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Old 03-11-2009, 05:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by redbopeep View Post
Rappelling on a Figure-8 and climbing on knots. Three knots--one for the chest harness, one for each foot harness and up you go.
Unfortunately I have no idea what "Rappelling on a figure-8" means... I did some self-belaying rappelling, and fast-roping while in the Marines and a lot of alpine style hiking/climbing but have never done any technical/vertical climbing (other than masts)... Got any web references for these techniques, they sound much handier than my current methods... I usually just climb the rigging and drag a rolling hitch behind me on an anchored halyard and then switch to a prusik loop once where I want to be.
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Old 03-11-2009, 05:54 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by atavist View Post
Unfortunately I have no idea what "Rappelling on a figure-8" means... I did some self-belaying rappelling, and fast-roping while in the Marines and a lot of alpine style hiking/climbing but have never done any technical/vertical climbing (other than masts)... Got any web references for these techniques, they sound much handier than my current methods... I usually just climb the rigging and drag a rolling hitch behind me on an anchored halyard and then switch to a prusik loop once where I want to be.
Typically use a webbing seat harness (can be made of rope, of course) to attach the Figure 8 to. Here's an example of the device. Link

Here's a page of racks if you haven't seen them. Safer than a Figure 8 if you're rappelling more than 200 feet as you can add bars or not depending on the friction of the length of rope below you.

If you get a copy of Brion Toss's Riggers' Apprentice, a lot of good information is in there about climbing your rig safely. I imagine you could find something online about vertical caving or spelunking that might show the techniques I'm talking about. These days, it does seem that folks use ascenders rather than knots. I don't consider using a Prussik knot as safe as the one I described. Since our knot isn't in any books, I'll see if I can't take a couple pics of it being tied and post them for you.

**edited to add: on page 260 of the Riggers' Apprentice there is an illustration Figure 7-12 of someone using something called a "ropewalker" that is essentially the method I describe if one has Jumars. However--this is a BIG however--the figure shows an UNSAFE climbing technique in that the person is only tied in to the rope with the belt harness. A person can slip out of a seat harness and I was taught to always climb with a chest harness in place and at a minimum have a carabiner attached to the chest harness and around the rope OR better yet have a knot or ascender in place at the chest harness.

There is a set of pictures here at this link that can help you understand using the system I'm talking about. This fellow has made what he calls a ropewalker from three Gibbs ascenders. I wouldn't use such ascenders, they are not as easy to use as other higher quality ascenders and further, knots take up much less space! The climbing technique the fellow is using (with chest harness) is proper. I note there's another page where a fellow is shown not using a chest harness--unsafe.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:50 AM   #17
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Back when I was an Outward Bound instructor in the PNW, we used that knot to attach the halyard to the yard of our lug rigged longboats. It was known as a 'spar hitch' back then; don't know if that's in those weighty knot books.

Another neat knot, speaking of rapelling, is the Munter Hitch - Munter hitch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It's great because it's bi-directional - it capsizes to whichever side is the standing part. Tie a line beam to beam and tie a munter in a carabiner clipped to a boom bail. and you have a cheap boom brake to control those surprise gybes...
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Old 05-11-2013, 03:19 AM   #18
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Like the Munter Hitch, thanks! We tend to always use preventers to keep those surprise gibes away.

Fair winds,
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:21 PM   #19
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By 'surprise gybes,' I meant when the main comes across a bit more briskly than expected... This is not for a preventer, it slows the travel of the boom across. And since the knot capsizes to the standing part, it doesn't need to be retied for each tack...
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:22 PM   #20
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Ah the "standing" gibes.

We have multiple blocks (count...6:1 purchase) on the main sheet and that in itself helps slow things down. We have a schooner with approximately 1600sf sail area. When running, we seldom have all sails up, usually it's just forsail and jib or mainsail and jib. If all sails do happen to be up and we're in anything other than very light winds and seas, our gibe technique involves a lot of "controls" as follows:

Fall off to a pure run from whatever broad point of sail we were on. From the cockpit I first center the jib. Then, if the (boomed) staysail is up, haul in the sheet to centerline. Then, slack the peak halyard on the gaff foresail (leave throat alone) , tighten up the gaff vang to help center the top of that sail. Then, hubby (midships) releases the preventor on the foresail while I haul in the foresail sheet to limit the distance of the gibe. We try to do this on a pure run so we can manage to get the foresail over to wing-on-wing and then attach the preventor on the other side. We don't usually let out the sheet until we've gibed, though. Then, hubby quickly releases the preventor on the mainsail, feeding it out, while I haul in the main sheet/boom to centerline and then, finally, I adjust the helm and gibe. The boomed staysail is self tending. The jib, at this point is on te wrong side but not a worry quite yet. More important is letting out the main sheet quickly and hubby getting the preventor set. Then, I move the jib over to the other side, adjust the sheet while hubby moves to the foresail preventor, he's there about the time that I'm done with the staysail and I've tightened up the peak halyard on the foresail but not yet loosened the gaff vang. I let out the sheet as he tightens up the foresail preventer. Then, loosen the gaff vang. Done.

I can't do it by myself, but hubby can. When winds get above 20 knots, gibing gets incrementally more difficult. We are unlikely to have more than jib and foreail up in high winds broad reaching or run, though.
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