How to Climb with In-Mast Furling

The difficulty in securing the Mast Mate to a mast with an internal roller furling mainsail can be dealt with quite simply. First determine the width of the mast slot, then purchase a section of PVC tubing or hose with a diameter slightly larger than the width of the mast slot. Cut the PVC or hose in 3-4in pieces. While weaving a piece of 1/4in line through the grommets on the Mast Mate, thread a PVC or hose section between each grommet ( between every other grommet is adequate). Tie off 1/4in line on top and bottom of the Mast Mate and as you are raising the Mast Mate feed the line and PVC or hose sections into the widened portion of the slot at the goose neck. You can adjust the stiffness of the system by either loosening or tightening the line. Depending on mast design, alternative methods of attaching the PVC or hose sections to the Mast Mate may be possible.

How to Climb with In-Mast Furling


Below is a recent customers successful application of the above attachment alternative.

Boat: 2005 Hunter 33 with Furling Mainsail

Ladder Length: 42 Feet (35 too short) The end of the 42 foot ladder rested just below the boom. Perfect for access to the fist step.

Parts: 30 sections of 12 inch long, 1 Inch diameter PVC tubing. Each one with the ends sanded and shaped to allow smooth movement of the rope fed through them. 12 inch sections seemed to be a good length. longer and the 3/8 inch rope may have been difficult to tighten due to the angle of the rope from the tube to the ladder grommet. Any shorter and the ladder would not have been as secure to the channel. I think 14 inch tubes would have worked as well and made the ladder even more secure to the channel.

50 Foot of 3/8 inch three strand nylon rope. One end prepared with a braided loop.

Large shackle for the end of the halyard.

Installation: Tied a Double Round Turn Bowline in the end of the Halyard and used a large shackle to connect it to the top of the ladder. Could have used the loop end of the halyard and the normal shackle, but felt safer with a knot I knew was secure and the larger shackle to reduce the stress on the halyard. I am sure there are better knots for the purpose, but this worked well for me.

Connected the 3/8 inch rope to the shackle.

Weaved the 3/8 inch rope into the mast access hole, through a tube, back through the access hole and to the first grommet in the ladder. Then fed the tube into the access hole and raised the ladder for the next section. Did this for each section of the ladder until it was fully raised.

When the ladder was fully raised, pulled the 3/8 inch line tight and secured it to the boom.

This held the ladder firmly to the mast channel.

Installation was a bit slow, but easy to do and secure.

Climbing: Used your belt over a fireman’s chair so that I could use the loose end of it to tie off to the mast when I had to take off the loop from your belt to move around the spreader bars. Also used a rolling hitch in the topping lift through a clip on the fireman’s chair. That way I was never unbelted or untied and had two lift lines on at all times. It made things slow, but better slow than sorry.