May 18, 2013 – A What Chair?

A bosun’s chair.  Much to David Copperfield’s dismay, I’m going to reveal my secret.  After I took you all to Such Great Heights last time, many of you seemed far more concerned with my safety than the halyard (really? the halyard is so important!) and you wanted to know whether I climbed the mast without a safety net.  “Why yes, yes I did.” she said with a wink and a smile.  There was no net, but I can assure you it was climbed safely.   “How?”  You ask.  With a bosun’s chair!

No, not bison.

Pics from Phone 419

Pics from Phone 419

Bosun.  (Yes – that’s me – rocking the Artic Cat outfit with the bison up in Yellowstone.  Phillip and I saw plenty on our snowmobile tour through there when we went up to Big Sky last February to ski – you remember that trip: “Knee Schmee – Let’s Ski!”

So, bosun.  Let’s look it up, shall we?


NOUN (also bo’sun, boatswain)

ˈbəʊsn  pronunciation English; ˈboʊsn  pronunciation American
An officer on a ship whose job is to take care of the equipment and the people who work on the ship.
A “swab,” basically.  And a bosun’s chair is really just a fancy little strappy device that you can use to hoist a swab (like me!) up to patch the sails, untangle a line, get the halyard down, etc.
Boson's Chair
You sit in the chair and hook a halyard (I’m sure you’re starting to get this by now – a halyard is a line that’s used to raise anything on the boat – including people!) to the orange rings shown above, and your faithful captain hoists your happy-swabbing behind up to do his dirty work.  You’ll see in this picture, I was safely seated in a bosun’s chair for the entire “death-defying” ascension:
Mast 1
Boson's Chair (2)
See!  There’s a big, strappy bosun’s chair swaddling my derriere at all times.  And, apparently you all think my ass just looks that big without a bosun’s chair because no one asked what that big, honking thing was on my rear.  Thanks for that.
In all seriousness, bosun’s chairs are quite useful for repairing sails or working on the mast, but, much like the Slap Chop, they have many other uses as well.  You can latch one to the spinnaker sail (we’ll get to that another day) to swing out over the water:
Boson spinnaker
You can use it to drag misbehaving mates alongside the boat for punishment:

You can even use it to hoist Granny up and throw her over the side:


“Bye Granny!”  And, sorry, I couldn’t find a video for this one.  I know people do it all the time.  Apparently they just don’t post it to YouTube.  I don’t know why.  You’ll just have to let your imagination run wild.

So, the bosun’s chair.  Although we did use it, as well as a secondary line, to ensure my ascent was made safely, that’s not to say the climbing act didn’t require some good ole’ Annie gumption and secret circus tricks.  Do not try this at home kids – I began climbing and jumping things at a very young age and have a wealth of circus knowledge to pull from:

High Jump (2)

Oh yeah, that is 100% authentic.  Notice the metal Tonka truck (that’s before they started cranking out all that plastic BS), the flat soccer ball and the “bench” made out of an old railroad tie sitting on cinder blocks.  Yes, that is indeed my New Mexico backyard circa 1992.

High Jump 2 (2)

I had no idea at the time that it would take me some day to such great heights.  We merely found it entertaining.  Unlike kids today, the only thing we thought could make a hot, summer afternoon in the backyard with some rope and rebar hammered into the ground better was ice cream.   Just ask my high-waisted friend here.  Those were such good times …

7 thoughts on “May 18, 2013 – A What Chair?

  • Oh you crafty little devil! Well played indeed. I should have known better that one who deals with liability issues and has probably seen her fair share of idiots trying to get compensation for doing stupid things like taking an electric radio or toaster into the shower with them or trying to stop a turning blender blade with their tongue would have a modicum of more sense than to shinny up a 50ft. mast with no safety equipment. You hid that very well with the exception of the first shot that did make me wonder about your caboose a little. I just figured it was your dark colored shorts and shaddow playing a trick on the camera (yeeeesh!) as I didn’t see a line that you appeared to be attached to. You got me. In the words of Dr. Sheldon Cooper: Bazinga! (tried to add a picture, but it didn’t work) I feel stupid to see fortunately that you are not that stupid. Question: What are the likely last words of the young and stupid: “Hey watch this, this is really cool!”, or “bet I can!”

    • Everyone knows a redneck’s famous last words are “Hey Y’all Watch This.” I kid you not. Google it (or better yet YouTube it) – it has a whole cult following with tons of quality footage much like this: All very safe to do at home if you are, in fact, a redneck. Mast-climbing, however, does not fall into this category and by reading and viewing this blog post you have hereby waived and released all potential claims of liability against me, whether now existing or hereinafter accrued, for any mast-climbing-related injuries or better yet, for anything at all, period. There, I think that doctors it all up sufficiently. Bazinga!

    • Why thank you my Dear Watson. I’m so glad I could entertain you (as well as the masses). I certainly am having fun with it, and am thrilled to have you following along.

  • ok, now I understand. They strapped you into the chair and yanked you up the mast before you could get unstrapped. I could see how that would work. to get you up to the top. Glad you made it back down, without getting wet

    • Indeed! That’s exactly what happened. I was hoisted against my will! Certainly there’s a lawsuit to be had … intentional infliction of emotional distress perhaps? Must research it!

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