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  #1  
Old 01-19-2009
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Attaching Main Halyard

on my yacht attaching the main halyard is a bit of a acrobatic exercise. The head of the main is around 8ft off the deck, which necessitates standing on either a winch or the staysail boom. In calm weather it's not much of an issue, what concerns me is trying to do this in heavy weather, say in plus 30-40 kts when we decide to get rid of the main and go with staysail and mizzen.

Options I've been thinking to make it easier include:
  • installing granny bars that can be used to stand on
  • installing mast steps
  • rigging some sort of (temporary?) line to pull the head down and avoid having to climb the mast

Anyone have any other ideas?

Also wondering if the head of the main being 8ft plus off the deck is normal for a +45ft yacht, or something unique to my boat?

Ilenart
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Old 01-19-2009
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Guess I don't get the question. A main halyard should be rigged before leaving the dock, and not detached until you get back, except in extraordinary circumstances.

When you drop the main, grab the halyard just above the headboard and pull it down to a winch on the mast, loop it around, then pull the halyard tight to keep the head down.

Am I missing something in your question?

Bill
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Old 01-19-2009
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I'd recommend installing a couple of mast steps at the base of the mast and a couple at the top of the mast... use a strap around the mast to help keep you on the steps...

The ones at the top of the mast are really useful if you're up there working for any extended period of time... since they let you support yourself and get some weight off the bosun's chair/climbing harness.

Bill's point about the mainsail halyard being attached prior to leaving the dock is a good one... but even there, the mast steps would make it simpler to do... or get taller crew.
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Old 01-19-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Guess I don't get the question. A main halyard should be rigged before leaving the dock, and not detached until you get back, except in extraordinary circumstances.

Bill
Guess I'm not explaining myself properly (must be too late at night ) In medium to heavy weather when we switch from the main sail to the mizzen sail we have been disconnecting the halyard to stop the sail from riding up.

Quote:
When you drop the main, grab the halyard just above the headboard and pull it down to a winch on the mast, loop it around, then pull the halyard tight to keep the head down.
That will still mean someone will have to climb up to grab the halyard, however this would be quicker than disconnecting, so it's probably a good idea. One problem is the halyard is too short, with only just enough length to reach the deck, so will have to lengthen the line to make this work.

Thanks for the Suggestion.

Ilenart
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Old 01-19-2009
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Should be attached to the main, unless... you attach it to some body's belt loops and hoist him/her up a bit.

Of course that person should be very forgiving and a good friend and can take a joke. But I've done this a few times with the signal haulyards on Naval ships. To me it was funny. Won't say what the fellow hoisted thought...
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Old 01-19-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
I'd recommend installing a couple of mast steps at the base of the mast and a couple at the top of the mast... use a strap around the mast to help keep you on the steps...
I was thinking of steps at the base, however there is a fair bit of junk already attached to the mast (three winches, 3-5 cleats, etc).

Quote:
or get taller crew
Then they don't fit in the bunks

Ilenart
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Old 01-19-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilenart View Post
I was thinking of steps at the base, however there is a fair bit of junk already attached to the mast (three winches, 3-5 cleats, etc).
Just reach up with a boathook and grab the halyard, pull the slack down around the horn of a cleat and then take back the slack on your winch. That will actually force the headboard downwards and stop the flogging.

And you probably need a longer halyard if you say yours is a little short.

Taller crew only sometimes helps. They start to whine when you force them to dig into small lockers for bits and pieces!
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Old 01-19-2009
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Head of Mainsail Height

Hi,

Another option to consider might be, and this is only if the mainsail is short enough on the hoist, is to splice on a piece of spectra a foot or so (depending on the reach distance) to the head of the mainsail with a loop in both ends and to use it to connect the halyard to. The other option is a differently styled head on the main that would allow it to bend over some on top of the first set of slugs. Another option is a Strong Track for the mainsail which may give you an overall lower height of the head of the stored sail, and finally lengthening the halyard as you suggest. Lengthening the halyard will also give you the option of dealing with chafe issues at the top without having to buy a new one. Get a few feet longer than you planned.

Sounds like some steps would help as well.

Good luck,

121 Guy
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Old 01-19-2009
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I think the boathook option sounds best. Don't want to be climbing anything in heavy weather (I don't like climbing things at the dock!). Putting on any sort of loop or line is going to flob around a lot, and could possibly foul something.
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Old 01-20-2009
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Agree boathook & lengthening the halyard sounds like a good plan. Thanks for all the suggestions guys.

Ilenart
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