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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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Old 04-29-2007
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Halyards Type??

I have wire to rope halyards on the Niagara 31 I just purchased. They are looking a little worn and I would like to replace them. What is the better choice for new halyards - wire to rope or rope a lone??
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Old 04-29-2007
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All wire seems to have passed out of use. My last boat had all wire halyards and to be honest they deserved to be consigned to the dust bin of history. Only time I've had a halyard part it was all wire.

Current hole in water has wire/rope. These work perfectly well but I'm concerned about the point at which the wire comes through the mast fitting. To me it seems to be a worry regarding wear on the sheave but I've not had any problems thus far. It would seem to me that if you have wire/rope halyards the wire should be short enough so that it doesn't reach the sheave, meaning that the join should always be inside the mast but I'm told this can cause problems.

Stretch has always been the problem with all rope halyards but this old dinsoaur is a bit behind the cutting edge of technology so maybe some of these newer whizz bang types of rope have solved that problem.
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Old 04-29-2007
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Gee -- we just went through this not long ago on another thread. Try using the search function to see what you come up with.

Wombat hit the nail with his head -- in this day and age all rope halyards are the way to go. But one issue is the sheaves at the top of the mast -- if grooved for wire halyards, you have to change out the sheaves to go to all rope (or else replace with new wire/rope). If the grooves are more rounded, then they should accept either wire or rope.

Since it's a new to you boat, take down the mast anyway and check everything out. Run new electrical wiring, replace those old anchor and steaming lights with ones more energy efficient, add a couple of spare halyards if you like. Also that's the easiest way to check on the sheaves and replace them if need be. Wire is really rough on sheaves so the current ones are probably pitted and cut anyway.

My 1988 Pearson 33-2 had wire/rope halyards when I bought her in 2003 and the main halyard was in sad shape. Fortunately, Pearson used the sheaves with rounded grooves so I could replace them with all rope very easily. But I didn't know that until I tested it out, connecting the new halyard to the old one with a length of duct tape. It went right through the sheave with only a slight tug. Dawg will come on here with his stuff about lashing the old to the new, etc., and that will work, too. But duct tape is quick and makes a sturdy joint, so don't listen to him!!!!
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