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post #1 of 18 Old 03-05-2008 Thread Starter
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Question What are the odds of this working?

The main halyard on my boat is a cable/line combo. It's regular line for about ten feet or so (the portion that is taken up on the winch) but then changes to cable for the rest of the length. I'd like to have all-line, but without having to make the boring climb to the top of the mast or restepping it to get at it.

However.

If I took a like-sized length of line and butted it to the end of the existing line, and joined them with, say, a piece of duct tape or similar wrapped around both ends, and then handsomely pulled the halyard all the way through, is it likely that the butted/taped end would meekly follow the existing line through the (I know it's not a pulley, but I can't remember the nautical term) "works" without coming apart?

Please say yes. But mean it.
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post #2 of 18 Old 03-05-2008
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The idea is good but I would sew the lines together and not rely on tape.

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217
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post #3 of 18 Old 03-05-2008
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I'd say yes, and I mean it. I've done it, and it's worked. It all depends on the width of the opening around your sheave (that's the term you were looking for) at the masthead. If you feel resistance, don't pull any more on it, you'll only part the thing and get ticked off, and have to make a trip up in the boatswain's chair.

But it will probably work, and why wouldn't you try this before having to do it the 'hard way' anyway? Good luck, and let us know if it worked.
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post #4 of 18 Old 03-05-2008
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You have to keep in mind that that what is at the top of the mast is designed for wire. You'll have to change the sheave at the mast truck or your new halyard will chafe quickly. Best way to do the changeover is to attach a messenger line to your old halyard in a very secure way (sew it or splice it in some way) pull the messenger through, then attach the messenger to the new halyard and reeve that through. Make sure you use a line with low stretch designed for use as running rigging.

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post #5 of 18 Old 03-05-2008
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You've got a wire/rope halyard...and they used to be very common on boats. It sounds like you want to switch to all rope halyards. The two problems with doing this are: First, you have to make sure the masthead sheave is large enough to take the rope without chafing at the mast head exit slot; second, you have to make sure your sheaves can handle rope.

The sheaves have a groove, and if the groove is v-shaped, it is only for wire, if the groove is U-shaped, then it should be fine for rope. BTW, you really should check the masthead exit slot to make sure that the wire hasn't worn any areas and left sharp or rough edges that will cut or abrade the new halyard.

If you butt the two lines against each other and then stitch the two lines together using sail thread and then wrap it tightly with a single layer of tape, you should be able to pull the new line through sheave, provided, as I said above, the sheave and exit slot are large enough for it to fit.

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Originally Posted by jaschrumpf View Post
The main halyard on my boat is a cable/line combo. It's regular line for about ten feet or so (the portion that is taken up on the winch) but then changes to cable for the rest of the length. I'd like to have all-line, but without having to make the boring climb to the top of the mast or restepping it to get at it.

However.

If I took a like-sized length of line and butted it to the end of the existing line, and joined them with, say, a piece of duct tape or similar wrapped around both ends, and then handsomely pulled the halyard all the way through, is it likely that the butted/taped end would meekly follow the existing line through the (I know it's not a pulley, but I can't remember the nautical term) "works" without coming apart?

Please say yes. But mean it.

Sailingdog

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post #6 of 18 Old 03-05-2008
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For about 20 years, I've been swapping out lines each fall in order to clean/inspect them. At one time I used masking tape to join the lines, but stopped after I lost the halyard in the mast. I now use duct tape, but do not sew the lines. I tapered the ends of the halyards to make the duct-taped transition go easier through the sheaves. I roll the taped joint between my palms to smooth it.

Works perfect but I agree with nolatom - if you feel ANY resistance, stop and reverse.

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post #7 of 18 Old 03-05-2008
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SD is right about that one. If your boat is 30 or 40 years old, the sheave is most likely in a "V" shape for the wire. While you may be able to get a line in there, it will get worn and stressed incorrectly. Pinching the core is not good for the line. Not sure that it would make it fail, or just wear quicker and need replacement. It may not be a big deal at all. You can always try it and see how it easily it moves in the sheave.

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post #8 of 18 Old 03-05-2008 Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies and advice. I probably should have mentioned that the jib halyard is all line -- would the original rigging on the boat (1975 Capitol Yachts Newport 28) have been wire/line for the main and line-only for the jib? The jib halyard shows no signs of any chafeing, and who knows how long it's been since it's been replaced.

I'll give it a go and report back. BTW, none of the halyards go into the mast; they're both external and just run though a sheave at the masthead. Is that common as well?

Thanks again!
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post #9 of 18 Old 03-05-2008
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If the halyards are external to the mast, things just got a lot simpler. Also, you can probably do a rough inspection of the sheaves from the deck with a good set of binoculars.

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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #10 of 18 Old 03-05-2008
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this might be a stupid question, but what is the advantage of an all line halyard vs. a line/ wire halyard?

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul, Wisdom is better than silver and gold"----Bob Marley

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