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Block and tackle mast climb

JBird

.
May 31, 2020
12
Hunter 25.5 Palm harbor
How much line would it take on a 3:1 block and tackle system to get to the top of a 30ft mast?
 
Dec 28, 2015
1,342
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
3:1 is 3 feet of line to raise the weight 1 foot. You’d have to add for anchor points and additional rigging design. In any case you’d probably use a winch with clutch to do this which makes a mechanical advantage system irrelevant I would think. I’d consider other options first.
 
Mar 6, 2008
680
Catalina 1999 C36 MKII #1787 Coyote Point Marina, CA.
It would take 3×30 or 90 feet, plus another 20 feet to tie to cleats.
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,869
Hunter 216 Kingston
If you are planning on doing what I think you are planning :) know how to use a Prusik knot
 
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JBird

.
May 31, 2020
12
Hunter 25.5 Palm harbor
Haha thanks for the replies. Yep looking to go up solo and I’ve learned the prusik knot!!
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,869
Hunter 216 Kingston
Might want to read this.

 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,290
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
I've been using a block & tackle system to go aloft since 1969. I'd suggest 5:1 unless you are really strong and young. Don't forget to add a couple of lines with quality carabiners to secure your bosun's chair when working aloft and to clip on to shrouds as you go, as safety lines. Wear long pants and use your feet to "walk" up the mast as you pull yourself up, or your legs around the mast if there's a lot of movement. You are going to want a quality bosun's chair with pockets and a few grommets to secure safety lines to. My sailmaker custom made me one in 1969, which I still use today.
The knot I was taught by a couple of Cape Horners took the line you pull on and ran it between the block and the out going lines, then around all the lines with a half hitch or two to secure it all. Even if all the other bits came off the pressure of the outgoing lines into the block would keep the hoisting line from moving in any direction. 100% safe and secure, even at sea in 40 knots of wind. I know this from experience.
 
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Jan 19, 2010
938
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
There is a climbing term you should know... " On Belay"...

Trying to be polite here... Only a....risk taker would go up alone....
 
Apr 5, 2009
1,562
Catalina '88 C30 tr/bs Oak Harbor, WA
I would not want to use a 3:1 tackle. I have used a 4:1 which was made with a double block at the top and a single block with becket at the bottom. on my 42' mast I needed 4x45' = 180" minimum but I had 200'. The line was 3/8" three-strand but any line that is easy to grip will work. It does not need to be low stretch because once all of your weight is on it, there is no more stretching's so with 4:1, every foot you pull down will lift you 3".
The line was pulled downward to raise the user and with 4-parts that means that the pull to lift was about 25% (minus some friction loss). It also had a cam cleat that was shackled to the chair to secure the line at any point although it was hard to use. I always used it with my wife on the safety halyard. She would keep the slack out of the safety line so that if I lost my grip on the hoist line I was still secure. I needed to do a two handed downward pull to raise my self and then regrip. If there were three on the boat, the third person could help me by pulling on the tail and then we could just pull me up hand-over-hand with my wife keeping the safety line slack free.
 
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JBird

.
May 31, 2020
12
Hunter 25.5 Palm harbor
All great info here. I’ve been looking at all the different options and to me a block and tackle system seems the best bet for going up solo. As long as you have safety lines rigged and know how to get yourself up and down.
 

Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,961
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
All great info here. I’ve been looking at all the different options and to me a block and tackle system seems the best bet for going up solo. As long as you have safety lines rigged and know how to get yourself up and down.
When I was younger, I would often go up the mast under my own power, with the wife standing by to catch me ;). I used a climbing rig, made by ATN I believe, that used hardware similar to what mountain climbers use. I would sit in the bosun's chair and push up on web stirrups to lift myself, and the jam cleat thingy would hold me, and then i would repeat until I reached the mast head. Time consuming, but effective.
 

HMT2

.
Mar 20, 2014
883
Hunter 31 828 Shoreacres, TX
All great info here. I’ve been looking at all the different options and to me a block and tackle system seems the best bet for going up solo. As long as you have safety lines rigged and know how to get yourself up and down.
I have a self climbing rig 5:1 with ratcheting blocks at the bosun chair so that when you are pulling yourself up, there is no downward slippage as you change your grip to pull again, flip the switch on the ratcheting blocks to let yourself down. Been to the top of a 47’ mast... no problem. Except I was pretty wiped when I got my fat but up there, I had to rest a while before I could work!
 
