Monday, September 16, 2013

Open For Business - Up The Stick

Sabrina's Mast Climbing Business is now open.  Lesson careful what you put on your blog - see Morning View.  Chris and Janet of s/v Brilliant Star asked if I could go up their mast "just to the first spreader" and do a couple of things.  They have a fabulous Caliber 40 LRC....almost as nice as ours.  Hee hee.  Truth is, we have gotten a ton of terrific ideas for s/v Honey Ryder from s/v Brilliant Star.  I/we were more than happy to help them out.  Bonus -they treated us to a wonderful hamburger lunch at Hungry Hannah's and an errand run out to St Simon's Island for Shoe Goo and frozen yogurt.  Thanks Chris and Janet!
Bosun's chair and tool bag
For you non-sailors - One way to go up the mast (up the stick) is to sit/strap into a bosun's chair.  These are generally made of nylon type fabric with web straps.  The good ones have a solid seat and high back as well as a crouch strap so you don't slide out. 
Snapping pics of the standing rigging
They also have pockets or even better a separate bag clipped on for tools, water, camera, etc.  You take anything and everything you think you might need.  You take spares in case you drop something.  AND you try to use a lanyard strap on the tools so you don't drop big things and damage the deck or anyone down on the deck. 
Installing new flag halyard
We always take a camera not just for fun top the stick pics but more so we can shoot pics of all the rigging and gear up there so we can referral back at a later date to see what is what up there.  It's a great way to spot potential future issues.  Today we decided a smartphone would be really helpful as well because I could take pics and email them to Chris for immediate delivery and review while I was still up there.  However we didn't think of it until I was 1/2 the way up.  D-oh! 
"Ok, a little higher"
We tied a spare halyard (line/rope) through the heavy duty loops on the front of the bosun's chair - we never use the snap shackle as it can come undone (bad deal), a correctly tied knot won't.  Then we tie a second halyard through in case something happens with the first - a backup safety line if you will.
Cranker Chris, spotter Tom
Then someone cranks you up.  In this case Chris cranked while Tom was spotter with the backup line.  Yes, the cranker is doing all the work.  However, the up the stick person still needs to manage the ascent with all the standing rigging and such.  Slight movements on the boat at the deck level are exaggerated the higher you go.
"Don't drop the tool, don't drop the tool, don't drop the tool"
Janet kept the guys informed on my ascent progress and took pics from the deck.
Hi Janet
We have really enjoyed getting to know Chris and Janet on s/v Brilliant Star.  Be sure to check out their blog  and books for sale!  I hope they don't mind, I snagged this terrific pic of them off their web site.



  1. Tie a length of line (called a "messenger line") to your belt, the other end hangs free to the deck. If you've forgotten something, the people on deck can tie it to the end of the messenger line and you can haul it up.

  2. Sure. Form your company AFTER visiting us. I hear the view of the ocean is spectacular from the top of our mast.

  3. Mind? Of course we don't mind...and thank you for the compliments and the ascent!
    [Excellent review of the process.]