How to Retrieve Lost Main Halyard - SailNet Community

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Old 08-06-2007
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How to Retrieve Lost Main Halyard

I have a main halyard that got free and is at the tip of the mast on Tritum. Issue is that this the only line that runs all the way to the head of the mast and the bosons chair only gets me about 7 feet below the pulley where the main halyard is sitting. As the halyard has a bit of weight on it it is not easy to pull and I need to get there to pull it down.

After trying to snag the line with a rigged boat hood we attempted to climb the last seven feet, but eventually bailed. I tried using some climbing techniques on the mast with a pair of pruisik knots but at 60 feet off the water the sway of the boat was hard to mange and my pruisiks kept slipping on the smooth metal at the tip section of the mast. just wondering if anyone any brilliant ides on how to retrieve a lost main halyard in this scenario. I am preparing to hire outside help for this one since am disincline to tempt fate and climb past the boson's chair again.... Thoughts?
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Old 08-06-2007
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In the same situation I used a supermagnet like this

http://cgi.ebay.com/Magnet-Rare-Eart...QQcmdZViewItem

I had bought it a while back as a novelty.

I lashed together two long paint roller extentions and tied the supermagnet to the top.
Yes it was not very easy to control, flopped around a lot, but I did not have to hook the shackle, only get near to it.
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Old 08-06-2007
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Use a snake catcher's noose or similar device. A long piece of wire, a pole with a guide eye on the end, with the wire running attached to the handle, running out of the eye and forming a loop, with the bitter end of the wire at the bottom of the handle... put the loop around the shackle of the main halyard, tighten up the wire and tie it off.. pull the main halyard down to the bosun's chair.

You could make one for about six bucks. The website I linked to above tells you how to make one.

BTW, the supermagnet won't work very well if you have a good stainless steel shackle, since the good marine grade stainless steels, which are austentic grades of stainless, are non-magnetic.
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Old 08-06-2007
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Can't you duct tape something to the end of a boat hook? Like a coat hanger or something? If not, maybe practice your casting with a fish hook, maybe you could snag your self a halyard. Or.. maybe you could force the boat to heel (with an anchor? or another boat?) to make it easier to climb the last 7 feet). Or...do you know anyone with a pet monkey?
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If you have a bosuns chair and a spare harness, go up the mast standing on the chair, and use the harness to prevent you from falling off. Tie another halyard to the harness and maintain a loop between your waist and the mast.

You will have to undo it as you get to the shrouds and spreaders, so be carefull, and reattach after, A second loop is best.

Tree climbers and electrical post work men in europe use a lether belt, that stops the fall by squeezing you against the mast.
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Old 08-06-2007
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SnakeCatcher should win Sail Net's "AWARD of the Day" for great idea!
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We're accepting rep points for that post if you want to give me any.


It's probably safer and easier than the fishing hook/coat hanger idea, and far less insane than the bosun's chair and harness idea... but Giu isn't all that sane after being deprived of sailing for so long. The magnet idea only works if you have a cheap low-quality shackle.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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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Old 08-07-2007
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Motor up to a bridge, and have a buddy rappel down from the bridge. Likely he'll need two climbing ropes to make it all the way to the water after... or some ascending gear. This should be done swiftly, and under cover of darkness... cops don't like you rappelling from bridges, or they have never liked it when I have done it.
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Borrow a teenager lad from another vessel and send them up the mast.
The reason is that he will think the all of the young lassies will think that he is daring, thus have to prove it to them.
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Standing in Bosun's chair

Necessity is the mother of invention. I have a bosun's chair that has a board for a seat. I did exactly as the previous poster stated. NO JOKE ABOUT IT. I stood in the chair and tied my body the mast chest high with a harness and was able to look down on top of my mast. 62'. It's not fun, I took an extra line to tie off with but it got the job done. I my be one brick short of a load, but didn't have any teenagers in the Exuma's to climb my mast like a monkey. I got the job done and got down. Would do it again only in an emergency, but like all things, be careful.
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