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post #1 of 9 Old 06-09-2016 Thread Starter
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Mainsail halyard replacement

My 27' still has the wire to rope mainsail halyard and I was wondering if anyone had replaced theirs with all rope line and if so what size rope did you use?

I would have asked on the yahoo group but yahoo hates me and hardly ever lets me login.
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: Mainsail halyard replacement

Typically, you'd replace the halyard with the size of the rope tail from the old halyard.

Note: Many people will tell you that using regular rope on a wire halyard sheave at the masthead will result in damage to the rope and premature failure. The sheave could have sharp burrs from the wire cutting into it, also the "V" in the sheave for the wire stresses and deforms the core of the new rope halyard.

I'm not saying this isn't true, but after running Sta-Set and VPC rope halyards over the wire sheaves on my Pearson 30, I had no issues and have sailed many miles.

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post #3 of 9 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: Mainsail halyard replacement

The main criteria for the line used for the halyard is stretch. While some say it's OK to use standard double braid, I think you need at least a low stretch mid-tech line. I've replaced wire/line halyards with all line twice. Once on my previous 30-footer with high-tech parallel core line and on my current 33-footer with mid-tech VPC. I do note a bit of stretch with the VPC but not enough to be a problem. As to size, I would guess either 3/8 mid-tech or 5/16 high-tech for a 27-footer.

Note in neither case did I bother changing the sheaves on the top of the mast. Like Alex_MD, I've had no problems.
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: Mainsail halyard replacement

I, too, have had success using New England Rope VPC as a halyard for the mainsail. It would be a good fit for your boat. Note, however, that the "core to core" splice is challenging. Alternatively I've attached the shackle for the mainsail with a buntline hitch. It's simple and effective.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: Mainsail halyard replacement

You really do need to switch the sheave at the top of the mast. At a minimum the one you currently have simply won't fit line, at worst it could (likely) have a burr that will make short work of any line you put there. I would recommend MaxBraid Plus. It's a polyester cover with a dyneema core so it will have about the same stretch as the wire, but be far lighter and more comfortable in the hand. Plus it's a snap to splice unlike double braid polyester, which is a real pain.

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post #6 of 9 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: Mainsail halyard replacement

I replaced my wire halyards with line. I also switched them from external to internal at the same time.

I did replaces the sheaves, but that was more so they could accommodate the slightly larger line.

I used 1/4" Control DPX. You could probably use 5/16". I like it, but I'm a relative novice and don't have experience with a lot of different lines.

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post #7 of 9 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: Mainsail halyard replacement

Why in the world would a 27 footer have a wire halyard? Crackers.

I just replaced my main halyard with new double braid. 12mm breaking strength is 3,700 kgs... about 7,000 pounds. $1.15 per foot.

The streatch is minimal. The cost affordable.
Paying $6 per FOOT for dynema (etc) is imho stupidity.

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post #8 of 9 Old 06-09-2016
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Re: Mainsail halyard replacement

Let's see, sailed from CA to Tahiti and back to Hawaii and around Hawaii for 10 years with combo rope/wire mast head sheaves without a problem. AFAIK the boat is still sailing with those rope/wire sheaves and rope halyards more than 40 years, two additional cruises to SoPac, and almost daily use for a number of years taking out charters. Sailed current boat around SF Bay and to Hawaii, likewise with rope/wire mast head sheaves, with no issues. Probably a good idea to have a look at the sheaves to be sure there are no burrs but haven't seen any problem despite 45 years of service, most of it with wire/rope halyards, on current boat.

I don't like StaSet X halyards because they get quite stiff in use. Replaced the StaSet X main halyard with Dyneema core/Dacron outer shell line and really like it. The very low stretch really is appreciated especiallly when climbing the mast with the ATN Mast Climber. The jib halyard is plain old double braid but works fine with the roller furling headstay. Same for the spinnaker halyard where I like a little stretch. Back up external halyard is VPC which has a nice 'hand' but haven't tried hoisting sails or climbing with it.

Last edited by roverhi; 06-09-2016 at 05:25 PM.
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-13-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Mainsail halyard replacement

Thanks for all of the suggestions!
I replaced the halyard this past weekend with staset and it's a little bit larger size than it needed to be but I had already bought the line thinking it would work, I've been sailing less than a year so I'm a noob, so right now it has 7/16 size line and I'm going to keep an eye on it to watch for chaffing and if it does start chaffing bad then I'll replace it with 3/8 which is the size that was on the rope end of the line.
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