Two Halyards for a Bosuns Chair

I've read somewhere you need two halyards to use a bosuns chair? Do you always need two? 


  • Many Grand Prix racing boats send one of their crew up the rig using a single halyard, but these are professionally maintained craft. Their rigging and hardware are pampered and the teams have high confidence in every line and sheave. Plus, their crew sends a person up the rig and back down in a hurry, performing a single task, often in the middle of a race. Experts wear a climbing harness.

    This isn't advised for the average recreational sailor. Instead, you always use one of your halyards to hoist you up the rig, but you also need a backup halyard. Get assistance from two helpers down on deck. One person will operate the primary halyard; another will work the second, backup halyard.

  • IF you have two halyards AND you are NOT comfortable or experienced with an experienced crew to assist then it's a good idea. Many of us riggers normally don't because a lot of the time there is only one halyard (fractional inmast main is #1 here).

    I will inspect the halyard and swap out a high strength small diameter one if I think it's suspect for my 200 lb self. I also carry a safety strap to secure myself in position if I'm going o be "Up there" a bit.

    So, for you, the two lines will be a back up for the safety strap and inexperienced crew. You might want a safety strap anyway.

  • Here is a great article from West Marine containing everything you need to know about climbing your mast with a Bosun's Chair. Always inspect your Bosun's chair and rigging before and after each. Always make sure everything is in good working order. Having a second halyard is beneficial for the redundancy of it alone.

  • A second halyard sounds great, but how do you have two halyards?

  • edited September 2022

    Most sailboats have at least 2 - one for the mainsail and one for the headsail.

  • Yeah, the problem is the headsail halyard is stuck and that's why I need to climb the mast. LOL

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