Friday, September 13, 2013

Ways To Get High

No, I'm not talking about how to smoke pot.  According to statistics, most of ya'll already know about that.

If you've been reading our recent posts, you know that we've been working on Nirvana in hopes of sailing her before it gets cold.  Luckily, it doesn't get really cold here in Louisiana until December but we're getting antsy.

We have one more project to do before putting on the sails and leaving the dock for the day ... installing a lazy jack system and our new sail pack.  Adding the sail pack isn't a big deal, but the lazy jack system requires getting high ... up the mast.

Ken and I plan on purchasing something after our house sells to climb the mast, but until then we must rely on friends.  That's not a bad thing, and we're lucky to have friends that have the equipment to climb the mast ... but we wait.  We all work during the week and have our own schedules, but the plan is to have the lazy jacks installed no later than the end of the month.

All of this waiting has got us thinking about what we want to buy for ourselves to climb the mast.  There are several ways to get high ... bosun chair,  mast steps, mast ladder, or fabric steps such as Mast Mate.  We're not considering a ladder, but we are considering the other options.  We like the idea of mast steps, but wonder if we should only consider the folding mast steps.  Thoughts of the steps being in the way come to mind if they don't fold up.  Our friend will be using his Mast Mate when he helps with our lazy jacks.  This seems to be a good option, but we're thinking we like those real steps a little better.  Than there's the bosun's chair, which is used by a lot of folks ... hmmm.  No matter what we decide, we'll be clipped to something as a back-up device.

The guy in the picture below from our neighborhood ... we both have a Catalina, but we won't be getting high his way!

So, what are your experiences and recommendations?  I'm not gonna lie ... we're a little nervous.

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!  


Sandee said...

I know nothing about working on sailboats, but I do know that you are both careful boaters and you'll make sure that you have the right equipment for this job. Right? I thought so.

Have a fabulous day and weekend. :)

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. My opinion would be to steer more towards the Mast Mate or bosun's chair. I have hauled several people up masts with a bosun's chair and it's not too bad for the occasional times you go up the mast. I like the Mast Mate and think I will go in that direction except for the fact that we have seen used bosun's chair that are brand new in the original package for as little as $25 at the marine consignment shops.

I would stay away from the permanent mast steps. The weight might not seem like a lot but when you add them up and put them aloft, it can significantly alter your boat. On a low to moderate displacement boat like our Catalinas, this could be a problem. You could end up with a more tender boat that doesn't point as well.

Just my $0.02 and that's about what it's worth.

Fair winds,


S/V CarolMarie said...

My wife went up our mast with a climbing harness she got at a local rock climbing store. We used a set of two halyards, one for safety and one for hoisting. She considerably lighter than me so it was easy to decide who'd go up.

The previous owner had enough line to go four times the length of the mast at 58' That way he used a pulley purchase system and hoisted himself.

It's easy enough. My wife said she even had fun.

S/V CarolMarie said...

My wife, much smaller than I went up our mast with a rock climbing harness and helmet. I hoisted her using two halyards, one for the hoist and a second for the safety. She said she had fun and it felt more secure than the bosun's chair.

The previous owner used a length of line four times the length of the mast with a two pulley purchase. He lifted himself up on that.

Either way use the harness or chair. When you drill hole in the mast you create weak point for cracks and failures of the mast. Leave the structure of the mast in tact as much as possible.

Personally I'd forego the lazy jacks on a Catalina 30. With new sail cloth they fold up pretty well in my experience. Also the is less to go wrong.

Anonymous said...

No to mast steps from me. We had steps aboard Satori. For your boat I would not. If you might go around the world, yeah, maybe. But coastal/islands? No. They make a lot of wind noise that gets irritating and can chaff through or snag/tear a sail if you forget to check. On your thirty foot boat you will hardly use them at all vs the expense. Just get a bosun chair and learn from someone how to do it safely. There will be lots of buddy boat help if you need to haul hubby up. But,it would not surprise me if you never have to even use a chair. Save those bucks for cruising. Ken

Dan N Jaye said...

We use the ATN "topclimber." As long as you're reasonably athletic, you can climb the mast yourself on a spare halyard, no mast steps required. (We use an additional safety link just to be prudent.) It feels secure, and the view is lots of fun!

Drew Frye said...

I'm a long time climber and sailor. If you are only going to the spreaders at dock there is nothing wrong with a ladder.

Raise it with a/halyard. That will keep it safe until you get a/chance to tie it off.

Pad the top wrung to save the mast.

Wear a harness.

Low on the mast it can be the best way, no matter what the peanutt gallery says.

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