Re: Mast Climbing Safety

Craig Briggs


Kudos for sharing this. Safety shortcuts are so easy to fall into and you posting this, from a super competent person, is a sobering message to all of us.

I am curious, though, as to just how the "halyard slipped from the clutch"?  By "clutch" do you mean the "self-tailer" on the winch or the "rope clutch" of the mizzen halyard - or were you using the mizzen staysail halyard directly to a winch (not going through the rope clutch).

If using the mizzen halyard clutch, and assuming the line was still running through the clutch hole it could not have slipped "from" the clutch, but must have slipped "through" the clutch. If so, did the fact that the tension was all on the winch allow the locking lever to fall open (mine will indeed do that occasionally), thus allowing the line to run freely through the clutch, and then somehow the line came off the winch? Or did you unlock the clutch because it was on the winch and then the line came off the winch.

The clutch, being a one-way locking device that you can leave locked while going up will not slip if the line is taken off the winch. It sounds as though (if you were using the clutch) you either unlocked the clutch before you went up, or being "where you wanted to be" your crew unlocked the clutch to lower you back down. 

Katherine is taking me up tomorrow to remove my mizzen lowers, as I start to replace my rigging after the failure a couple of weeks ago. I'll be using the foc d'artimon halyard run to the anchor windlass (no electric winches on the SN) and I will run it through the mizzen halyard clutch, plus I'll use the passerelle / outboard hoisting halyard as a safety, but I'd appreciate more details on your episode.

Best regards,
SN68 Sangaris, Tropic Isle Harbor, FL

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