climbing your unstayed carbon mast, your experience?

User avatar
VeloFellow
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:41 pm

climbing your unstayed carbon mast, your experience?

Post by VeloFellow »

Who has been up their mast? Which system did you use?

The previous owner of Clave' installed the tides slides with mast up climbing at the dock.

For me, i have been sailing two years and now am just curious as to what is up there and condition of shackles and blocks.

One day while sailing a spare block on the boom fell to the deck. Stayed on board. I didn't fine the shackle pin. Most of the shackles I checked that day aren't wired, some with plastic electrical ties. That has made me think about climbing....

Your experiences? System chosen.

I am ready to climb! Two hands for the ship, teeth for the tools!
Mike
s/v Clave'
1981Freedom 28 #112
Currently sailing Tampa Bay
Buit by Fairways Marine Hamble England
cat ketch, centerboard , wishbone booms, tides track slides
yanmar 2ym15 2blade prop

User avatar
mike cunningham
Posts: 332
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:21 am
Location: Jacqueline, F30 #3, Discovery Bay, California

Re: climbing your unstayed carbon mast, your experience?

Post by mike cunningham »

I use a top climber with security provided by a webbing strap tied in a klemheist around the mast. I slide the strap along with the climb. Of course it has to come off temporarily to get round the forestay.

Couple of things I have trouble with are getting comfortable access to the very top of the mast due to knot length when tying halyard to the required static line and inability to climb when sail is up due to lack of spare mast top halyard.

I have often wondered if there was a way to rig a second mast top halyard with adequate strength for climbing.
Mike Cunningham
Freedom 30 (Mull) Hull #3
Build date...June, 1986 . Freedom Yachts USA, sloop, shoal keel
Gun Mount and pole retrofitted (purchased from a Hoyt Freedom 32)
Yanmar 2gm20F , 1600 hrs fixed two blade prop
e-rud and ocean racing equipment

User avatar
Castaway
Posts: 219
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 8:40 pm
Location: Lerwick, Shetland Isles

Re: climbing your unstayed carbon mast, your experience?

Post by Castaway »

We have two halyards to the top of each mast (PO used to abide by the RORC rules), all led aft and each can wrap around the power winch. That's easily strong enough to haul me up either mast. I use a fabric bosun's chair, tie the halyard end to it, and can reach the other halyard, blocks and masthead paraphenalia from that. Longer periods, I add a tape climbing ladder so I can stand a little higher. With no sail set, I use a safety line/carabiner combination wrapped twice around the mast and both ends secured to a harness; if the lifting halyard snaps, this will tighten around the mast and avoid a fall of more than 2-3 m. If it's not under load, it slides up and down easily. I've never had any need to climb the mast with a sail set.

The hard part is avoiding swinging around the mast as the boat rolls; without shrouds, there is nothing to hang onto, so you just need to grip well with both thighs. I'm sure there are exercises for that, but the boss won't go up, even though she's lighter than me.

I ascend the mizzen twice a year, minimum, to install and remove the wind instruments, and the main once, for general checking of blocks, seizings, lubrication, lights, etc.

The view is good, but I don't like heights of that sort. Have fun!

Regards,

Gerald
Gerald Freshwater,
s/y 'Castaway', (UK F35 cat ketch, centreboard, 1987)
Lerwick Boating Club
Shetland Isles, Scotland

User avatar
mike cunningham
Posts: 332
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:21 am
Location: Jacqueline, F30 #3, Discovery Bay, California

Re: climbing your unstayed carbon mast, your experience?

Post by mike cunningham »

Gerald,

Yes, I have absolutely no desire to climb the mast with the sail up but when I owned an F25 I had the main halyard sheave jam with the sail up. I had to get up there and free the halyard which had jumped the sheave. On the 25 I had a spinnaker halyard at the masthead so I had crew winch me up in a bosuns chair. It was a wing mast so a very interesting ride in a seaway.

In any event, with regard to your dual halyards, do both halyards have sheaves in the mast or is one rigged external to the mast? If the latter, how was it done?

Mike
Mike Cunningham
Freedom 30 (Mull) Hull #3
Build date...June, 1986 . Freedom Yachts USA, sloop, shoal keel
Gun Mount and pole retrofitted (purchased from a Hoyt Freedom 32)
Yanmar 2gm20F , 1600 hrs fixed two blade prop
e-rud and ocean racing equipment

tnltracy
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 10:45 pm

Re: climbing your unstayed carbon mast, your experience?

