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Old 05-11-2007, 12:13 PM   #15
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Anyone have an opinion on this?

http://www.mastmate.com/
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Old 05-11-2007, 12:45 PM   #16
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Over the years I have seen the Mastmate system for ascending masts advertised on many occasions. I had always thought it was a particularly good idea, but as I have neither seen the system in practice, nor spoken to anyone who has used it, I have always bought folding mast steps when refitting a new boat.

That is merely fear of the unknown on my part.

As I now think about it there are a few drawbacks that come to mind. First, it will take up space down below because it is not a permanent mast fixture. Second, it requires that the mainsail is down and out of the luff track. On a small boat this may not be a problem....and indeed the system can probably be used when the sail is flaked on the boom without the slides being removed. On a big boat, however, this would make the first step up a real 'biggy'.

It would probably perform best in the marina. It would be unusable if there was a problem at the masthead and the main could not be dropped. Equally it would be unusable unless there was a suitable, free and operating halyard running over a sheave at the aft end of the mast cap. (The only way I understand, for the system to be hauled aloft). Also, I think it would be most uncomfortable having your feet in loops rather than on steps if you had to spend an extended period 'up the stick'.

It would, I imagine, be much cheaper than folding mast steps and would certainly be a better option than a bosun's chair in many cases.

This is only an opinion and one which may as the result of my ignorance of the system, be totally wrong.

It has happened before....("Yes my darling, frequently...yes...... I know....Thank you for pointing it out...Yes...I love you too")...

David
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Old 05-11-2007, 04:37 PM   #17
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We have wooden spars which once had mast steps. When refinishing the main mast, we removed these because of all those nasty little holes that let nasty things inside--like a few termites. Now, you aluminum-masted folk don't have that worry--or the worry of rot if there's water ingress. We do.

Anyway, my husband, who's sized much like Trim and is the one who needs to do all that electrical etc messing around aloft, has tried all sorts of things: bosun's chair, climbing harness, bosun's chair with harness, and finally handed over the bucks to get a Mastlift. With its 10-1 ratio, he can haul himself up--which my aging shoulders appreciate. The manufacturer seems to think the two halyards attached to the lift are sufficient: we think that's handing over your life to a single Spectra line and foolish. So, two halyards on the lift, the Spectra attachment to the bosun's chair, and a third halyard with the climbing gear attached as a safety line. The topping lift can raise and lower the bucket.

As this is a recent purchase, I'll have to let you know how well it works.

Normandie
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Old 05-15-2007, 08:58 AM   #18
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I do not like folding mast steps because:

- if you go aloft in a seaway, your foot can too easily slip out and off the step

- they are very expensive

I had fixed steps made out of 316, with a simple design which totally encloses the foot, and fitted them to my 60 foot mast for the price of four folding steps - the biggest price being the fasteners.

Entirely agree about the importance of using something to minimise corrosion between ss and aluminium. I used 40 cm step but both my partner and I are quite tall, the guidance already given on this sounds good. Do not forget that the step width needs to accept the biggest foot likely to use it with a boot on.

Getting round our radar housing, mounted on the front of the mast just below the first spreaders, and, to a lesser extent, the radar reflector, needed some thought and an extra step at a different angle than the normal ones. Two steps at the top to allow standing are vital if you are expecting to do anything but look.

Cruising in coral reef areas with only two on board is, in my opinion, only possible with mast steps up to the first spreaders

Steelfan
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Old 05-15-2007, 10:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelfan View Post
I do not like folding mast steps because:

- if you go aloft in a seaway, your foot can too easily slip out and off the step

- they are very expensive

I had fixed steps made out of 316, with a simple design which totally encloses the foot, and fitted them to my 60 foot mast for the price of four folding steps - the biggest price being the fasteners.

Entirely agree about the importance of using something to minimise corrosion between ss and aluminium. I used 40 cm step but both my partner and I are quite tall, the guidance already given on this sounds good. Do not forget that the step width needs to accept the biggest foot likely to use it with a boot on.

