One of the items I started sewing before Christmas was a bosun’s chair. A bosun’s chair is one of the less-expensive ways to get to the top of the mast. Basically you sit in a seat, attach it to a halyard (and a backup line for safety), and someone uses a winch to hoist you to the top. We figured that I would generally be the one going up because I’m lighter, making it easier for Jeff to hoist me vs. my hoisting him. However, we needed to keep open the possibility that he might have to go up there.
Looking at the most common suppliers, we discovered that hoisting Jeff along with some tools would put him uncomfortably close to the weight limit of the chair. Fortunately Sailrite had a kit that was not only cheaper, but also had the highest weight capacity of the options we’d seen. After convincing Jeff that I felt comfortable enough in my sewing skills to make one by hand, I ordered it up.
Making the chair was a bit fiddly, but overall it wasn’t too bad between the instructions that Sailrite provided and their YouTube video. The trickiest part was making sure I didn’t accidentally sew the webbing onto another part of the material as I worked in that location. That only happened twice before I finally remembered to pay attention to where the webbing was!
I started by installing D-rings into the webbing, then cut the Sunbrella, hemmed the fabric, and sewed the webbing into the Sunbrella which created the leg straps. Another piece of webbing created the back strap, the two panels were sewn together leaving a gap for the seat, and then I inserted closed-cell foam to sit on. I made a pocket for small tools and parts, sewed it onto the chair, and voila! A bosun’s chair:
Of course now that it’s finished, we likely won’t be using it when we head out. I don’t think Jeff winching me up the mast is going to be in the cards, and I highly doubt our current winches will allow me to hoist him up.
I’ve been looking at alternatives for going up the mast without help, and I think we’ll end up springing for an ATN Mastclimber before we leave. In the meantime, however, we can use our bosun’s chair and get help from somebody else if we find ourselves needing to climb the mast for some reason. At least now we have the ability to do it!