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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!
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Thread: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!! Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-13-2013 09:30 PM
svHyLyte
Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
... or use a knot and forgo the shackle.... cheaper.....
A: We've no shortage of polished forged shackles; B. We like to be able to release the halyards from the sails when they are not needed and run them up to the masthead with a messenger to get them out of the weather (didn't I mention this before?)

(Faster--Don't push it. I've conceded to knots when I don't like them. Let well enough alone, eh?)

The take-away from this Thread should not be simply the chronicle of my own misadventure but a heads-up to those who may be relying on high-tech lines in a manner that is not suitable for the line due to misunderstandings. I/We were fortunate that our Halyard blew-out on a nice, sunny, warm afternoon with middling winds and light seas. We were able to recover and re-set our sail and make our way without undue difficulty once we recovered from the surprise. Had we blown that halyard at night, in a squall or storm, in big seas, mid-way between heck and gone, when we really needed that sail, it might have been an entirely different story. The take away is Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices. They might not be what, or as strong/reliable as, they seem.

Here Homer Nods...
05-13-2013 09:25 PM
svHyLyte
Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanduskysailor View Post
Ever thought about replacing your T-900 with 10MM Yale Crystalyne. 130 ft halyard at $1.95/foot is $253.50 plus splice I'd definitely use thimbles with the vectran core of Crystalyne. Minimal creep compared to T-900 with same breaking strength. Sailed a few Macs on a First 42. They are beasts going uphill in a blow.
Not a bad suggestion but we have no reason to replace perfectly serviceable halyards at this point.

By "beast" I'm not sure whether you are complimenting or complaining. We've carried the yacht to weather with a 100% and double reefed main with 40 knots over the deck without particular difficulty or discomfort although it was admittedly a bit wet on deck (thank goodness for a good dodger!). Below it was notably quiet and quite unremarkable until one emerged into the tempest. (one crew, at the change of watch, commented "Holy Shoot, What the He_l Happened?) Friends of ours, with our sister-ship, Ocean Angel, carried their #3 spinnaker in 30 knots for 20+ hours in the 2009 Regatta del Sol al Sol, making up to 14 knots at times, without particular difficulty. As Frers commented, the early and mid-1980's era First 42's are some of his best work.
05-13-2013 05:47 PM
Faster
Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
Use a knot. Retie every few years, moving all chafe points in the process. Easy.
... or use a knot and forgo the shackle.... cheaper.....
05-13-2013 05:38 PM
Sanduskysailor
Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Ever thought about replacing your T-900 with 10MM Yale Crystalyne. 130 ft halyard at $1.95/foot is $253.50 plus splice I'd definitely use thimbles with the vectran core of Crystalyne. Minimal creep compared to T-900 with same breaking strength. Sailed a few Macs on a First 42. They are beasts going uphill in a blow.
05-13-2013 09:11 AM
pdqaltair
Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Use a knot. Retie every few years, moving all chafe points in the process. Easy.
05-13-2013 07:49 AM
svHyLyte
Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbetter View Post
You should have slipped it.
In theory it is, as a practical matter I suspect it will not slip short of being hauled on by a bulldozer given the look of the knot after one hard but not exceptionally demanding use.

FWIW...
05-12-2013 10:08 PM
mbetter
Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
(tho' that Buntline hitch will likely have to be cut off at some point in the future as there is probably no way of ever loosening it!).
You should have slipped it.
05-12-2013 09:36 PM
svHyLyte
Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
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).
On Friday our current rigger extracted and re-reeved our main halyard after chopping off the damaged end and blown splice. The autopsy of the failed splice is now complete with photos of the dissected dead end following (I hope). The splice failed at the throat (as I had suspected). The "feathering" and discoloration of the outer most core strands compared with the clean ends of the ruptured inner core strands indicate the failure to have been progressive across the splice over some time, from outside to inside, as I had theorized. More diligent inspection of the splice on my part would have revealed the splice was failing but I was derelict with that tho' shall certainly not be again. A stress test of a length of the 10 year "old" halyard, just inboard of the failed splice, in the mechanics of materials lab at the local technical school Saturday morning by one of our neighbors, who is a professor there, indicated a rupture load of about 15000 lbs or roughly 4000 lbs above the rated strength of the line (10mm--11000 lbs) on the supposedly old, worn out, sun burned halyard. With that, Saturday afternoon I whipped the end of the halyard and connected it to the headboard shackle with a Buntline hitch. We took the yacht out and sailed her out to Egmont Key and back it 18 - 20 knots on an close reach, over sheeting the main all the way, and the yacht performed well (tho' that Buntline hitch will likely have to be cut off at some point in the future as there is probably no way of ever loosening it!).

