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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Retrieving Main Halyard from top of Mast?
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Thread: Retrieving Main Halyard from top of Mast? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-22-2012 09:14 PM
BDFletch
Re: Retrieving Main Halyard from top of Mast?

I was lucky, rear stay to top of mast helped me turn a dream into reality!!!

Our 28' Alerion Express has a ~40' mast, fixed keel and was initially rigged with portable davit at the boat ramp. When sailing last week the main sail came down (failed shackle or install error) leaving the halyard at the top of the mast. Thought about using a chair lift but the jib is on a roller furling so that was going to be a lot of work and being fractional rigged reaching the top of the mast was still going to be challenge. No ladder telephone poles were at the ramp and the marina never called back about allowing us to walk on top of their travel lift so I could reach out for the dangeling halyard end via pole hook.
I slept on problem and dreamed about a way to get to the halyard without climbing or de-rigging. The rear (stern/aft) stay just happened to go to the top of the mast and was attached to a bracket protruding about 8-10" towards the rear of the boat. I stopped at the big-box store for cheap PVC (.79ea) and couplings (1.59ea). I slit 6 - 8' by 1/2" PVC pipes to the end except one and a half dozen coupling's length wise. I started with a four foot length of PVC (easier to get started up the stay while standing on the stern of the boat) and attached a 45 degree fitting, the end of this four foot length was not slit all the way by a couple of inches, so the rear stay cable does not go all the way through this one length of PVC. Attached a six to eight inch length of unslit PVC on the other end of the 45 degree coupling. I fashioned a hook from a metal coat hanger (getting harded to find) and installed it into the 6-8" PVC piece securing with duct tape. I then slid a total of 4 slit 8' pipes up the rear stay attaching each to another with the slit couplers. I duct taped each fitting snuggly in place (both horizontally and vertically) as I advanced the contraption up the stay eight feet at a time. I then twisted the whole assembly until I snagged the halyard with the hanger hook. With the halyard snagged (yea!!!) I slowly un-assembled the PVC a length at a time to get it all apart and down along with the halyard. Cost ~$20 for pipe and couplings (threw away after use), plus duct tape, hack saw and/or PVC cutting tool.
07-14-2008 12:00 AM
jimmiebuchanan Just two days ago I was swapping out my main halyard and right as I was about to attach the new wire to the lead wire the lead slipped out of my hand and was pulled all the way to the top of the mast. I was so pissed off that I just spit on my hands and free climbed the 35 feet up until I was able to grab the halyard with my teeth and slide back down. Once I got back to the deck and realized what I had just done my knees felt very weak and shaky. I realized some people at the marina had been watching and I pretended that it was no big deal, but I was actually pretty shakey and went down in the cabin ASAP to calm down. Not going to win the safety award, but hey, I got it.
07-13-2008 09:42 PM
sailingdog I doubt it...probably got scared off by all the horror stories.
07-13-2008 11:11 AM
JohnBoelte So, did the OP ever get his halyard down?
07-12-2008 09:54 PM
dp02840 hate to tell you, you own a boat and you should get comfortable with going up and down the halyards to do regular maintenance. I've had this problem before and 90% of the time it's human error. The only way to not have this happen in the future is to install another halyard for backup or do regular maintenance on your halyards. IE check the knots for fraying,shackles from rusting. Salt water is your enemy in this situation. GOOD LUCK!
04-14-2008 08:33 PM
sailingdog Simon-

Aluminum isn't magnetic... Might help on a steel mast...
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
You could just put Magnets in your shoes, that would help.
04-13-2008 03:52 PM
luckytexan I seen a guy with the same problem at the marina one day and he was fishing for it with a long pole. What size boat do you have? this was a C22 or 25 and we just walked it down to a double slip that was empty tied it up loose and tossed a rope thru the spreaders, I pulled on the rope and brought the mast close enough to snag it with a boat hook.
Might have been tough if the swing keel wasn't up but maybe not. I had a heck of a lot of leverage with the rope. Just a thought! Sometimes the simple plan ya know?
04-12-2008 06:17 PM
Stillraining Must be a Southern Hemisphere Phenomena...
04-12-2008 06:05 PM
SimonV
Quote:
Originally Posted by MABON01 View Post
How about just using gaffs (climbing gear in the tree and utility business); they would work great on a wood mast, though hell to get a bite on an aluminum one.
You could just put Magnets in your shoes, that would help.
04-12-2008 05:26 PM
SawWhet
Main Halyard from top of mast

I have done this twice (lost the main halyard) First time at anchor second under way.Both halyards run through the mast head. I used the jib halyard
I attached a light line to halyard and waded a ball of duct tape--sticky side up on to the jib halyard where the light line was attached ,hoisted up mast and the tape actually stuck to the main halyard shackle-lowew away.
Worked great
The next time iused a similar set up except I fasened a coar hanger to retreaving line ,this also worked
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