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Old 05-22-2012
BDFletch BDFletch is offline
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main sail fell, halyard at top of mast....

Our 28' Alerion Express has a ~40' mast, fixed keel and was initially rigged with portable davit at the boat ramp. When sailing last week the main sail came down (failed shackle or install error) leaving the halyard at the top of the mast. Thought about using a chair lift but the jib is on a roller furling so that was going to be a lot of work and being fractional rigged reaching the top of the mast was still going to be challenge. No ladder telephone poles were at the ramp and the marina never called back about allowing us to walk on top of their travel lift so I could reach out for the dangeling halyard end via pole hook. I slept on problem and dreamed about a way to get to the halyard without climbing or de-rigging. The rear (stern/aft) stay just happened to go to the top of the mast and was attached to a bracket protruding about 8-10" towards the rear of the boat. I stopped at the big-box store for cheap PVC (.79ea) and couplings (1.59ea). I slit 6 - 8' by 1/2" PVC pipes to the end except one and a half dozen coupling's length wise. I started with a four foot length of PVC (easier to get started up the stay while standing on the stern of the boat) and attached a 45 degree fitting, the end of this four foot length was not slit all the way by a couple of inches, so the rear stay cable does not go all the way through this one length of PVC. Attached a six to eight inch length of unslit PVC on the other end of the 45 degree coupling. I fashioned a hook from a metal coat hanger (getting harded to find) and installed it into the 6-8" PVC piece securing with duct tape. I then slid a total of 4 slit 8' pipes up the rear stay attaching each to another with the slit couplers. I duct taped each fitting snuggly in place (both horizontally and vertically) as I advanced the contraption up the stay eight feet at a time. I then twisted the whole assembly until I snagged the halyard with the hanger hook. With the halyard snagged (yea!!!) I slowly un-assembled the PVC a length at a time to get it all apart and down along with the halyard. Cost ~$20 for pipe and couplings (threw away after use), plus duct tape, hack saw and/or PVC cutting tool.

Short impromtu YouTube video to watch. You will see that I grabbed it, started to bring it down but it jumped off our coat hanger hook. It took a couple of more grabs of the rope at the top and it finally came all the way down!!! Yay!!!!









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Last edited by BDFletch; 05-24-2012 at 01:01 PM. Reason: editorial
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