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Jan 19, 2010
938
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
My text did't attach... So, top pic is the climbing board showing foot cut outs, eye bolt above cam cleat and eye bolt bottom of board. 2nd pic is the width. Spaced with spare composition deck boards ripped down. This doubling adds stability AND protects the mast from the bolt threads. Last pic is a foot in the board.

How it works: Run a line ( halyard) thru the top eyebolt , into the cam cleat and thru the bottom eye bolt. Make the line fast and taut .Sit in a bosun chair with feet in cutouts of board. Lift the board with feet.Stand up and take up the slack in chair. SIT, raise feet again, stand, take up the chair slack, sit, raise board with feet....

You are using your legs to ascend the mast.
 
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ambler

.
Dec 7, 2013
45
catalina 22 Watauga Lake, TN
There is a climbing term you should know... " On Belay"...
I have been a rock climber for many years. Good technique requires two (and preferably three) independent anchor points and a rope protected from weakening by dirt and ultraviolet. Ascending a mast using a halyard falls short of these standards.

I have used a prusik wrap on the mast itself as an independent anchor. I use 1inch tubular, climbing spec, webbing tied into a loop with a water knot to wrap a prusik around the mast that is clipped to my harness with a locking carabiner. You'll need a second webbing loop to pass the spreader.

The webbing prusik grips the mast securely and provides an independent backup.
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,290
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
My text did't attach... So, top pic is the climbing board showing foot cut outs, eye bolt above cam cleat and eye bolt bottom of board. 2nd pic is the width. Spaced with spare composition deck boards ripped down. This doubling adds stability AND protects the mast from the bolt threads. Last pic is a foot in the board.

How it works: Run a line ( halyard) thru the top eyebolt , into the cam cleat and thru the bottom eye bolt. Make the line fast and taut .Sit in a bosun chair with feet in cutouts of board. Lift the board with feet.Stand up and take up the slack in chair. SIT, raise feet again, stand, take up the chair slack, sit, raise board with feet....

You are using your legs to ascend the mast.
So you are basically free to swing around and slam into the mast or out around a shroud, because both your feet and arms are occupied?
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,290
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
There is a climbing term you should know... " On Belay"...

Trying to be polite here... Only a....risk taker would go up alone....
I've got a lot more faith in my ability to get myself aloft safely that asking some kid or neighbor to help me, thank you very much. There's about a zero failure possibility on a properly built block & tackle rig, but trusting others, especially strangers????
 
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capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,290
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
I have been a rock climber for many years. Good technique requires two (and preferably three) independent anchor points and a rope protected from weakening by dirt and ultraviolet. Ascending a mast using a halyard falls short of these standards.

I have used a prusik wrap on the mast itself as an independent anchor. I use 1inch tubular, climbing spec, webbing tied into a loop with a water knot to wrap a prusik around the mast that is clipped to my harness with a locking carabiner. You'll need a second webbing loop to pass the spreader.

The webbing prusik grips the mast securely and provides an independent backup.
Funny, my halyards take the strain of a 77,000 # boat being pulled or pushed along by the wind and you don't consider them safe to take a 240# man aloft? Interesting math. A lot more climbers die than sailors who go aloft.
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,290
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
I would not want to use a 3:1 tackle. I have used a 4:1 which was made with a double block at the top and a single block with becket at the bottom. on my 42' mast I needed 4x45' = 180" minimum but I had 200'. The line was 3/8" three-strand but any line that is easy to grip will work. It does not need to be low stretch because once all of your weight is on it, there is no more stretching's so with 4:1, every foot you pull down will lift you 3".
The line was pulled downward to raise the user and with 4-parts that means that the pull to lift was about 25% (minus some friction loss). It also had a cam cleat that was shackled to the chair to secure the line at any point although it was hard to use. I always used it with my wife on the safety halyard. She would keep the slack out of the safety line so that if I lost my grip on the hoist line I was still secure. I needed to do a two handed downward pull to raise my self and then regrip. If there were three on the boat, the third person could help me by pulling on the tail and then we could just pull me up hand-over-hand with my wife keeping the safety line slack free.
Next time you go aloft with the help of others, considering fairleading the line to the windlass. That's the safest, fastest and easiest way to take someone aloft.