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Climbing the mast solo

Jun 2, 2014
370
Catalina 30 mkII - 1987 Alamitos Bay Marina, LB, CA
I’ve been reading and researching a lot and settled on a DIY “Mast Mate” style method. I used 1” webbing doubled up using the Etrier ladder instructions and some cheap garden hose as foot steps. I still need to add another ten feet of rungs to make it all the way to the top from the bottom, but it’s looking like it should work.
I’m planning on using both a harness and bosuns chair clipped to two different safety points on the way up, a Prusik knot for ascending and fall arrest, and another halyard attached with my wife at the bottom keeping it tight and cleated. It should solve the problem of having to be hoisted and the slow tedious work of trying to ascend a rope. 65D62BC5-706C-4EF6-B0C8-349E0E8A04A3.jpeg
 
Jun 2, 2014
370
Catalina 30 mkII - 1987 Alamitos Bay Marina, LB, CA
“Solo” loosely used. Really meaning no real help from anybody else. But I could do it with no one around this way if I was stupid enough.
 
Jun 10, 2017
174
Catalina 1980 Catalina 30 Mk II John's Pass / Tampa Bay
J,

I've been using Topclimber for a number of years now. I also have someone @ the mainsail winch for a safety line when going up-n-down. What I do like about this is that when at the top, my head is higher than the masthead crane thereby having an advantage for working on everything without having to extend my arms upward working overhead.

I've used this on friend's boats & with simple instructions, they now borrow it & take themselves up the mast. I feel safe using this & with alittle practice, it's quite easy to go up-n-down. Here's a link for this & several different brands & as the R&B song goes, "Higher-n-Higher."

https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=&oq=topclimber&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGHP_enUS734US738&q=topclimber+mast+climber&gs_l=hp..3.0l5.0.0.0.6695...........0.oGd2cfV0V6w
 
Jun 2, 2014
370
Catalina 30 mkII - 1987 Alamitos Bay Marina, LB, CA
You can do all that with basic climbing knowledge and some caribiners. You can even make your own harness out of webbing if you don't have a bosun's chair. I am thinking my ladder idea is a bit easier and faster to ascend.
How to ascend using Prusik knots:
How to make a chest and waist harness (I LOVE this guy):
 
Dec 28, 2015
815
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
Think about how your system is going to function after you load it if you fall/loose footing. The details were very basic so forgive me but cleating off the belay (what your wife will be handling) will require her to unload the rope enough to uncleat it in this case. Even if it is wrapped on a winch. Think about how she is going to raise you to get to the next upper step, unload the prusiks or lower you all the way down. Have a system that promotes safety going up, going down and rescues you in the event of a emergency. Again, forgive me if I'm preaching to the choir.
 
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Dec 28, 2015
815
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
You can do all that with basic climbing knowledge and some caribiners. You can even make your own harness out of webbing if you don't have a bosun's chair. I am thinking my ladder idea is a bit easier and faster to ascend.
How to ascend using Prusik knots:
How to make a chest and waist harness (I LOVE this guy):
Hanging in a professional rig is painful after a couple minutes. These things down right suck for any length of time. They keep you from hitting the ground but I wouldn't trust anyone to tie it from a video.
 
Jun 2, 2014
370
Catalina 30 mkII - 1987 Alamitos Bay Marina, LB, CA
I've got this pretty well laid out. Maybe I didn't explain it very well (which is often the case!)
Mast Ladder is just the main method of effort to ascend or descend.
Prusik attachment to harness/chair on another fixed halyard - My own safety/fall arrester
Wife taking slack on a completely different halyard/winch. - Just an extra precaution.
 
Last edited:
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Jun 2, 2014
370
Catalina 30 mkII - 1987 Alamitos Bay Marina, LB, CA
Finally concluding the results of my DIY mast ladder. I actually tried it. I used a double harness for safety and two halyards with ascenders attached.
My finding was that having a sail slide every 5 feet NOT enough. In between the sail slides (about 5 feet in my case) caused the web ladder to be able to move away from the mast too much and was very scary trying to find your footing.
So, as is, it was a TON of work to get up to the top, very daunting, and I wouldn't want to do it again like that. I have decided that if every step had it's own sail slide, it would be much easier to climb, and a waist lanyard like the telephone pole guys have, would allow your hands to be free and still hang-on so you can rest on the way up.

I plan on re-doing my ladder with sail slides and trying the waist lanyard next time I do it.
 

Kopite

.
Mar 11, 2015
105
Catalina 27 Monroe MI
I use two ascenders on the spare jib halyard, with bosuns chair and self made foot straps, and a third ascender on a web harness for safety line on the spinnaker halyard. I find it much easier climbing than other methods, and no reliance on a person manning a line. Just be sure to have tension in the line you are climbing on..
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,371
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Does the mast mate get tired at the bottom? Pull it right and make it fast to stop the swing away from your line of ascent.

-Will (Dragonfly)