The following is my side of a "back and forth", on another forum, about the advantages and a safe way to hoist yourself. With a small halyard on a small boat, I would first use a 1/8" parachute cord or the like, as a messenger line, then replace the halyard with a NEW low stretch one. The conversation went...
I have hoisted myself exclusively useing a 3 to 1 block set up for 25 years, with no problems. My hoisting rig is made up of two Harken
ratchet blocks (with the little switches), and Regatta
braid for the good grip in the sheaves & my hands. I do engage both ratchets and therefore "sometimes" have to give the last leg of my hoisting line a little shake when I want to go down a bit, (or I just hang there). When I get where I need to be, I feed a folded 2' section of the hoisting line through a ring on my harness, and do a single
half hitch. This acts as a safety
, although there is "0" load on the knot
, so it doesn't tighten up. When ready to come ALL the way down, I disengauge the lower ratchet block, and letting the line gently slide through my hands, I'm down in a few seconds. The system works great!
Bob, I leave the upper ratchet block engaged at all times. I CAN come down with both engaged, but slowly. It will even stop at times, then I would give the leg of the line in my hands a little shake. So for coming down from say, the upper to the lower spreaders, I leave both engaged. To come from the top to the bottom quickly, I disengage the bottom one only. Then there is no more than 5 or 10 lbs of pull on the line in my hands as I come down. It is so minimal that I can control the rate of decent with very little hand pressure and I don't get "rope burn". I do of coarse stay mentally ready and keep a good grip, in the possability that the upper (only engaged) ratchet should let go. (hasn't happened in hundreds of assents, but...) With both blocks in the ratchet possition, one acts as a safety
for the other. If I used a slicker rope
, perhaps StaSet, I think both blocks could always be left in the ratchet possition, even comeing down. This would I suppose be safer, as then BOTH blocks would have to fail... Nevertheless, I prefer the 1/2" Regalla braid as it doesn't get hockles, and has a good hand. The only cost is that I do have to disengage the lower block for a "fast" decent.
The beauty of this system is this... I used to climb ropes hand over hand for fun, but now I'm 56 and avoid such shenanigans. With this system I'm only lifting 1/3rd of my weight, and each pull is with both arms "working together". Inbetween pulls, or every 5th pull, one can rest if needed, as there is now only about 1/2 a pound of pull on the line in your hands! The ratchets & friction hold you there... untill the next pull.
The problem with leg assenders
steps), is that then both your arms and legs are occupied. I use my legs to fend off from swinging into the bimini
, then the mast
, (if she's rockin), get past the radar
, etc. I use my legs a lot to possition myself.
So I have my legs free and one of my hands. Doing an inspection
I start at the top and come down in a controled way, with one hand providing control only & "0" effort. Helps to focus on the job at hand.
Bob, The blocks I use are Harken
#s 1549 and 1550. They have a WL of 1,800 lbs. and both have a "black" sliding switch for on and off. Neither will reverse, but on orrigional set up of your rig, you just flip flop the block if necessary, to get it where it is ratcheting in the direction that you want.
I would NOT CONSIDER the smaller ratchet blocks with their 750lb WL! When I started using this rig 25 or so years ago, I started with these smaller 750 lb WL blocks. Even though I was only 130 lbs, (at the time), I seriously cracked one of the blocks! I used slicker rope
then, and liked to come down really fast, then snap to a stop when I got where I wanted to be. This "shock load" is multiples of the static load. I talked to Harken about this application and what had happened. They recomended the larger pair, and kindly sent one of the larger ones (1,800 WL), as a no charge replacement. I immediately bought the other block to match. I've been using them ever since...
This is no place to skimp! Regards, Mark
Stumble, For my rig to result in a freefall to the deck
, the 1,800 WL blocks would have to fail. I would have to not only loose my grip on the rope in my hand, (which has almost no load on it), but the ratchet feature of both blocks would have to fail. With both engaged, it requires a little shake to let me down at all. If I disengage the lower block only, and totally release the line in my hand, the always engaged upper block still lets me down quite slowly. The weight of the last leg of this 1/2' Regatta braid alone is enough to create the required friction in the upper block. These blocks do not have a smooth sheave, they get quite a grip... in a controlled slipping sort of way. So, even if I was falling at 3 MPH, the line that is slipped out of my hand is only moving @ 9 MPH! I can just grab it when ready. (We're talking about no more effort than say... picking up a cup of coffee.) I have done this countless times, it works well and is nothing like a free fall, even if I let go.
If I leave both blocks engaged, which I do when I have one hand occupied for example, I can let go of the line altogether, until I shake it to get me going down again... ever so slowly.
In this case, the ratchet feature of BOTH blocks would have to fail, to create an "almost" free fall.
I NEVER disengage the lower block, (thereby relying on the integrity of the upper block's ratchet feature alone), UNLESS I have a firm grip on the business end of the rope that is gently slipping through my hand, (with < a 2 pound load). I assume the worst case scenario, and that the upper blocks ratchet feature might fail.
It is not perfectly safe... their are varying degrees of safety. Going up a rig without anyone else around is inherently unsafe, but more often than not, this is what I need to do. Even if the client is there, I consider this set up safer than having a stranger winch
me up. (OR my wife for that matter)!
If it is my 3rd or 4th trip up in a row, I do accept help from the client on deck
, helping to pull on the tackle's last leg. Otherwise, if it is available, I have a "safety halyard" hooked in, and the client tails it after a winch
What I really consider unsafe is when the only halyard available is the spinnaker
halyard. Then my rig is dangling from a block (of questionable size & condition), In front of the mast
. I now use a spinnaker
halyard on my boat only!
Hope this helps... M