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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Optimal halyard length?
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Thread: Optimal halyard length? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-23-2013 07:39 PM
WoobaGooba
Re: Optimal halyard length?

VPC is a good compromise $$$ versus stretch. I replaced wire-to-rope with 10 mm VPC couple years back. Happy with the result.

I'm not a fan of StaSetX.
10-23-2013 06:06 PM
Stumble
Re: Optimal halyard length?

I am a huge fan of dyneema lines for pretty much everything, but in this case I don't really see the point. To get a large enough dyneema line to be able to handle you have to go up in size far past the needed strength, even taking into account stretch. Quite frankly 7/64th amsteel would be more than strong enough, but it would be to small to grab.

If you feel like learning to splice, you could go with a 7/64th dyneema halyard spliced into a sta-set tail. But I think this is a lot of work for minimal gain on a non-race boat. Though since the dyneema is so cheap it would save a little money.
10-23-2013 12:49 PM
Alex W
Re: Optimal halyard length?

As Faster said halyards run back to the cockpit or left at the mast is really an item of personal preference. If you run the halyards back to the cockpit then you also need to run the reefing lines back to the cockpit. There is a pretty good chance that your boat is setup to use a boom mounted reefing hook for the reef tack, and if so moving to cockpit setup reefing is a bigger rigging project. I have everything run back to the cockpit on my boat and have plans to move the spinnaker and jib halyards back to the mast.

Someone pushed back on my suggestion of dyneema halyards. I was suggesting them because they will allow you to use existing wire-halyard sheaves. Wire halyards on your boat were probably 1/8", and 1/8" dyneema is strong enough for the purpose where 1/8" double braid is not. If 5/16" halyards fit on your existing sheaves then there is no reason to use dyneema, though a dyneema-blend halyard (XLS Extra or Sta-Set X) is a nice upgrade with much less stretch for only a little more money.

You might want to check your local West Marine's clearance section. The one here in Seattle is closing out some pre-spliced 5/16" x 70' halyards for a good price. That is probably a little long for your boat, but you can cut off the tail and use it for other purposes (like a preventer).
10-23-2013 12:19 PM
rhr1956
Re: Optimal halyard length?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericb760 View Post
Looks like either someone's going up or the mast is coming down. One of you suggested replacing the sheaves along with the halyard. I think this sounds prudent. Also, in this thread and in others I searched for, the conventional wisdom seems to be to eliminate the wire leads altogether. I guess that this was how it was done in the 70's but no longer? Anyways, I was mildly surprised at the cost of roughly 70 feet of Sta-Set. Heck, I can throw in new color coordinated jib sheets at this price! While I will eventually lead the lines to the cockpit, I've read where some sailing purists prefer to tie of at the mast? Any real world experience one way or the other?
Eric,
They used the wire halyards back in the day because it didn't stretch. With the advances in rope making technology, the wire became obsolete. They are using the high-tech stuff nowadays to replace the SS wire used for lifelines!
10-23-2013 03:02 AM
ericb760
Re: Optimal halyard length?

Quote:
Originally Posted by overbored View Post
Your sheaves may just need some cleaning an lube but if they do need replacing ,these are the best
Zephyrwerks - The Sheave Factory
Bookmarked for later. Thanks...
10-23-2013 02:51 AM
overbored
Re: Optimal halyard length?

Your sheaves may just need some cleaning an lube but if they do need replacing ,these are the best
Zephyrwerks - The Sheave Factory
10-23-2013 01:41 AM
ericb760
Re: Optimal halyard length?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
Another vote for simply switching to rope that will pass over the sheaves you've got (unless you've got reason to believe there's a problem with them otherwise). You could make them long enough to run back eventually, though that will leave a bigger coil at the mast in the meantime.

If your reef lines are at the mast/gooseneck area then there's not a lot of point in running the halyard back, esp if you sail alone much of the time.. So to make leading aft effective you'll be best to lead the reefs and the halyard aft at the same time. If you do have at least one helpful crew then you can work around having the halyard in the cockpit and the reef lines at the mast, esp if you have some sort of self steering to help as well.

The fact that the wire makes it to the winch itself is more about being bad news for the winch drum than anything else.. you can cut the wire short, recrimp the eye and shackle as long as the rope tail is still long enough to reach.. but I'd get rid of the rope/wire combos in any case.. no need nowadays, and you'll avoid bleeding from jaggers now and then.

With all rope halyards, you can forego any sort of shackle and tie the halyard on, with extra length you can shorten it many times in the event of chafe - and no heavy shackle to smack you upside the head if it gets away on you..
My reason for potentially replacing the sheaves is this: Several weeks ago I was crewing in a race onboard a new Colgate 26. Someone got the main halyard tangled on a winch so I went forward to release tension on it. Based on the tension in my own sail hoists I grabbed the halyard expecting a struggle. To my surprise I was able to hoist the sail effortlessly, which leads me to believe that my own sheaves have probably seen better days. As for reefing lines, I have all the hardware in place but no lines. I've contemplated using 550 paracord to rig a reefing system up temporarily. I think I'm going to take advantage of how cheap Sta-Set is at the moment (eBay has it for less than .50 per foot), splurge, and replace all running rigging, leaving out the wire halyards. I have a number of spare snap shackles that came with the boat that I can use as well.
10-23-2013 01:18 AM
Faster
Re: Optimal halyard length?

Another vote for simply switching to rope that will pass over the sheaves you've got (unless you've got reason to believe there's a problem with them otherwise). You could make them long enough to run back eventually, though that will leave a bigger coil at the mast in the meantime.

If your reef lines are at the mast/gooseneck area then there's not a lot of point in running the halyard back, esp if you sail alone much of the time.. So to make leading aft effective you'll be best to lead the reefs and the halyard aft at the same time. If you do have at least one helpful crew then you can work around having the halyard in the cockpit and the reef lines at the mast, esp if you have some sort of self steering to help as well.

The fact that the wire makes it to the winch itself is more about being bad news for the winch drum than anything else.. you can cut the wire short, recrimp the eye and shackle as long as the rope tail is still long enough to reach.. but I'd get rid of the rope/wire combos in any case.. no need nowadays, and you'll avoid bleeding from jaggers now and then.

With all rope halyards, you can forego any sort of shackle and tie the halyard on, with extra length you can shorten it many times in the event of chafe - and no heavy shackle to smack you upside the head if it gets away on you..
10-22-2013 11:30 PM
jimgo
Re: Optimal halyard length?

That's partly personal preference, and partly how you expect to use the boat. If you're going to be sailing in a lot of shifting conditions where you'll be tying in reefs, and if your reefing lines aren't lead aft, then it may be easier to keep the main halyard at the mast. By contrast, if you're going to be doing a lot of single handing, and if getting forward to drop the main while alone is going to cause you problems, then you might want to run the halyard back to the cabin.
10-22-2013 11:18 PM
ericb760
Re: Optimal halyard length?

Looks like either someone's going up or the mast is coming down. One of you suggested replacing the sheaves along with the halyard. I think this sounds prudent. Also, in this thread and in others I searched for, the conventional wisdom seems to be to eliminate the wire leads altogether. I guess that this was how it was done in the 70's but no longer? Anyways, I was mildly surprised at the cost of roughly 70 feet of Sta-Set. Heck, I can throw in new color coordinated jib sheets at this price! While I will eventually lead the lines to the cockpit, I've read where some sailing purists prefer to tie of at the mast? Any real world experience one way or the other?
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