/ how to get off a ships mast?
Irving Johnson's film about rounding the Horn in typical weather shows him doing it another way; pinch-gripping the outer edge of the mainsail and sliding down it. Luckily for him the captain didn't see him doing it.
If he went up the mast with ascenders why doesn't he just come back down using the same method? All you do is the opposite to going up, ie. when hanging from one, you release the grip of the other, slide it down however much suits you and let it block again then transfer your weight onto the lower one so that you can release the higher one, slide it down, block it and transfer your weight again. The same as you would do on a building or anytime you want to move down instead of up slowly and safely.
I don't know, but the last time I did it, I climbed up and was lowered down secured to a secondary halyard, being belayed from below, but you mean independently?
The way I've seen* it done is... Take a large knife and thrust it in to the mainsail, then while holding tightly to the knife, jump. The energy expended cutting the fabric nicely controls the rate of descent. Care should be taken in marrying the correct sharpness of knife with the gauge of fabric used in the sail.
*in old pirate films
Just watched it again on youtube. It's at 21.30 and the sea isn't as rough as I thought...
I wouldn't bother with being winched up. It's hard work, requires at least two people, and makes you reliant on bits of equipment that may not get serviced as regularly as they should. Also the potential for riding turns is quite high, especially when the winchee is pulling themselves up too.
Way I do it is a double rope hoisted up on a halyard. Tension one side to the deck for easy climbing, and abseil on the other.
Also, if you're feeling athletic, it can be quite quick to just layback up the mast with a shunt at your waist for protection.
No more than going up! It might depend on the sort of ascender - I've got some old jumars which are very easy to use, you can hold the cam open with your thumb while moving it but a metal piece prevents it opening completely and coming off the rope. I used this method when clearing ivy off an old building inches a long job as the ivy was 8 thick at the bottom and even near the top a couple of inches in place.
On the other hand I was wondering what size of rope he would jumar up? Most sail halyards are thinner than climbing ropes, aren't they?
As said mostly people seem to have themselves winched up and down, which requires a second person. I saw a boat which was regularly used by a lone sailor and he had fixed aluminium rungs up the mast.
Having done every possible way Iīd guess (one of the pleasures of working in boatbuilding) the best is to learn to ascend with one ascender and a Grigri and then remove the ascender and ab down on the Grigri. Just as one does route setting or bolting routes.
Standard practice is to use TWO halyards to haul up a length of climbing or static rope of a suitable diameter for a Grigri.
You put on a superman t-shirt, stick a fat kid on your back and shout HEY YOU GUYYS! Then proceed with am immitation of the above Douglas Fairbanks school of descen!
If your'e worried about the shunt on the halyard, use the halyard to tension another line that you're not worried about. My dad carried a bit of 10mm line in his tool bag just for that job.
Same backup for mast climbing alone, but I'd avoid that unless absolutely necessary.
Reverse the procedure one move at a time works fine assuming you only have the kit that got you up there.
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