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Old 05-08-2013
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Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Yesterday, while making 7.5 knots on a close reach toward Egmont Key in 15-18 knot winds we suddenly heard a bang like a rifle shot (I actually reflexively ducked) and our Main dropped like a rock. (My-much-better half actually came flying out of the cabin thinking we'd been shot!) Long and the short of the story is that the splice in the main halyard to the headboard shackle had let go in the splice (the shackle was still attached to the headboard). Our Main halyard is 10mm T-900 and is now about 10 years old. When I made up the lines, a local rigger told me that since the stuff was so strong, I had no need of a thimble in the eye splices for the halyard shackles. While that went against everything I'd been told for 50+ years, I took his word for it and didn't use thimbles. Evidently a dumb decision on my part, eh! While T-900 is supposed to be super UV resistant and super strong, evidently not strong enough, particularly without a thimble. Fishing the line out of the masthead and re-reeving the halyard will be a real pain. Chopping off the ends and remaking the splices of that and all of the rest of the similarly made halyards will be the real joy. Not what I had in mind for my wife on our Mother's Day weekend.

N'any case, a word to the wise...
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Old 05-08-2013
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Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

I swapped out halyards a couple years ago. I'm going to run down to the boat this morning to see whether I used a thimble. Although I've had some luck splicing new braided lines, I've not had any luck splicing used lines. I feel your pain.
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Last edited by erps; 05-08-2013 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 05-08-2013
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Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

So.. the eye chafed through? or the splice pulled out?

Yet another case for tying on rope halyards....
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Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

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Originally Posted by Faster View Post
So.. the eye chafed through? or the splice pulled out?

Yet another case for tying on rope halyards....
Not having recovered the Halyard yet, I do not know the exact failure mode. However, considering there are several thousand miles on the halyard in some pretty rough conditions at times, and that I use overlong splice lengths, and that I sew up and parcel the throats of my eye splices, I doubt that the splice pulled out. I suspect that the line parted in the eye but, in any case, I shall report on my findings. FWIW, a knot in T-900 doesn't approach the strength of a splice (at least according to NERopes).
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Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

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Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
I suspect that the line parted in the eye but, in any case, I shall report on my findings. FWIW, a knot in T-900 doesn't approach the strength of a splice (at least according to NERopes).
Please do.. I get the strength of the splice vs the knot issue, but don't you think the knot is plenty strong in any event? and as a bonus you're more likely to see the chafe and can shorten or end-for-end the rope as appropriate to avoid the issue....

Of course a thimble would've likely avoided the incident too...
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Old 05-08-2013
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Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

I'm going to grab popcorn on this one... Of course I don't deal with the loads many of you do.
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Old 05-08-2013
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Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Did you have a forged/cast shackle with soft edges, or a stamped one with sharper ones?

I assume that this was a chafe issue, not really specific to a splice. It could also happen with a bowline that was placed in the line for a very long time.

I have few thimbles in my splices, but I try to keep sharp edges away from anything with loads.
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Old 05-08-2013
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Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

LMAO!

So how long do you expect a halyard to last in FL sun? Most racing boats change hi-tech halyards out every 4 years. I'd be pretty darn happy about a highly loaded string lasting for 10 years of abuse.

It probably was chafe, but honestly, how long do you want to keep your halyards? Would 15 years be ok? How about 20? And now it sounds like you're going to 're-splice' it? Just buy a new string already.
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Old 05-08-2013
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Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

When I replaced the lifelines on my boat with Dyneema I put thimbles in the eyes, and got some incredulous looks from some folks. And, to tell the truth, I was wondering if I was being a bit obsessive about chafe when I did so. But, after reading this thread I'm feeling a bit smug/justified. Of course, lifelines aren't (or at least shouldn't) be loaded nearly as much as halyards....but still.
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Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zz4gta View Post
LMAO!

So how long do you expect a halyard to last in FL sun? Most racing boats change hi-tech halyards out every 4 years. I'd be pretty darn happy about a highly loaded string lasting for 10 years of abuse.

It probably was chafe, but honestly, how long do you want to keep your halyards? Would 15 years be ok? How about 20? And now it sounds like you're going to 're-splice' it? Just buy a new string already.
Our halyards are internal and, unless they are in use, messenger lines are affixed to the shackles and the halyards are retracted into the mast with only the spliced ends and shackles protruding from the sheave boxes (less useless windage and less exposure). The splices themselves are wrapped in self amalgamating silicon tape to protect against UV Penetration. Even the unprotected line is highly rated for UV tolerance. Replacing one of these "strings" is about $500 so unless the entire line is compromised and not simply the eye of the splice I'll struggle with the re-splicing. (Our shackles are all polished forged Stainless at about $60.00 a pop, no rough edges so chafe is doubtful.) The total cost of halyards on our boat is about $3K and as we've given up the racing effort (we just cruise, very quickly) there's no point in spending any more than reasonably necessary, no?

FWIW...
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