Some great mast guying tips

Some great mast guying tips……in my humble opinion of course!

I love guy ropes. All masts are just so much safer well guyed in my opinion.

I recently made my own 3 section aluminium winch up and luffing mast for the base station (must detail that one day!) that needed guys for my own peace of mind.  So I wanted some good secure ways of keeping is safely guyed when up and retracted. So the below is what I came up with with some experience in other hobbies and some research. I’m really pleased with it so thought I would share.

The garden is very small and fully paved but does have a 6 feet or so brick wall on two sides and a concrete post on the 3rd that I could use to guy to. So bolting a fixing to the wall was the obvious answer. I’d already bolted some eye rawl bolts in before but they were too small for the snap links I wanted to use and they didn’t fill me with 100% confidence. What came to mind as the perfect solution was bolt on hangers used in climbing walls for clipping the top ropes into. I could then bolt through the bricks and it would be bombproof. They look like this (though I would be using them upside down as our ropes go up not down!):
Petzl coeur hanger stainlessI got stainless ones from Needlesports here (link) for under £3 each as they will be outside 24/7.

Snap Links.
These are similar to karabiners but steel and a lot cheaper! I use ultralight karabiners for my backpacking radio gear but here weight is no issue. These are from Screwfix (link) and are cheap as chips (cheaper-chips are expensive these days!) working out at a quid each.
screwfix snap link

Although these are only zinc plated, I have been very surprised at the resistance to rust. Over a year outside and no signs yet. One thing I will point out is the engaging teeth on the opening gate are very sharp and love to try to snag the rope or your finger, and the gates themselves don’t open that wide. Climbing karabiners are designed specifically to have a good width gate opening, these don’t need to so they don’t. But in this application we only clip the rope in once anyway.

petzl hanger and snap link

With these fitted I attached the 3 guys to the mast, wound it up to full height then tied each guy into the snap link using a figure 8 knot. This does take a while as getting the knots in the right place and the right tension on each guy to keep the mast upright is a bit trial and error but it only requires doing once and you then know the guys will forever be the right length.

Guy ropes.
While we’re at it, there are many ropes you can use of course but I have gone for braid on braid polyester rope as used a lot in yachting etc. It’s quite low stretch and has good strength and should be durable in the sun and rain. I use it on all my guys now, 6mm for my lightweight backpacking guys and 8mm here and for car portable guying. I buy mine from OutdoorXscape (link) as they seem to be good on service etc. Usually I buy white with colour fleck but for this I got solid black to be low key.
braid on braid solid colour rope

Tying off when retracted.
I wanted a way to quickly and easily tie off the guys when the mast was fully retracted as I wanted the guys to take the strain off the wall mount holding the mast up but for it also to be reliable and secure. After some considerable searching I found the perfect solution. The Nite Ize Figure 9 Carabiner Large  (link) turned out to be perfect. The locking off system is very quick and you can also actually set it with a decent tension. It literally takes about 3 seconds to do. I also add a half hitch to stop wind/gravity/other factors trying to release the rope, so even then it’s like 10 seconds per guy rope.
Nite Ize Figure 9 Carabiner LGThese were not cheap at a about a tenner each but they are worth the lavish expense 100%.
This is the basic tie off method which I have used especially when I plan to wind the mast up next day:
figure 9 carabiner in use

The image below is how I typically leave each guy when mast is stowed retracted. You can see the safety half hitch and the spare rope I loop over the snap link. The knot at the bottom of the photo is the excess guy rope I should really cut off as I will never use it. You can also see the now redundant rawl eye bolt. Might be handy one day…

guy rope stowed

Hope this page helps you with some ideas, I have to say again, I really love the Figure 9 karabiners!