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 Is climbing the mast of a Catalina 25 a thing?
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Oneday
Deckhand

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USA
20 Posts

Initially Posted - 06/10/2022 :  17:21:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Can one safely climb the mast? I have a swing keel. Thanks Dan

bigelowp
Master Marine Consultant

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1670 Posts

Response Posted - 06/10/2022 :  19:10:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Must ask -- why do you want to? Would thing that it would be easier to take the mast down to inspect, repair, check lights, etc. FWIW I remove mast each winter to reduce strain on standing rigging/chainplates AND to inspect.

Peter Bigelow
C-25 TR/FK #2092 Limerick
Rowayton, Ct
Port Captain: Rowayton/Norwalk/Darien CT
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8864 Posts

Response Posted - 06/11/2022 :  20:45:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Use Search above--for "climb mast", all words, C-25 forum, subject only, include archived posts.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic/Stonington CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV,
Now on Eastern 27 $+!nkp*+ Sarge (but still sailing when I can).
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smd
Deckhand

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21 Posts

Response Posted - 06/13/2022 :  11:34:39  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For another perspective, I find it easier and much quicker to climb the mast than to take it down. I have a mastmate system, which you might look into, but have also done it with a bosun's chair. That said, I keep my boat in the water year-round, so I'm not as adept with stepping the mast as some others.

Steven 1984 C-25 SR/SK
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Derek Crawford
Master Marine Consultant

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Response Posted - 06/13/2022 :  15:07:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our original boat was a SK C22 and I was up the mast in the slip several times. On our C25 FK I had a friend free climb the mast just before the start to fix a jammed halyard.
It really is quicker and easier to climb the mast using a bosun's chair and a halyard than spend a couple of hours lowering and raising.

Derek Crawford
Chief Measurer C25-250 2008
Previous owner of "This Side UP"
1981 C-25 TR/FK #2262 Used to have an '89 C22 #9483, "Downsized"
San Antonio, Texas
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Voyager
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
5008 Posts

Response Posted - 06/13/2022 :  21:43:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Personally, I would not do it if I had to use a boatswain’s chair or if I had a swing keel. I probably would not do it even with a fixed keel and a mast mate system.
At my current weight (200+ lbs) I calculated the moment of the keel versus my weight at a leverage of 30-ish feet, and if the boat decided to heel a little, and my weight swung over the centerline a little too far, the math says that the boat is going over.
Maybe the math is off, but even if I climb up to the spreaders on a ladder to change the steaming light or adjust the shrouds, I can feel the sway of the boat under me, and it’s not a lot of fun.
A fall would either be fatal or debilitating.
Dropping the mast is a lot less stressful and much safer. You can still get bonked if things go wrong, but the consequences are a lot less grave. It’s not something that I want to do.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain — Milford, CT

Edited by - Voyager on 06/14/2022 05:51:32
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bigelowp
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
1670 Posts

Response Posted - 06/16/2022 :  20:02:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
On our boats unstepping the mast is much easier than a boatswain chair. And, at the weight of the boat vs most of us . . . . .

Peter Bigelow
C-25 TR/FK #2092 Limerick
Rowayton, Ct
Port Captain: Rowayton/Norwalk/Darien CT
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CC83
Deckhand

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USA
8 Posts

Response Posted - 06/27/2022 :  10:54:34  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can only speak to a fin keel, but one can definitely go and work aloft on a Catalina 25 while at the dock. Aloft while underway would be a different animal on such a small boat...

I personally make a point to go up the rig before sailing anytime the mast is stepped and at least once a year. Gives me a chance to do a full inspection and tape up any pointy stuff for the spinnaker. This could be done with the mast down, but I'm a bit old school and enjoy the warm and fuzzy of looking over the rig with it up. No more than a 15 minute operation if done right. The best method for going up is a personal comfort decision. I wear a climbing harness.

This is more for any newbies who read the thread since I haven't seen this covered before, but general rules to live by for working aloft are:
-Always, always, always go up on 2 different halyards, both tied (NOT just shackled) to your harness/boatswain's chair.
-Never trust your life to just a clutch or self-tailor. If not actively being tailed by someone, tie the halyard off on a winch or cleat.
-Always climb and descend with the working halyard on a winch
-Wear a life jacket. It both protects you if you get swung into the rig by waves and could save your life if you fall.
-Tie all metal tools to your harness or boatswain's chair. Dropping an untied Leatherman = a hole in your deck or someone below you's head.
-A COMPETENT crew member is required to work the halyards, 2 desired.
-This isn't always possible, but try to make working aloft the "main event". At least one person should be a dedicated safety observer, other people shouldn't be getting on/off the boat, doing other significant boat work, etc.
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Lee Panza
Captain

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463 Posts

Response Posted - 07/06/2022 :  09:41:12  Show Profile  Visit Lee Panza's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'd like to append something to this thread, based on the last comment from the previous posting.

Make absolutely certain that anyone below you understands to move around on the boat - or on to or off of it - VERY SLOWLY, and to communicate with you before they do!

While much attention in this thread has focused on the leverage of your weight at the top of that long lever, it cannot be stressed enough that the weight of a single person stepping on or off the boat, or even shifting between the mid-girth and the side, has an enormous effect at the end of that lever. The person up there will instinctively grab the mast for stability, and this can result in dropping something important and completely disrupting whatever operation he's engaged in at the moment. It's also pretty "exciting" in a not good way.

I go up my mast from time to time (I've got a swing keel), as it's far easier and faster than dropping it. Inspecting something questionable, or replacing something important (ie. the windex or the anchor light), can't wait until I'm able to perform the operation of lowering/raising the mast - which takes several hours altogether. I've put together a climbing rig, using mechanical ascenders like we used when I climbed in Yosemite (there are good rigs commercially available). Being able to use a prusik knot on a second line adds an element of redundancy we didn't have back then, and I feel quite comfortable going up without any assistance. However, having someone down there, to pass me a tool I forgot to bring, via the bucket on the haul line attached to my waist, saves me having to go down and back up in the middle of an operation... as long as they move about the boat SLOWLY.

So, to the OP here, yes; climbing the mast on a Catalina 25 is definitely a "thing." Go for it!


The trouble with a destination - any destination, really - is that it interrupts The Journey.

Lee Panza
SR/SK #2134
San Francisco Bay
(Brisbane, CA)
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