Home Travel The Sailing Totem: How to safely go up the mast

The Sailing Totem: How to safely go up the mast


Jamie inspecting the boat before crossing the Indian Ocean in Langkawi.
Behan Gifford

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Inspecting the condition of your rigging is an important step in safe-passage preparation, so going aloft is—or should be—on the maintenance shortlist of many cruisers. Does that sound like a glorious opportunity to gaze at your boat from an eagle’s-eye view or a nerve-racking ascent to avoid (or get over with as quickly as possible)? Maybe the reaction is, “Hell no, that’s a job for a rigger!” However you feel about going aloft, cruisers should be familiar with safe practices for ascending their boat’s mast(s). These tips will help you to do it safely.

Safety first

It is a serious undertaking that requires the use of good equipment, safety practices and a keen eye for knowing when to not defy gravity. Make a plan if you have any questions about the safety checks described in this article. Only go up to the mast after you’ve addressed them.

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