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firehoser75 02-14-2007 01:29 PM

Main Halyard Replacement
What is a good method to run a new halyard without having to go aloft or unstep the mast? Do you first run a much smaller line then the new halyard? How do you securely attach the lines together to facilitate the replacement?


captw3 02-14-2007 01:39 PM

Run a smaller messenger line though on the existing halyard then wire tie and/or tape the halyard and reverse the process. Make sure the messenger line is strong enough to take the pull and make the turns without seperating.
Rick EP

SailorMitch 02-14-2007 02:02 PM

Assuming you have the shackle already spliced on the new halyard -- two basic options on how to proceed. If you are going to trash the old halyard, you can cut off the old shackle to save if you want, and use the old halyard as the messenger line to pull the new one through. I usually butt the two ends together and use duct tape to secure them together -- but tug on the joint really well before you pull it through. So butt the tail end of the new halyard to where you cut off the shackle on the old halyard, secure with a big piece of duct tape, and pull the old halyard up and through until the new one is in place. You can still use the old halyard line for something else in you want if it is in basically good shape.

If you want to keep the old halyard intact, you will need to pull the old halyard out first with a messenger line secured to the tailend of it. I use whatever small stuff I have for a messenger line, but make sure it is strong and flexible -- and long enough! Again, I attach the two together with duct tape, overlapping the small stuff on the old halyard if that thickness will go through the sheave. This time you will pull the old halyard out in the opposite direction from the first method. Once the messenger is in place (and I keep some tension on it to make sure it doesn't jump out of the sheave at the top of the mast) remove the duct tape and the old halyard, and attach the new halyard with duct tape. Pull the messenger line through until the new one is in place, and you're done.

Sounds more complicated than it is. Also, I use about a 6-9 inch long piece of duct tape to make sure it all stays together.

Brezzin 02-14-2007 02:05 PM

I used this method myself and was shocked at how well it worked

Valiente 02-14-2007 02:22 PM


Originally Posted by SailorMitch
Sounds more complicated than it is. Also, I use about a 6-9 inch long piece of duct tape to make sure it all stays together.

You can sleeve the tape in shrink wrap tubing for an even neater job. Just lube the outside of the shrink wrap (or work it by hand so it will conform to the sheave radius) and maintain a steady pull up and around.

This job is a lot easier than losing a halyard shackle up the mast when you are alone with no steps. That can get tricky and involve all sort of Masonic-handshake-type contortions.

paulk 02-14-2007 06:23 PM

If I worry that the duct tape is going to let go 65' up the mast, I sew the two lines together with a sail needle and waxed twine.

firehoser75 02-15-2007 07:30 PM

Thanks for the Advise
You have all given me some useful ideas on how to accomplish this.
Thanks, it is very much appreciated.


idealflaw 07-18-2008 10:52 PM

this was a good thread. question - my existing halyard is a cable spliced into a rope. I want to replace it so I can run it back to the cockpit as I usually single-hand.

I'll replace it with a plane-ole-line, no cable or anything like that. am I trading down by doing this or is that cable/rope combo no better or worse than traditional rope?

Let me know your thoughts...

sailingdog 07-18-2008 11:15 PM


IF you have a wire-to-rope halyard currently and want to replace it with an all rope halyard, you really need to check the masthead sheave, to make sure it is designed to handle rope as well as the masthead exit slot to see if the wire rope has damaged the slot and made it a possible rope chafing hazard. A wire sheave usually has a V-shaped groove, where a rope sheave will have a U-shaped groove.

The new high-tech lines are actually better than wire-to-rope halyards. The dyneema or spectra core lines are stronger than wire with about the same stretch and with less weight aloft.

In the future, you should probably start your own thread, rather than hijacking one, like you did here. I'd also recommend that you read the post in my signature.

knothead 07-19-2008 02:38 PM


Originally Posted by paulk (Post 112662)
If I worry that the duct tape is going to let go 65' up the mast, I sew the two lines together with a sail needle and waxed twine.

The above way is much preferable over the duct tape method. That is unless you have other work for the rigger to do when you hire him to go aloft to fish the new halyard through the mast after the tape comes apart when you get the junction to the mast head and attempt to pull it over the sheave.
Trust me. Butt the ends together and stitch them.

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