Post by tnltracy »

Hi Mike,

Sounds like you have the line your climber is attached to running vertical parallel with the mast? Is it pretty easy to use in that setup? I watched their video and it suggests the line being away from the Mast so you sort of hang underneath it.

I'm also trying to decide how I will go up the mast on my F32 (Hoyt). I've looked at the ladders that ride up the sail track, and like that idea as well, but with only 1 halyard from the top, trying to figure out how I do it safely, so the idea of a strap/prusik knot around the mast may be the way, just wondering how it'll work with the ladder (foldable fabric steps may make this a bit easier)

Tom
1984 Freedom 32 #28
Warwick Cove, Greenwich Bay, RI

AlanK
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:59 pm
Location: Freedom 33 Boston, MA USA

Re: climbing your unstayed carbon mast, your experience?

Post by AlanK »

On my F33 I used an ATN topclimber if I was alone. If I had someone to take me up then I used a SPinlock Mast climbing harness. I found that the climbing harness allowed me to comfortable stay well above the masthead and was far better for that then the bosun's chair. Perhaps someone taller using an ATN top climber would find that better for being above the mast then I did.
Regardless of which I used I always used the spare halyard as a 2nd static line and used a mast climbing cam cleat brake (can't remember the brand) that clips to the climbing gear (ATN or harness). You slide it up as you go and if the main line goes slack this stops you automatically. The added benefit is that with being clipped on 2 static lines you don't swing so much if the boats rocking.

User avatar
Castaway
Posts: 219
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 8:40 pm
Location: Lerwick, Shetland Isles

Re: climbing your unstayed carbon mast, your experience?

Post by Castaway »

Mike,

The UK F35 (really a 33) only has external halyards. There are masthead cranes extending fore and aft carrying the halyards, topping lift, and, in the case of the mizzen, the running backstay. The last two are single lines, the others are led through blocks hung from the crane. Of course, this means you can't necessarily get as high as you might like, hence the tape ladder for standing. Using both halyards for safety is optimal, and helps stability, but the wrap-around sail halyards are doubled, so a little awkward to use for this. On the main, I have a light halyard through a single block forward of the mast, usually used for raising flags, radar reflectors, bunting; this is replaced by 10mm rope and led aft to the winches if the mast has to be climbed.

If I didn't already have a bosun's chair, I would get a climbing harness like Alan; lighter, safer and more comfortable, and probably cheaper from a climbing shop.

Climbing the mast when alone is a non-starter for me due to fitness, or lack thereof, but then so is sailing alone. Anyway, there are two masts, so some sail can be set pace major disaster.

Regards,

Gerald
Gerald Freshwater,
s/y 'Castaway', (UK F35 cat ketch, centreboard, 1987)
Lerwick Boating Club
Shetland Isles, Scotland

User avatar
rvivian
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:08 pm

Re: climbing your unstayed carbon mast, your experience?

Post by rvivian »

Heart's Desire
Freedom 30
Shelton, WA

Capitan Sardina
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:14 pm

Re: climbing your unstayed carbon mast, your experience?

Post by Capitan Sardina »

The F40 also only has external hailyards. I found that I can climb/hoist myself up from a bosum chair by pulling down on the return side of the hailyard while grabbing the mast with my thighs/feet in small steps/hoist s. I have somebody on deck to take the slack of the hailyard at every step. I use a second line with a sliding knot around the mast (bowline loop) wich I hoist with me as a safety line. It is quite exhausting, but it can be done. Goin down is doen normally using the winch as a brake. The advantage of this sytem is that the person on deck does not have to be strong enough to lift you so I can use my wife or son to help.
I also trail a long line tied to the chair and a bucket on deck to hoist tools/etc once aloft.

User avatar
gulfcoastsailor
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:43 pm

Re: climbing your unstayed carbon mast, your experience?

Post by gulfcoastsailor »

Replaced my mast head wind cups last fall. Used a borrowed harness attached to the main halyard. While I was being cranked up, an internal snap in the winch gave moment for pause but all was well. Turned out a spring broke in the winch, but after 30 years it was time to rebuild the winches anyway. Biggest issue were the wasps nested at the top!
Chip

"Encore"
Freedom 32
1985 #72

Post Reply