Old as Dirt!
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tampa Bay Area
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Re: Wire to Rope Halyards
All my Halyards are wire to rope. The wire can be hard on the mast sheeves and also cut through the mast through bolts at the spreaders and shroud tangs. Is it best to replace these with all rope? What is the benefit of the wire to rope halyard?
Wire to rope halyards were an inexpensive way of providing yachts with non-stretch halyards from the late 60's through the early '80s without the need for reel winches which are a "reel" pain in the neck--or wrist if one got away from you. The length of the "rope" tail was sized to have rope around the halyard winches with only a short length between the winch and the wire. Of course, this necessitated having sheaves that were designed with a hardened grove in the center to accept the wire without chafe and yet accommodate the rope itself as was necessary because the wire could not exceed the length from the masthead to slightly above the position of the halyard winch. So long as the sheave is not chewed up--which usually only happens when the wire is badly worn or the lead at the masthead is not fair, the sheaves will usually accept a rope only halyard. On the other hand, unless there is some reason to believe that someone has lead a halyard unfairly through the mast--and chafe in the wire to confirm it--there is no reason to think that the wire is "sawing" on anything in the mast save perhaps the exit slot (if the halyards are internal). In any case, if the sheaves are okay, you can switch over to Sta-Set or Sta-Set X or its equivalent, for a reliable non-/limited stretch halyard for everyday and club racing use; or, Spectra or its equivalent (e.g. T-900) for more serious racing although that is not inexpensive.
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