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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Yes, if it's a spinnaker halyard you'll be better off with line over wire.. This sounds like a spare jib halyard. Does it exit under the forestay? If so it's for a jib.
This will be difficult to retrieve without going up the mast. Pull the halyard out, get someone to hoist you up and feed a weighted messenger down the mast and have someone fish it out with a bent wire hook. A short section of bicycle chain works well as the weight - goes over the sheaves quite nicely. Use the light messenger to pull the halyard in again.
If going up the mast is not an option then you'll likely have to drop the rig. (although feeding the messenger is usually easier with the mast up - gravity is your friend) Alternatively if you can find a mast tower you can do it from there. We've used tall piers at low tide, small ferry landings with a minibridge across the top, etc as means of accessing the masthead for a job like this.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)