simple bosun's chair and go on up... many times a day, on many different boats. No safety lines, either. I guess they are all gonna die.

Frankly, comparing going up a mast in a controlled fashion to rock climbing isn't a valid practice. Climbing has the inherent risk of falling, due not to equipment failure but to climber error or over estimating their abilities as they try more and more difficult pitches. Mast work uses well tested gear (halyards that are taken to much higher stress levels every time one hoists a sail) in a controlled environment, one that does not rely upon the skill and strength of the climber.

I don't treat it lightly, but I don't worry too much either. YMMV.

Oh, BTW, I have a somewhat morbid fear of heights. It has taken me many years of mast work to get where I am reasonably comfortable up there. I can even enjoy the view... sometimes!

Cheers,

Jim
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