Yachtsman warns of chair failure

Yachting Monthly reader Terry Atkinson,a 56-year-old wood turner from Tingwall in the Shetland Islands emailed us about the failure of his XM bosun’s chair.

He said:’ Some time within in the last year, I bought an XM bosun’s chair from Mailspeed Marine. I stored it on my boat in it’s own bag in my cabin. It was never misused or stored anywhere near chemicals.

‘I weigh just under 12 stone and had probably used the chair 5 or 6 times. No more.
I was using it at the top of the 40ft mast on my Westwind 30 cutter, installing mast rungs. I also wore a harness and a climber’s hook as double protection. Without any warning, there was a sharp bang and the webbing stitching parted from the ring attatching it to the halyard. I was only supported by the harness and without that there would have been a terrible accident.’

‘My chair has since been replaced by Mailspeed. I now have one from Baseline, a ‘Solent’ and the build quality is absolutely superb.’

Mailspeed Marine’s mail order manager, Mary Flower, said they have no more of the XM bosun’s chairs in stock. We have contacted Plastimo/XM and they are ‘investigating’. We are awaiting their reply.