Up the mast with spinnaker halyard?


May 28, 2013
Catalina C310 SF Bay/Delta
Furler drum stuck at head of sail and have friend to go up mast to check. Have used main halyard in past but wonder if spinnaker
block strong enough to go up front of mast? Halyards same size. Want to be sure angle ok coming out of
mast to drum. Worked ok last year but idle for six months over the winter. Sail remained furled all that

Clyde Thorington
C310 # 245
San Jose, CA
Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Two views of solo sailing from Erik Aanderaa.

Erik solo sails in the North Sea off Norway. In this clip he gives you a glimpse at what sailing in 6-8 meter ocean waves might be like (without the sea sickness).

Then he leads you though solo climbing his mast. You can see he uses the spinnaker halyard attached through a block to the spinnaker crane (that metal hoop you see when he gets to the mast top) to climb the mast. His safety line is on a halyard that runs through the mast on a solid large sheave and is securely fastened at the mast base.

Jul 26, 2009
. . .
When i've gone up the mast, i've attached every halyard available to myself.
This. We use an ATN mast climber on the main halyard, but tie into all available halyards as backup. However, our boat has a spinnaker crane and I wonder what it's limits are relative to a direct downward force experienced when using it as a primary ascension point.

Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
You are spot on @berner73.

You need to assess your hardware and know what it can and cannot do. On lighter boats the use of the main sheaves is likely the best options. The forces are supported. The crane on a spinnaker halyard is designed to deal with pulling forces, not downward forces.

The image of the crane, looks like the welds will hold but 200 lbs might bend the crane.
Feb 8, 2014
Columbia 36 Muskegon
On my boat the spin halyard is all external and attached to the mast with just a shackle. No way I'm hanging my 250# 50 feet up in the air on that. The main and jib halyards go across the top of the mast so there's nothing to break that can drop me except the halyard itself. If the spin halyard was internal that would be ok too. You want the fewest failure points as possible. I use two halyards and a safety line around the mast so I have double redundant backup. Not afraid of heights or even falling, it's the sudden stop at the bottom I don't like.
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Jan 7, 2011
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I typically use my main halyard (but will use the spin halyard in a pinch). I take a tether and wrap it around the mast twice and attach to my harness as a backup. Both my halyards are internal, and go over a sheeve. I just replaced the main halyard and upped it one size and added a little length to I can run it to my primary winch instead of having some poor soul try to crank my 207# butt up the mast with a small cabin-top winch. I also have a Milwaukee right-angle drill with a winch bit, but it won’t raise me on the cabin-top single speed winch...I am hoping it will work with the 2-speed primary...

As @Capt jgw said, it is not the fall that will kill you, it is the sudden stop at the bottom.