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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.

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Old 07-02-2004
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wallm is on a distinguished road
Here''''s another what should

I recently completed a rather ill fated charter from Ft. Lauderdale to the Abacos. I will start by admitting my own culpability in the following scenario. We had to motor across the Gulf Stream and all the way out to our first anchorage on the Little Bahamas Bank. We managed to run aground on the way into the anchorage (we were going in on the correct range. There has been a depth change since the last guidebook publication. That''s a different story). Some Bahamian fishermen came by and we attached the main halyard to their boat to get some heel. Since we had not had a chance to have the main up we had not noticed that the charter company sent us out with the jam cleat open and no stopper knot in the cockpit end of the main halyard. So you can guess what happened. The fishermen pulled away and the entire halyard went off with them! So, we motorsailed with just a genoa for the next few days. We could not get to a place to get the main halyard worked on. So, this episode brings up several points, most of which I do not want to discuss. However, I have been wondering what one would do if one''s main halyard were to break and pull through. Most mast assenders seem to attach to the main halyard (which by definition is not an option in this problem) or to a spinnaker halyard (which we did not have). Even if I could have gone up the mast I am not sure what I would have done. I do not know that I would have known how to drop the halyard through the mast and fish it out of the opening at the bottom. Any thoughts (other than check the jam cleat and stopper knot next time or get Dodge''s 2004 Guidebook which mentions the new depth of the anchorage instead of using the 2001 version).
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Old 07-02-2004
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aflanigan is on a distinguished road
Here''''s another what should

You''ve probably beat yourself over the head mentally enough over this episode already, you don''t really need us to do it for you.

My main thought is that the one great advantage an auxiliary sailboat enjoys is that it always carries a backup propulsion system. Be sure when you leave port to make sure both systems are in good condition. If you''re going to be motoring mostly, you still need to be sure the sailing gear is in working order and set up to function properly should you suddenly need it. Run the sails up before you leave or when you first slip the dock or hook just to be sure you can get it up and everything seems in order. If you want to be fastidious (and you probably should if you''re heading offshore), you can prepare a predeparture checklist that includes items like "make sure stopper knots are on sheet ends" and "check for the presence of at least one spare halyard", or "check for the presence of spare lines" (for use as running or standing rigging in an emergency).

Allen Flanigan
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Old 07-03-2004
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Here''''s another what should

Everyone has 20-20 hindsight. But what would one do if the halyrd was lost? If it were my privately owned boat, and I was planning on extensive cruising, I would probably rig and leave in, a messenger. It would need to be generic in nature, in that it is not specific to a particular halyard, which would make it a bit tricky depending on the masthead sheeves and the ability to route whatever halyard you wanted through the proper one.

If you were chartering, you are lost if you do not have the minimal gear needed to rig a temporary halyard. You would need a block (A good sized snatch block will do), lashing, and a length of line for the halyard, not to mention a methode to get to the masthead. Go aloft, rig your block near the masthead, lashing it to the both the backstay and the mast, being mindful of chafe. Reeve your temporary halyard through, leaving it outside the mast. Now you will have the additional windage of the outside halyard and the additional weight aloft. But then again, this is a jury rig to get you through until you can get to port and achieve a proper repair.
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