Getting round our radar housing, mounted on the front of the mast just below the first spreaders, and, to a lesser extent, the radar reflector, needed some thought and an extra step at a different angle than the normal ones. Two steps at the top to allow standing are vital if you are expecting to do anything but look.

Cruising in coral reef areas with only two on board is, in my opinion, only possible with mast steps up to the first spreaders

Steelfan
---------------------------------

Some good points you raise , in particular the question of cost -

Could you give us a photograph of your design together with measurements - also what was the mounted cost of a single step.

Thanks for the additional input on an important subject.
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Old 05-15-2007, 05:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMNETSEA View Post
---------------------------------

Some good points you raise , in particular the question of cost -

Could you give us a photograph of your design together with measurements - also what was the mounted cost of a single step.

Thanks for the additional input on an important subject.
Why don`t use aluminum fixed steps?

They are:

1.inexpensive

2.easy to make of flat aluminum bar

3.I don`t have to worry about galvanic corrosion, I will just use aluminum steps riveted to aluminum mast by aluminum rivets...?

That is what I am thinking to do on my boat...

Regards,

Maciej
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Old 05-15-2007, 06:39 PM   #21
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I have mast steps and my boat is 37 years old I am not sure what they were put up with but I have installed steps on 4 or 5 boats through the years. I used a pop rivet made of aluminun to match the mast metal. You must use a larger rivet than readily available at the local hardware store. Industrial supply stores such as graingers carry the larger rivet guns and rivet. You may be able to rent an air powered gun from a rental center which really makes the job much easier.
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Old 05-15-2007, 07:08 PM   #22
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hi,, like many of you I singlehand and getting to the head of the mast has been an issue since i started on the circumnavigation, I was loathe to start adding weight aloft with metal steps of any description ( that and a perceived possibility of having halyard wraps or other issues with sails snagging etc) and not having a "spare" hand to winch myself up i toyed with mountaineering kit etc. I came across an idea, from a fellow yachtsman of advancing years , where the use of two "locking" multi sheaved blocks could allow you to hoist yourself up the mast safetly ( at least so far) in a bosuns chair arrangement.

The upper block, already fully reeved and lengthend to the height you want to attain , is hoisted aloft with a spare halyard and secured off, The lock on the upper block is set to the "locked" position prior to hoisting and prevents the falls sliding back as you rest between "pulls" as well as allowing you to rest and work or just take the pressure off your arms/muscles.

The lower block is also in the "locked' position on the hoist up as a "failsafe"security feature.

When you arrive at whatever working height you want to , its a matter of securing yourself to the mast and doing your work. The reason,as stated, for the double locking blocks is that if you have an extra safety feature although the system can work with one. When ready to descend , the upper "locked" block is switched to the "unlocked" position, (as is the bottom one) and you can then, by feeding the rope , descend smoothly and easily.

You can, of course,at any time apply the lock to the bottom block and "rest" or work at any point in the descent. There are a flaws I can see in the system, It does use a lot of rope as its a 4 fold purchase, there is no redundancy built in as a safetyline/halyard ,(so i use a sliding locking hitch attached to my safety harnees on the other halyard in case of catastrophic failure .)

Its all very time consuming and previous preparation and planning is a key factor.

Like some of the previous posts stated , going up in a quiet marina envoirnement and in a seaway are whole different ball games.

I would only use this in an emergency situation whilst underway. Long pants,and gripping knees seem to work but expect a few brusies and aching muscles. As i said at the beginning, really only one kind of system for use as a singlehander if you dont want or have the mast steps. I.m in the process of making a flexible ladder along the lines of the "mastclimber" I'll let you know how it goes .
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:46 AM   #23
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Here is another option - nylon/glassfiber - with an option on colours.

http://www.keysaver.nl/index.php?ID=2317
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