Observations & Options
Mast steps: We’ve looked at these in the past. On our 29 footer, they were a non-starter. Too much drag, and I was still strong enough (compared to my weight) to shinny up the mast as crew hauled on the bosun’s halyard. They were a non-starter on our carbon fiber sticks on the Freedom. Now we view them differently. In the spring we will have a set installed just above the boom for a shallow water navigation foot rest. Two more pair will be put in places that facilitate radar and mast-head equipment maintenance. [We found this to be unnecessary.]
Bosun’s Chair, Harness & Ascending Tools: We have had a variety. We have bought them, and I have made them. I have used climber’s harnesses and board seats. This winter I am going to combine a climber’s harness with a padded, pocketed seat. This will allow the lowest possible attachment point for the halyard (for maneuverability), can’t slip out/crush gonads safety, and deep pockets. Over the years we have developed a method for ascending that suits us. We start by tensioning the spare genoa or the spinnaker halyard (depends on where the job to do is) by shackling them to the base plate on the mast or to the toe-rail for spreader jobs. we set them up hard with a winch. To the tensioned halyard I attach a Jumar Ascender. The toothed spring lever grabs the line and prevents downward movement. I then tie a short line into the eye on the Jumar and the lifting eye on the harness/chair. As crew hauls me up, I slide and reset the Jumar on the tensioned halyard. On descent, I release the spring lever (requires moving the blue locking lever out of the way) and slide/inchworm it down. If anything feels amiss, I let go and it locks. I have two of these aboard and could step my way up if absolutely necessary.