Falling off my mast isn’t my preferred way to “go”. Having said that, enjoying my hobby probably isn’t the worst way to check out; I’m more concerned it might be a bit premature and somewhat unplanned.
I’ve been to the top of my mast many times, and a few other boats too. I currently need to replace my anchoring light and windex so I need a safe way to get up there in the spring.
My boat came with a MastMate loop-strap ladder and I’ve tried using, it was a most unsatisfying experience. There are two issues that make it a less than ideal solution on my boat. Firstly, my in-mast furler makes it impossible to use track slides. (The solution offered by MastMate necessitates taking down the main….) this leaves the ladder swaying loosely from the mast making it difficult and dangerous to climb.
Secondly, I didn’t have a spare main halyard so I couldn’t get to the very top of the mast as the jib/spinnaker halyards sheave box is about three feet from mast-top. (I have since run a spinnaker halyard as a spare/safety line.)
My main is an in-mast furler and I am aware of the possibility of the mainsail getting fouled in the mast. Going up to sort out issues would completely rule out dousing the mainsail to use the main halyard. This pretty much rules out the Mastmate for me.
This brings me back to the good old bosun’s chair. Always on the lookout for ways to leverage my investment in my walking-foot sewing machine, I came across an old chair that was moldy, stank of fuel with rotting stitching, but otherwise, not bad. I decided to knock-off the stinky old chair.
I’ve gone up masts on everything from a plank of wood to a super-fancy brand new padded chair and I can say I definitely prefer something with pockets, straps, and hooks. Preferably something that has a space for tools, ropes and of course a camera! (that’s my foot atop Esneca
I patterned the old chair, took notes on the stitching sequence and placed an order for straps and hardware from JT’s Outdoor Fabrics in Barrie. I already had the blue nylon from making a bag for my folding bicycle (the material for the bag and bosun’s chair was $15 from Fabricland!). It took a bit longer to stitch the chair together than I anticipated, making me appreciate the value of mass-produced goods.
I used this project as an excuse to make a leaf that fits into my dining table so that the sewing machine sits flush with the table. This will make larger projects, like the new bimini and dodger I plan on sewing this winter, easier. My sewing machine is a generic knock-off of the old walking-foot Singer/Brother. It is the same base machine that Sailrite uses, cheaper but doesn’t come with a case or telephone support.