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Old 18-01-2021, 16:18   #1
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Climb mast - no ropes!

I recently took down my sails for the winter, and stupidly took down the halyards too.



Does anyone know a fairly safe method to climb a mast without a halyard? Might there be ascenders I could attach to the cap shrouds? Or, loop around the mast and inch-worm my way up?

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Old 18-01-2021, 16:25   #2
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

Have the yard take down the mast. It isn't that expensive for a small boat. I have them do mine every winter as a precaution against damage while on the hard.
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Old 18-01-2021, 16:29   #3
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

Agree with Jammer. That's a fairly small mast. Pretty easy to take it down. But if you don't want to do that you could still use the mast crane and hoist yourself up.
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Old 18-01-2021, 16:48   #4
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

Two loops of line prussiked to the mast has got me up without halyards before. It's slow--you hang on one while bringing the other up, but it'll get you up safely.
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Old 18-01-2021, 17:52   #5
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

When I was a young one, I used to shimmy up my mast. Not so much now.....
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Old 18-01-2021, 19:01   #6
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

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Originally Posted by Benz View Post
Two loops of line prussiked to the mast has got me up without halyards before. It's slow--you hang on one while bringing the other up, but it'll get you up safely.
I'll look into doing this. My brother is a rock climber, I'm sure he'll know how. To the others who suggested the yard taking the mast down, I would normally go that route but my marina's mast crane got destroyed in a flood a couple years ago. Hiring a crane to drive in costs $225. I think I can do this, I'm only 39 and not overly obese.
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Old 18-01-2021, 22:36   #7
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

I can brainstorm a few more ways:

1: get a group of friends and take the mast down by hand:
2. On a calm day take the boat close enough to a bridge from which friends can reach the mast to either run a new halyard or attach a line (or come-along) to help remove the mast. You should anchor up wind/current and back slowly to get close enough. Also, you should pick a bridge which doesn't have much traffic - some folks may object.
3. Possibly the same if there are trees with large enough limbs overhanging the water.
4. Heel your boat over enough that the top of your mast can be reached from the mast of another boat tied nearby. This one seems the trickiest to me and is one I've never actually tried, but I've heard of using a neighboring boat (or two) to help pull a mast, so maybe there is something there.
5. There is probably a forklift available in a yard that has power boats stored in racks. They may lift you or help pull the mast for a fee.
6. A tree trimming company or utility crew may have a bucket truck available during a slow time that would be available cheaper than a crane. This is probably the safest of all.


Good luck!
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:02   #8
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benz View Post
Two loops of line prussiked to the mast has got me up without halyards before. It's slow--you hang on one while bringing the other up, but it'll get you up safely.
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:08   #9
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

Growing up in West Africa, I learned a few tricks that most others don't know. One was shimmying up palm trees to get dates and coconuts. Hug the tree with arms and legs and scoot right up. I have used that trick several times on boats to retrieve halyards, replace lights, etc when I don't have help to get me up. I tie a safety line at the top to hold me if I have to do any work. The difficult part was getting past the spreaders, but I always managed. I'm 72 now so those days are gone. I let the younger guys deal with it.
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:26   #10
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

Tree climbing techniques rather than rock climbing. Maybe find a coconut harvister?
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:40   #11
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

rent a tall step ladder.
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:47   #12
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

Per Benz - if you prussic up, you may want an extra line or two to tie a new knot when you hit the spreaders vs. removing one and retying it. It is slow, but should work. I've never done that on a mast before, but have used it going up ropes. I just wonder if the mast will be too slippery and the knots would slip... Sounds like Benz has done it successfully, though. I would think this would be the simplest other than a bucket truck or taking the mast down.
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Old 19-01-2021, 09:50   #13
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

The main problem is not climbing the mast but having the halyards back in their holes, and that may be better with the rig stepped down
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Old 19-01-2021, 10:03   #14
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikebikeboy View Post
I recently took down my sails for the winter, and stupidly took down the halyards too.



Does anyone know a fairly safe method to climb a mast without a halyard? Might there be ascenders I could attach to the cap shrouds? Or, loop around the mast and inch-worm my way up?

#dontWannaDie
Jib halyard?
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Old 19-01-2021, 10:12   #15
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Re: Climb mast - no ropes!

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Originally Posted by Lionshooter View Post
Growing up in West Africa, I learned a few tricks that most others don't know. One was shimmying up palm trees to get dates and coconuts. Hug the tree with arms and legs and scoot right up. I have used that trick several times on boats to retrieve halyards, replace lights, etc when I don't have help to get me up. I tie a safety line at the top to hold me if I have to do any work. The difficult part was getting past the spreaders, but I always managed. I'm 72 now so those days are gone. I let the younger guys deal with it.
And if you take a shot at a lion and miss those tree climbing skills could be really valuable.......
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