Harken Bosun's Chair
How I didn't kill myself when I was a kid, I don't know. One of the many dumb things I did was substitute a fender for a bosun's chair when a real one wasn't available and I had to go up the stick. Even the official equipment was pretty agricultural; a plank with four holes drilled in it and non-synthetic line (ever hear of manila, sonny?) threaded through and lashed into a loop at the top wasn't exactly conducive to long-term comfort and safety at the masthead.
Times have changed. Now we have climbing harnesses that have been adapted for the marine environment for going up in dangerous conditions or those quick trips to retrieve a halyard. Even old-school chairs have come a long way. I like the new bosun's chair from Harken. As the company says; it's designed by sailors-and the fact that the designers have spent time up the mast is obvious from its construction and features. Strong webbing supports a wide rigid padded seat, and pockets either side provide storage for plenty of tools. Tying lanyards to the eyes conveniently located above the pockets will keep the deck from becoming a hardhat area if a tool slips from your fingers. The halyard attachment point is low enough that when the halyard's all the way up you should be able to see the top of the mast without dangerous contortions. An adjustable backrest and crotch strap will help keep you in place.
You'll be able to spend plenty of time in this chair, comfortably making sure your rig is maintained so it and your sails stay up.
Harken Bosun's Chair, $190, (www.harken.com)