Our current rigger, who was a close friend of our prior rigger who has since passed away agrees with him that a thimble is not needed with the new high tech lines. But. The proper way to use such splices is to make them rather longer than one would normally and to pass the entire eye through the shackle bail and loop it up and over the shackle so that both "legs" of the splice are carrying load as in a Cowhitch. I did that with our runners but not with our halyards. So. My next project is to chop the ends off our other halyards wherever I/we see feathering of the covers in the line, re-whip the lines and reconnect them with Buntline hitches. By end-for-ending the lines, I can probably get another 10 years out of them, assuming I live than much longer.

Hopefully, others can/will profit by my own misadventure. Snaps follow (fingers crossed!) FWIW...
05-10-2013 10:30 AM
knothead
Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Knothead--You must have missed the notation that the exposed ends of the halyards are wrapped with Teflon Tape to guard against chafe on the sheave box edges and block UV. We've been following the convention of withdrawing unused halyards/lifts into the mast on our boats since the mid-60's (a trick we learned from an old, accomplished and much envied racer) and have never had a halyard/lift fail from other than chafe on the sides of a sheave box (no matter how industriously we smooth and polish the cheeks of the boxes). The objective is to get them out of the way/wind and protected until they are needed but to be able to put them into service quickly when needed. I don't want to be screwing around trying to reeve a halyard lead in the middle of the night in a heavy seaway when I can just pull a lazy halyard/lift down, snap it in place and be back in business.

I am in communication with the engineers at NE Ropes who assure me that the non-load bearing polyester cover quite adequately protects the load bearing Technora/Dyneema SK-75 core. Moreover, Dyneema is a highly crystalline UHMWPE fibre relatively immune to UV degredation hence its use in space science applications where UV exposure is not mitigated by an Ozone layer as we are here on mother earth. For the sake of comparison, we have uncovered 1/4" SK-75 runners that at are now 10 years old (that replaced similar 16 year old runners) with no failures despite constant solar exposure and not infrequent cyclical loading in the 2000 to 4000 lb range. The difference between these and our halyard that failed is the fact that the ends were spliced around thimbles.

While the post-mortum on our failed splice has not been completed, I suspect the failure arose because I allowed a supposedly knowledgeable rigger to make a splice without a thimble when I knew better. A tight eye splice around a shackle bale with high modulus fibers--no stretch--results in only the fibers on the outside of the curve of the eye being loaded and so bearing all of the load in the splice. These eventually fail with the load being transferred to the next outermost layer of fiber. The cycle repeats until the entire eye has failed.

In any case, once we have reeved a messenger, we shall end for end the line and reattach the halyard, around a thinble, but secured with a Buntline hitch rather than a splice and shall thereafter chop of a foot or so every few years and remake the hitch. Friends of ours now in Trinidad inform me they have applied the foregoing methodology with their, now, 20 year old Dyneema French issue halyards and have suffered no failures thus far.

And, we shall continue withdrawing our unused halyards and lifts into the mast as a matter of course. Different ships, different long splices eh?

