Mast Climbing

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Mast Climbing

Postby Shaun » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:32 pm

Hi,
What do you use to climb the mast?

Yesterday i connected the main halyard (which is a block&tackle arrangement), to my harness, also with a Prusik knot from my harness to the pull line, with a Klemheist knot around the mast as a safety backup that also doubled as a foot hold, this was quite easy to do.

However an improvement i think would be to haul a double block & tackle to the masthead, again with a Prusik knot to the pull line, again with a Klemheist knot around the mast....anyone tried this? It really seems just too easy :) , am i missing something?
Possibility of using the mainsheet blocks, if they are high rated.
I was using a 14(or 16)mm static abseiling rope.

cheers
shaun
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

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Re: Mast Climbing

Postby Miker » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:04 pm

I've done some research on this already, and whilst I've not actually tried it, I think Keith (Swift) has.

Buy two ascenders from your local climbing shop. One caribiner to the harness, one to a double foot strap. Haul a dedicated climbing rope to the top with the halyard, because the ascenders will damage the halyard. Then all you do is stand and sit all the way to the top. You can take a prussik (sp?) knot up with you under the lower ascender for added security. Aslo take a light line up to haul your bucket of tools when you get up there.

You can do it another way as well, by using two climbing ropes, and have an ascender attached to each one which is in turn attached to a foot strap. The harness is taken up via a loop that is around both ascenders and you simply walk up the mast by raising each ascender on each step.

These can be done without a safety, but of course if you have someone on deck to keep an eye on a second safety line on a winch, via a cam lock it's always better.

If you've not tried this, best go to a climbing wall and get the hang of it first, which is what I intend to do as soon as I get the gear together.

Michael
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Careel Bay, Pittwater
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Re: Mast Climbing

Postby Shaun » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:57 am

Thanks Michael,

In my 20's i used to do a bit of rockclimbing, but admit to not having used ascenders very much, always just used prusik knots, i wonder how they will go in a marine enviroment? also how do you propose to get down? to reverse the ascending process would be a long slow process(but clearly very safe). Thats the beauty of the prusik, a simple twist & you can descend quite happily, although i'd go slow as to not overheat the rope.

On further reasearch on the net, it seems most of the pro's use the block & tackle, but i couldnt find out the details of how they use it.

please let us know how you go with the ascenders.
cheers
Shaun
"Blue Moon" MkIII Junkette rig,
Camden Haven River,
Mid Nth Coast, NSW

Order of the Albatross - 2011
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The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Someone's random Youtube comment
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Re: Mast Climbing

Postby Dolphin » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:23 pm

G'Day Shaun,
I use ascenders, not very often by the way. I use the bosuns chair shackled to the genoa Halyard and an ascender connected to that and running on the spinnaker halyard. Don't use the snap shackle as it may break, shackle directly onto the hard eye (Thimble) in the wire. I climb up the spinnaker sheet that is securely cleated at both ends. My two feet are in straps connected to one ascender on the spinnaker sheet. A person on the genoa halyard winch takes the slack. They don't carry any weight as you are doing the standup sit down and using your legs.
"Going down, ladies corsettry, kitchen utensils 3rd floor going down"
It's a simple matter of manually holding open the ascenders, but not removing them from the rope in case something breaks and releasing the ascenders will hopefully arrest your fall. The person on the genoa winch slowly lowers you to the deck.
Most riggers will winch a person up the mast and they actually climb taking most of the weight. All their weight is taken on the one halyard.
I was winched up a mast once many years ago and 3 months later the halyard broke at the wire to rope splice. All that we could see was slight rusting in the joint area. Be careful. Always do a bounce in the chair before you get fully off the deck. Its always good to have someone on the winch that you owe a lot of money to as they are usually interested in getting you safely back on the deck! Wives may not be a good choice.
Greg.
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Felicite Mk III
Lake Macquarie
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Re: Mast Climbing

Postby Swift » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:02 am

Hi Shawn

My set up seems generally similar to yours.

My 3:1 tackle is made up from a double block and a ratchet block. I tried using a climbing harness only but found that it became uncomfortable so I sit on a primative bosons chair which came with the boat. For a safety back up the climbing harness is attached to an ascender which slides on the belayed spinaker halyard.

The one issue with this sytem is that I can't get my body high enough to work comfortably at the mast head. To solve this problem I have bought 2 mast steps which I will attach so that I can step on them to bring my chest level with the mast head.

Cheers
Keith
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Re: Mast Climbing

Postby rob.lovelace » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:05 am

I bought this
http://www.atninc.com/topclimber_en.php
which is just a bosuns seat on a assender and feet straps on the other
it worked well only on the way down the one the seat was on came off in my hand
and left me standing in the foot strap with the seat around my ankles.
hanging on with one hand and trying to put the assender back together with one hand was a job.
they should sell these things with a fresh pair of undies coz I needs some!!!
it has a safety pin that cant (shouldn't ) come off without pressing a button
I mustnt have had it in properly to start with, I'll be watching it next time
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