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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-23-2006
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Another lost halyard...

Ok, this is getting embarassing. I confused my spinnaker and jib halyards, and managed to chaff the spinnaker halyard enough that it wouldn't go either way thru the block at the top of the mast. I put a ladder up, and was able to cut it, slide of the outside portion and attach a new halyard to pull thru, but lost it inside the mast and had to give up.

Well, last trip somehow we left the boat with no figure 8 knot in the end of the jib halyard, and now it's disappeared into the mast... can't tell how far up. I was forced to sail with just the main - which made a nice family sailing day - but I'm not going to be limited to just the main.

Are there any tricks to getting a jib halyard to fead back into the mast maybe by taking the weight off the outside portion - pulling it up using the main halyard maybe?

Sailing up to a bridge and having someone repel down? I really don't want to step the mast if I don't have to. It's a J/24 with a 37' keel stepped mast.

Mike
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Old 06-24-2006
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You might try a "fish tape." They are used by electricians to tread a line in conduit. There are two types I know of - steel and nylon. I have both, but haven't used them enough to say which would be best in your application. The nylon fish of course is non-conductive, costs more I think, and seems a bit more flexible than the steel fish.

I've never done this, but I think you'll need to thread the fish up the mast, and probably climb the mast to retieve the end, or climb the mast and thread the fish down. Then pull through a light line that in turn will be used to pull through the halyard. While you are at it, pull through two light lines, and leave one for the next time it's needed. If you start and end at the mast step, you can tie off the spare line there. My rigger did that for me during commisioning.

Fish tapes come in various lengths, and both were available at Home Depot when I bought the nylon fish.

As for climbing the mast, again I can make no comparisons, but I've climbed the mast twice to retrieve a halyard, and the ATN Top Climber worked quite well and seemed reasonably safe used as directed. ATN on the web has a video showing how it is used. Beware that the demonstrator must have practiced tens of times before the filming. It worked essentially as advertised for me but at probably about one-tenth the speed and ten-times the apparent effort.
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Old 06-24-2006
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Once it is lost INside the mast, the only trick is getting aloft to feed a new halyard in from the top, by hand. Probably easier to drop a pilot line with some washers or a fishing weight on it, snag that, pull it out, and then pull the halyard down with the pilot line. But you've still got to get to the masthead to feed the new halyard in.

Either:
1-You climb
2-You pull alongside something taller and lean over the masthead
3-You careen the boat, which isn't hard with a J/24. Run your other halyard over sideways to another dock or fixed object, put weight on that side of the boat, and you can pull it over sideways very easily. (Just stop short of flooding the cockpit!) At that point you may be able to reach up with a short ladder, and feed the weighted pilot line in.
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Old 06-24-2006
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Wow, I never considered careening the boat... seems like that might be the way to go with a boat of my size. Seems like I could possibly do that at the lake away from the dock... maybe near a beach.

The fishtape idea is helpful too... one halyard is partly in place, but the other has to be fed from scratch.

Thanks for the ideas!

Mike
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Old 06-24-2006
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Thinking more about careening a 24' keelboat... I'm wondering if I could do it in shallow water at the lake, tape all hatches and openings shut, and lay the boat over 90 deg, to install the new halyards...

Has anyone ever done this? What risks may be involved that I'm not thinking of. Most of the web searches I'm seeing refer mostly to ways to clean, paint or repair the bottom at low tide.

I'd need it to be at least 75-80deg over so the mast would be 5-7' off the beach.

Mike
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Old 06-24-2006
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The niftiest hing I have learnt about using fishtape lines or indeed mousing lines and improvisations on the theme for getting lines up and down masts has been a short lenght of metal bead chain.

On the end of your mouse line or fishtape, graft on about 12inches worth of STEEL bead chain available in the decorator section of any hardware store. Thread it down the mast and then use a MAGNET ON A STICK at the bottom of the mast. The magent will catch the bead chain and let you draw it out easily, this will in turn let you pull out the mousing line or fishtape and all is joy from there. much MUCH easier then trying to hook the descending mouse or fish with a wire bent into a hook and about an hour of swearing.

Cheers.

Sasha
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Old 06-26-2006
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Wow, What a great idea about using the metal chain and a magnet. I suppose washers would work also, but the magnet is a great suggestion.
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Old 06-26-2006
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You'll find it much harder than you'd expect to pull a J24 over 90deg by the masthead - you'll be lucky to get more than 15 or 20 degrees without significant mech. advantage.
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Old 06-26-2006
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I think it would be really difficult to careen that boat. I think you are going to have go up in the bosun. That's the only thing I miss about the ex...she was tiny and easy to hoist.
Perhaps too late now. But next time...try cutting off the old halyard and sewing the end of the new rope to the old rope...wrap it with duck tape and pull it through. (Remember to attach the new halyard to something before you start).
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Old 06-26-2006
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"You'll find it much harder than you'd expect to pull a J24 over 90deg ... without significant mech. advantage."

That's what them nice Johnstone brothers put them there shiny WINCHES on the deck for!

(Everyone knows real J sailors don't need winches to play their lines, right?)

It is even possible to broach a J/24, and to sink one after broaching it, as the lazarette covers allow the boat to flood almost instantly. They're nice stable boats, but they can be encouraged to roll over.
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