Whoa!! Autocorrect is taking over, there, NOB!!
Going back to rope/wire is a bit of a backward step. It is possible, of course, that the sheaves have had their day, but the best way to check that is to go up (or drop the stick) and have a close up look. You could try to lube them somehow at the same time.
If the newer rope halyards are too thick then the friction would be there all the time.. is it? If it's a 'new' symptom then something has changed.
That's a pretty small boat to be going up the mast, can you get to a tall pier somewhere at low tide that allows you a better look?? Binoculars can sometimes help too...