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capttb 04-08-2004 02:10 PM

Replacing Halyards
Being new to owning a boat that I can''t unstep mast on easily I''m a little worried about replacing halyards. My thought is I would "whip" or (couple clove hitches) a short, small diameter messenger line to the end (sail end), whip messenger to new line and pull back thru. I believe usual method is to butt tape the ends together but I don’t feel comfortable with that unless I was to sew a few stitches of stout thread between them also.
Old halyards have the shackles tied on with bowline on a bight, I plan to have lines made with hardware spliced on, that seems stronger and “neater” to me, am I missing something?

hamiam 04-08-2004 04:50 PM

Replacing Halyards
You have it. Personally I tape the messenger line to the free end of the halyard. I find it runs smoothly thru the sheaves. My hardware is spliced on.

Mr.Christian 04-11-2004 03:20 AM

Replacing Halyards
I just simply tie the end of the messenger line to the existing halyard by opening up a hole in the end with my fid, then tying a long boline. never had a prob with this method.
Splicing is the only way to go. a knot can reduce the strength of the halyard by a large percentage. make sure that whoever does your splicing uses a core-to-core splice so that you have 100% of the line strength.

Jeff_H 04-11-2004 06:34 AM

Replacing Halyards
I typically butt stitch the ends of the halyard and messenger lines together and then put masking tape over the joint to smooth it. When I was working as rigger and over the years, I replaced a lot of halyards and it was amazing what could and does go wrong. I would advise against Mr. Christian''s (and I am not picking on Mr. Christian per se) suggestion doing a tuck through the line and tieing the messenger line without taping over the loop and knot. That was a very traditional way to re-run a halyard and that is the technique that we used to when I first landed the job as a rigger BUT we had a loop of line catch on what we speculated was the end of a bolt or screw and we were not able to free it for days. When we did free the halyard the halard went one way and the messenger line went the other so we were forced to fish the halyard down the mast.

The second point is about tieing vs splicing. While a splice are nice, it really is not necessary and may not be the best idea for distance crruising. Most halyards are sized for minimal stretch, adequate life after chafe, and for comfort in gripping rather than working load capacity which means that they have many times (typically 3 to 4 times) the load capacity required to break the line as compared to the actual loads that they expeience.

Knots typically reduce the strength of the connection by 20% to 50% depending on the type of line and type of knot, so the lost strength at the knot is negligable. What is nice about using a knot vs a splice is that you can easily relocate the halyard attachment point at sea as the biggest source of chafe is in the first couple feet of the halyard where it passes through the masthead sheave. If you do tie on the halyard shackle, it and you are using a double braided line, it is important to stitch on a whipping, rather than simply burn the ends of the line so that the core can''t retract into the shell. With double braid I typically add a sacrifical cover at high chafe areas and at the halyard locks of cleats. To do this I buy some line (any cheap double braid will do) in the next larger size, strip the core and slide lengths of the cover over the line until they are centered on the high chafe area. I then split the ends of the sacrificial cover and tuck the ends of the sacrificial cover into the cover of the halyard and stitch it in place. I then pull both the halyard and the sacrificial cover tight and do the same at the other end. This greatly adds to the life span of the cover and reduces slipping (experially with smaller diameter high tech line)at the stoppers and winches.


Silmaril 04-11-2004 07:28 AM

Replacing Halyards
Good topic.

I have a question regarding halyard "Technique". My masthead is a tapered rig, and has three closely spaced WIRE sheeves facing forward, Port, Stbd, and Center. The lack of space precludes me from using any of the newer high-tech solutions. The line''s diameters are too big for the sheeves for the loadings on a 37'' masthead rigged IOR race boat.

My question is this:

The traditional method of using a wire hayard is to get two or more turns on a winch before you go to the splice, hence the 4 small winches at the mast partner. This necessitates a person going to the cabin top to raise and lower sails, two if you are racing and have a crew "Jumping" the halyard at mark roundings. Weight forward never a good thing in the squirlly IOR desings, and it gets crowded.

I am looking to replace my three forward halyards, and bring the tails to SpinLocks on the cabin top near the cockpit. A pair of self tailing winches behind port and stbd banks of three locks on either side of the companionway. Can I trust the wire/rope splice? How much can it hold and are there any techniques to improve the strength of the splice?

Thanks for any and all input.

jkumin 04-11-2004 07:58 PM

Replacing Halyards
We raced and cruised for many years on a 36'' boat with wire/rope halyards as you propose, with the rope tails led to a bank of stoppers on the cabintop so the splices were fully loaded. Never saw any sign of distress. These were commercial tapered splices. Is there any way you can fit sheaves to take the new, small diameter Spectra lines? These can be spliced to a larger tail (and/or sleeved) so the stopper will hold them. Lighter - and no nasty meathooks.

maxim_rfeld 04-12-2004 06:01 PM

Replacing Halyards
Jeff, what would you do with the parallel core construction line (sta set x)? I guess stitch on a whipping will not work?


Jeff_H 04-12-2004 06:41 PM

Replacing Halyards
I think that a stitch on whipping would work on Staset X. The whipping clamps the core to the cover and the stitching holds the whipping in place. If in doubt you can also backsplice the core and cover before doing the whipping.


Silmaril 04-13-2004 04:29 AM

Replacing Halyards
My local rigger just shook his head and said "How about a new stick? For only...."

The mast is over 65'' base to mast head, and tapers dramatically down. This was the early days of the "Bendy" masthead rigged boats. The sheeves are closely spaced, between sections of aluminum reinforcements. They are 1/4" wide, just big enough for the wire, but no way a rope sheeve will fit.

I guess I will trust the wire/rope splice for now, and continue to advise all foredeck crew to make sure they always wear gloves when handling the wire.

mcycles 04-23-2004 09:07 AM

Replacing Halyards
I have the same situation you do. ''82 Dehler DB1 3/4 ton IOR boat, very tapered fractional bendy mast, and a bank of 3 sheaves for the center jib and 2 wing wire halyards. All the jib halyards were fraying badly and needed replacing.

I checked the sheaves and they are not the U-channel groove style suitable for only wire, nor are they abraded badly... and my 8mm (5/16") Validator II replacement line appears to fit nearly perfectly in them... which means it is probably larger than optimal size for that sheave diameter. The old wire halyards were 3/16".

Still, I am going to run it for this summer season and see how things go. I tied on my shackles w/ buntline hitches, the line strength is rated at over twice what the old (and fraying) wire was, so I anticipate no problems with that. I am not stripping the cover, mainly for longevity but also for added protection since i''m not absolutely certain there will be no chafe issues.

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