Going Aloft

One of the great pleasures (or sometimes fearsome headaches) of sailboat ownership, is the task of going aloft - that is, hoisting one's self up the mast to make repairs and/or upgrades. On this particular day (22 October 2001), I decided to test out my new Sky Chair (available from SkyChairs.com) and check out the view from about 40 feet above the water.

The picture above shows my shadow on the water (the lump nearly at the top of the mast). The mast is a little less than 40 feet and I was up about as far as the rig I was using would hoist me.

These three pictures display the view of the marina from the top of the mast.

Being a heavier guy (about 220 pounds), I used two double-blocks (the top one with a becket) to create a two-fold purchase block and tackle hoist. This allowed me to hoist only about 55 pounds, but was very slow in vertical ascent. For safety, I used both the mainsail and foresail halyards to hold the snatch-block (which was attached to the backstay), and the SkyChair hung from a stainless 8 kN carbiner.

This is the view of the deck from the top of the mast. I'm not necessarily afraid of heights, but I do fear the pain associated with a fall from greater heights, especially on to an unfriendly surface (such as the deck of a sailboat). For scale, the dinghy in the right picture is about 9 feet long--I was way up there.

And finally, here is the definition of relaxation.

Although a strange recreational activity, I found sitting in the SkyChair at an altitude of about 35 feet very enjoyable and relaxing.

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