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Old 10-11-2007, 03:51   #16
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How many steps did it take and how far apart did you place them. When I calculated the cost for a full set I got a new appreciation for my Bosun's chair.
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:48   #17
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Originally Posted by Lancerbye View Post
Cooper

How many steps did it take and how far apart did you place them. When I calculated the cost for a full set I got a new appreciation for my Bosun's chair.
I'm with you in regards to the cost, but I've got a wooden spar, which needs a lot of maintenance. I'm usually the guy who poo-poos watermakers and chart plotters, so I look at the mest steps as a good place to invest, since it will directly increase our vessel's safety.

I should be putting a new coat of varnish on every six months, but every quarter would be better. Being able to inspect the rig easily is worth the cost to me.
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:16   #18
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I eventually painted my mast white after going up to the top with varnish every 6 months. I painted it 5 coats of white after 5 coats of varnish and left it varnished only to about 8 feet off the deck. You can see how it looks in the photo when you click on my name.
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:49   #19
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I'm thinking of painting my mast as well, but I sort of want to get it cleaned up nice and good first.
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:20   #20
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::chuckle::

Yah, the "leave it varnished so you can see what's happening in the wood" call, while very true, is usually loudest from those who don't have to maintain the varnishing. While it wasn't the only reason, I moved to a different boat in part because of too much maintenance of the wood mast, spars... I loved to sail with them, but not to keep them clean and protected.

I should mention that I had to repair my wood mast - clothespin splice in a new base - because the PO had allowed it to rot inside the mastboot. Water was getting into the painted wood, probably starting at the brass tacks used through the painted canvas boot. The rot went fully half-way through the mast, yet they'd been sailing the boat! (But, this was why I could afford it...)
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:43   #21
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Not to derail the thread from mast steps, but maybe you guys can help me with some wooden spar advice as well. I have a bit of rot in one of my spreaders, so I'll get that replaced. I want to take the mast down to the wood, and probably paint it, at least from the spreaders up.

Should I pop it off and lay it flat in a yard? I found a place that would let me do it, and it wouldn't cost a ton, but it's a pain to take it off (and put it back). Any thoughts on that one?
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:56   #22
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By no means an expert, but...

I would have the mast pulled and lay it down. If you're going to scrape it down to bare, it's really important that you get it covered back up fast - paint, varnish, or whatever you plan to do. That will happen fastest if you have it down and can really get your hands on the project.

I don't know what kind of stick you have, but most are built-up. Whenever there's a problem you should double check all the scarfs; most likely they will show problems before anywhere else. The usual advice about being especially careful of end grain, grain run-out, etc, any place moisture is likely to get into the wood.

But the biggest thing I've seen is speed. You need to really have time to work on it, money to complete the project, and you need to get it done quickly and the stick back in the boat.
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Old 10-11-2007, 13:07   #23
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I'll probably wait for the spring then, to save some cash and really get ready. Nothing is going to happen in the next 4 months that's going to make or break the rig, and we're not in sailing shape this winter anyway.

I think I'll probably take two weeks off from my job. That will give me a week to do the work, and a few days on each end to deal with delays and restepping.

I have to get it painted as well. I think this spring is going to have me in the yards for a while spending money than I'd like to. Can't be pennywise and pound foulish though.
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Old 10-11-2007, 16:52   #24
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Lancerbye, they are every 600mm aprox 2 feet. This makes for a stretch when climbing. The spreaders make up one pair. When I bought the boat (I bought it as a wreck) oddly the steps went two thirds of the way up the mast and then stopped. I found three more buried under a heap of crap but still needed four more to finish to the mast top. They where just short of 30 bucks oz 7 years ago. Thats a lot of spundooley if your going to do a whole mast from scratch. I would love to know just how much extra windage aloft the alluminium triangle type add.
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Old 10-11-2007, 20:30   #25
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Cooper

Thanks for the reply. I bought 4 steps last summer at a sale price of $15US. I wasn't sure of the quality (skeptical of Asian knock offs), but the quality and the finish was good so if they come back on sale next summer I will buy another 24. (I had already blown my upgrade budget for last year into outerspace) LOL
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Old 11-11-2007, 13:40   #26
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So let's ballpark 40' of mast, and you'd need one every 2 feet, on both sides, so that's 20x2=40. I'm sure I can use a winch and the boom as a foothold, so that will spare a couple, and then I can use those for the double sets at the spreader or mast head.

40x$16.99 = $680.

Not cheap for sure; that might explain why not a lot of people are doing it.
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Old 11-11-2007, 14:26   #27
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Also, found this while google'ing around:

Take the Mystery Out of Boat Maintenance - Google Book Search

Pretty cool. Might pick up that book. Talks about how to do all the things I need to do to my spar.
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Old 11-11-2007, 15:08   #28
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40x$16.99 = $680.

Not cheap for sure; that might explain why not a lot of people are doing it.
Brion Toss's Bosun's Harness is $389.95 USD. Having worked with this harness in class, and various other bosun's chairs, it's far beyond worth the expense, and a great tool for more than just getting to the masthead. It's also a sizable portion of the cost of mast steps... everything which works well in boats costs an arm and a leg, unfortunately. (IIRC, each harness is actually made to order, so there's a *reason* the things are so expensive.)

If I had my druthers, I'd have my rope ladder to climb and the harness serving as my backup/place to sit when I get up there. Belt-and-braces sort of thing, I suppose.
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Old 11-11-2007, 15:15   #29
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I'm thinking the mast steps and a climbing harness will do me well. I've done climbing (rocks / mountain stuff) with a harness on, so I feel comfortable dangling around in one, and already have one sitting with my backpacking gear.

Being able to solo the mast is a big plus for me, and I'm in full agreement about using the spreaders as a good position for spotting reefs.
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Old 11-11-2007, 17:33   #30
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I was looking into mast steps recently and found references to Mast Mate. It's a nylon web ladder that is hoisted with a halyard and secured in the mast track. I bought one and have used it twice so far. It can be set up in 2 or 3 minutes and take down just as quickly. with it I can get to the top of the mast. If I have a harness on even my 79 year old mother can secure the end of the line because my legs do all the work. She only needs to secure me at the current height.

Mast steps provide immediate access aloft, but given the expense and the added drilling in the mast, the Mast Mate may be a reasonable alternative.

Mast Mate Details

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