ATN's new Mastclimber! NOT!

rwthomas1

Sustaining Partner
Didn't know where else to put this so here it is:

Purchased ATN's new version of the "top climber" called the Mastclimber. Worked reasonably well once you get the hang of it. The downside is the clutches scratch the heck out of the mast when you get near the top. There is no way I can see to keep them from rubbing on the mast as you ascend/descend.

Now the scary part. As I started to descend, during some of the gymnastics that are required to operate the system, I heard a pretty disconcerting "pop, pop, pop"!!! In the pic attached you will see my hand, I'm holding the back support section of the bosun's chair part. The stitching just let go! Now I wasn't in any danger once I realized what was happening, I was very careful not to lean back the rest of the way down.

The really creepy part is that I can see NO difference in the stitching anywhere else on the rig. This bloody thing could have let go at any of the far more critical sections and I would not be typing this post. So the next step is emailing ATN and returning it. Too bad, its not a bad idea and the seat is very comfy. I just don't trust it and won't ever use on again.

Lifes too short to be killed by something dumb like this.

RT
 

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Randy Rutledge

Sustaining Member
Glad you made it alive. I always use the bosun's chair (it looks like a kids swing) and wear a repelling harness when aloft. The chair takes the load on one halyard and the harness is backup snug on another halyard. We winch the chair up a couple of feet then tighten the backup.
 

Sven

Seglare
As I started to descend, during some of the gymnastics that are required to operate the system, I heard a pretty disconcerting "pop, pop, pop"!!!
Wow. I'm very glad you came back down at the proper pace. That could have been nasty !

We have an older ATN mast climber, probably 7 years old ? I've only used it once. When you say "ATN's new" in what way is it different from the old one if you know ?

Once again I'm very happy it worked out ok.

Thanks.



-Sven
 

u079721

Contributing Partner
I reviewed the original ATN Mastclimber for my "Up The Mast" article on mast ascending techniques for Good Old Boat some years ago. At that time the stitching on the seat seemed OK, but what bothered me was the no-name ascenders (clutches as you call them) they were using. They looked like fairly cheap metal parts, and they didn't really inspire too much confidence. Sounds like maybe one too many cost cutting measures?

As for scraping the mast, I think the trick there may be to put a bit more slack in the fixed rope so that you end up climbing sort of sideways to the mast.
 
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tadslc

Member III
Wow, I just went up my mast a couple weekends ago with a couple year old ATN. Besides my legs feeling like jelly for a few days afterward, all went well.

Glad to hear you made it down OK.

Tad
 

skywalker

Member II
ATN climber story

I was on a delivery last year from Norfolk to the BVI's offshore route going close to Bermuda on a Sabre 38. We were about 100 miles south of Bermuda and the lower fwd portside shroud let go (rod rigging even) without any warning at all. We were in about 25kts of wind and about 10-12' swells during the day. It was just a loud crack and that piece of rod rigging was whipping around the deck like crazy in the wind. Anyhow we decided to turn around and head for Bermuda to get that rigging fixed. On our way back the skipper got out his new ATN climber (he did practice at the dock) and proceded to climb up that mast with the boat rock and rolling to get some spectra line around the spreader to try and secure that side of the mast with the missing shroud. It was a bit of a workout but he did it and everything worked out well. He got banged up a bit but I thought afterwards that this is something I wanted to have on my boat vs a bosuns chair. Your pictures however are making me question now whether or not to get this now. I would be curious to see how ATN responds. The stiching I see in the photo is totally, totally unacceptable for a safety product. Keep us informed of there reponse. Thanks for showing us.
 

rwthomas1

Sustaining Partner
I heard from ATN today, a fellow named Etienne Giroire emailed me, apologized profusely, gave a UPS account number for the return, and indicated it would be replaced, no problem.

I am unsure I trust the product now. As good an idea as it is, I'm a little freaked out.

The "mastclimber" version has ATN's new clutches. They are actually the nicest part of the kit. Made in the USA, stainless and anodized alloy, quite robust and able to be fit on to an existing halyard instead of the line having to be led through it like the old design. Here is the link for the ascender clutch part:http://www.atninc.com/ascender_en.php

When I say it scratches the mast, the ascender part is what does it. The piece is hard metal and when at the top it is held tightly to the mast with your own weight. Moving about causes it to scratch the paint as you swing around. Not good.

I will be returning the unit and then decide what I want to do.
RT
 

Sven

Seglare
Rob, do you mind if I mention your experience (quote or paraphrase with the picture) on the Cruisers' Forum ? I certainly don't want to slam ATN but this does seem like an issue that sailors should be aware of and look out for.



-Sven
 

rwthomas1

Sustaining Partner
Its the World Wide Web Sven, do as you like. If I didn't want to show people I would not have posted it! I feel lucky that the stitching that failed was not the more critical sections. I think ATN is a good company that is trying to make products that are safe and offer good value. I don't want to "slam" them either but I do think that the problem is unacceptable and they should be called for it. RT
 

Sven

Seglare
Rob,

Its the World Wide Web Sven, do as you like.
But there is still room for courtesy. I see this forum almost like a bunch of fairly close friends rather than just an anonymous forum and for that reason I think it is reasonable to ask.

If I didn't want to show people I would not have posted it! I feel lucky that the stitching that failed was not the more critical sections. I think ATN is a good company that is trying to make products that are safe and offer good value. I don't want to "slam" them either but I do think that the problem is unacceptable and they should be called for it. RT
Agree completely.

Thanks,



-Sven
 

Carefree Sailor

Member II
Rob's experience with his new ATN Mastclimber is certainly not one that any of us would want to occur while we are up the mast. I recently purchased one and it worked flawlessly -- as advertised. I found it far more comfortable and enjoyable than using a bosun's chair. However, I believe the lesson here is if you own the Mastclimber, take it to a shoe repair shop and have extra stitching put in.
 
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