Climbing the Mast

First let me say that this is neither an endorsement or a review, everybody has their own comfort level when it comes to going aloft. Personally I understand that I need the ability to climb the mast but I dread heights. I do own an old style wooden Bosuns’s Chair but my family does not have the power to get me up the mast nor the skills to get me down safely. Therefore I have been looking at two other interesting systems, the ATN Mast Climber and the Mast Mate. Both systems look very safe and reliable as long as you take the right precautions, climbing harness, don’t go up with out a man on deck with a safety line etc.

Rick from Middle Bay Sailing had some interesting observations about the ATN System which reminded me of my Fathers comments about the one that he owned, but never used.

Today I went down to Urbanna to do a couple of projects, neither of which involved fixing the deck light that was hanging by its wire from the port spreader. I ran in to my friend Matt down there and asked him about the Mast Mate that he owns. He promptly retrieved it and suggested that we see if the mast slides fit. Unfortunately for me they did.


The mast mate bag would be relatively easy to store, much smaller than I thought, and it went up the mast very quickly.


The steps folded down well when I put some weight on it. I only climbed up to the spreaders to fix the light but I felt good climbing and pretty secure. The line-mans belt would have added a lot of security when working as I was trying to use a screwdriver in my left hand while holding on with my right.



Overall I would use this system again, it was quick and easy and I could get used to it, though I won’t say that I enjoyed the experience.

3 thoughts on “Climbing the Mast

  1. Adam, I’ve often thought that the Mast Mate would be an easier climb, both mentally and physically. I had not realized that a lineman’s belt would be necessary, now I can well understand it.

    As you mentioned in your introductory paragraph, the safety harness is essential, as is the deck crew who tends the line for you. In particular, a climbing harness would be optimal, as a regular deck harness could cause an injury by virture of not spreading sudden loads over enough surface area on your body.

    Thanks for the report of your experience with Mast Mate.



  2. I agree about the climbing harness Rick, I really was not that comfy up there and would not go up any higher without a climbing harness and belt. I do think that I would get pretty confident if I had the above.
    The other unexpected bonus is that I don’t have to drop $500 on one as I can borrow my neighbors whenever I need one 🙂


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