Climbing the mast with Canary Sail

When Andrea booked his RYA Tidal Coastal Skipper Practical Course with us, he asked whether the syllabus included training on how to climb the mast. It doesn’t but we thought it could. What a good idea for advanced skippers who one day may be required to fix something above head height, right?
We arranged the session together with Mark, our experienced YMI and yacht owner. Mark came up with the gear:
Bosun´s chair with tool belt, separate harness, helmet, long trousers, knee pads, strong shoes/boots and gloves

Then we considered safety:
Bosun´s chair checked to be in good order, climbing harness, two lines with direct line to destination (ie. Main halyard, topping lift, spinnaker halyard, etc.), tools/spares secure, empty pockets, clear the decks of personnel (beware – dropped items!) OR safety helmet for those at the mast foot feeding the climber with parts/tools.
Andreas was attached with one halyard line to the buckles on the Bosun´s chair and the other to the climbing harness. Important is to not rely on just the clips or snap shackles! Tie bowline knots through the buckles and then also attach the clips.

Two crew are required to hoist, one on each line manning a halyard winch each side. Both can winch or one winches while the other pulls up the slack, depending on the lift and pressure points on the chair & harness. Keep an eye on the person up the mast and be aware of obstacles they encounter such as spreaders, shroud wires, etc. Listen to the person up the mast!
Important! Each line should be fed through the clutches with clutches closed at all times during winching up. Once the destination is reached an additional turn should be applied to the winch drum to avoid the line being knocked out of the winch taylorer.

Movement on and around the sailing yacht should then be kept to a minimum!
To bring the person down, with three turns still on the winch drum open the clutches, easing on one halyard slowly and as smoothly as possible whilst allowing the other halyard to be released on the winch drum under weight of the person being lowered.

Canary Sail advanced sailing courses at Coastal and Yachtmaster level will now include this exercise for those wishing to partake. It is not an official part of the syllabus but if carried out in a safe manner it teaches us the procedures – and it is fun!
Well done Andrea!

 

16th January 2019 | cs_admin | Blog
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