FWIW...
I didn't miss the fact that you taped the splice. Nor did I suggest that your method was the cause of your halyard failing. I believe that you are probably right in that the splice would have lasted longer had it been made around a thimble. Primarily because users of high tech halyards tend to crank them up so hard.
It just makes more sense to me however, if you really want to extend the life of your halyards, to pull them and stow them when not in use. The only way to do that is to attach the messenger to the open end. Especially on halyards that are led back to the cockpit.
And I certainly would expect that any competent sailor would re-reeve his halyards before ever leaving the dock. Not wait until the middle of the night in a heavy seaway. That would be silly.

My business partner Andrew, you may know him if you've been racing in this area for any length of time, does not use thimbles on his high tech splices. He does however replace them every few years. But then again, he replaces his rod standing rigging every five years when racing. He was rather amused at the idea that you were surprised that a ten year old t-900 halyard would fail.
I on the other hand, am still using the external Sta-Set halyards that I installed over twenty years ago, sailed from CA to FL with and which have been sitting in the Florida sun since '93. So I sympathize with you. However, I hardly ever put a handle in a winch on my boat so I don't really stress my lines much.
You racers are a different breed. You use your boats harder and your stuff wears out much quicker. Just the facts of life.
05-10-2013 10:04 AM
svHyLyte
Re: Mind Your Hi-Tech Splices!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by knothead View Post
If one wants to replace their halyards with messengers when they aren't in use, then the messenger should be attached (sewn) to the open end of the halyard and the halyard is then lowered completely where it can be stowed in a bag at the mast keeping the messengers attached or below if you want to separate them. This works for internal or external halyards.
It makes little sense to me to attach the messenger to the shackle and simply sky the halyard leaving the splice or knot exposed to the elements.

One caution; If using a very small diameter messenger, be sure to keep it under tension throughout the entire process or else the messenger may jump the sheave and become jammed between the sheave and cheek.
Knothead--You must have missed the notation that the exposed ends of the halyards are wrapped with Teflon Tape to guard against chafe on the sheave box edges and block UV. We've been following the convention of withdrawing unused halyards/lifts into the mast on our boats since the mid-60's (a trick we learned from an old, accomplished and much envied racer) and have never had a halyard/lift fail from other than chafe on the sides of a sheave box (no matter how industriously we smooth and polish the cheeks of the boxes). The objective is to get them out of the way/wind and protected until they are needed but to be able to put them into service quickly when needed. I don't want to be screwing around trying to reeve a halyard lead in the middle of the night in a heavy seaway when I can just pull a lazy halyard/lift down, snap it in place and be back in business.

I am in communication with the engineers at NE Ropes who assure me that the non-load bearing polyester cover quite adequately protects the load bearing Technora/Dyneema SK-75 core. Moreover, Dyneema is a highly crystalline UHMWPE fibre relatively immune to UV degredation hence its use in space science applications where UV exposure is not mitigated by an Ozone layer as we are here on mother earth. For the sake of comparison, we have uncovered 1/4" SK-75 runners that at are now 10 years old (that replaced similar 16 year old runners) with no failures despite constant solar exposure and not infrequent cyclical loading in the 2000 to 4000 lb range. The difference between these and our halyard that failed is the fact that the ends were spliced around thimbles.

While the post-mortum on our failed splice has not been completed, I suspect the failure arose because I allowed a supposedly knowledgeable rigger to make a splice without a thimble when I knew better. A tight eye splice around a shackle bale with high modulus fibers--no stretch--results in only the fibers on the outside of the curve of the eye being loaded and so bearing all of the load in the splice. These eventually fail with the load being transferred to the next outermost layer of fiber. The cycle repeats until the entire eye has failed.

In any case, once we have reeved a messenger, we shall end for end the line and reattach the halyard, around a thinble, but secured with a Buntline hitch rather than a splice and shall thereafter chop of a foot or so every few years and remake the hitch. Friends of ours now in Trinidad inform me they have applied the foregoing methodology with their, now, 20 year old Dyneema French issue halyards and have suffered no failures thus far.

And, we shall continue withdrawing our unused halyards and lifts into the mast as a matter of course. Different ships, different long splices eh?

FWIW...
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