Halyards getting caught up on staysail fitting - SailNet Community
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Halyards getting caught up on staysail fitting

Hey folks,

I have a staysail fitting about 2/3 up my mast. I'm sure it has a fancy name but I don't know what it is. Anyway, that fitting is almost 100% successful at catching one or more of my halyards at some point during a sail. What I mean is that the two halyards running down the aft side of the mast will, at some point when they are slack (coming about, for example), flip around to the front of the mast and get caught on the fitting. This sometimes inhibits raising a sail, sometimes lowering a sail, and today cost me an extra 20 minutes putting away the boat because I had one halyard trapped from one direction and the other halyard trapped from the other direction, and both of them were interfering with other rigging.

I'm considering--strongly--just removing that fitting, since I don't own a staysail and the corresponding deck fitting is not even installed at the moment. But I'm willing to entertain other ideas if there is a solution. Anyone dealing with this problem? I do recognize that I may be making some awful mistake with my line handling, but it seems to happen so easily under very benign conditions.
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Re: Halyards getting caught up on staysail fitting

I don't think that your halyards should be flapping all around; they should be taught holding the sails up.
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Re: Halyards getting caught up on staysail fitting

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Originally Posted by paulinnanaimo View Post
I don't think that your halyards should be flapping all around; they should be taught holding the sails up.
True, but at some point they are slack. They can't always be taut. For example, this problem sometimes happens when I'm raising the main, and the main is luffing.

Now that I think about it, I keep my main halyard tied to the head of the sail at all times, so I can't really keep it taut when the sail is down (because if I tension the halyard then the sail starts to rise in the track). I did this for simplicity's sake, but maybe it contributes to the problem.

I was looking for a solution involving a fitting to keep the lines from snagging, but maybe I could change the way I handle the halyards also.
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Re: Halyards getting caught up on staysail fitting

Raising a sail with external halyards or any time there is little to no tension on it, there is the tendency for them to hook around anything possible. You shouldn't have any problem once the sail is up and the halyard properly tensioned, however. Make sure the halyard is clear when you begin hoisting the sail and you should be okay. If you aren't using the fitting, you could remove it. Another solution would be to install pad eyes or line guides on the mast near the fitting. Back in the good old days of wooden masts they made bronze eyes for keeping the halyards and lines in position.

If you are leaving the halyard attached to the sail when you are gone, would be willing to bet your slip mates are pissed at you. Nothing more annoying than improperly secured halyards slapping against masts when the wind is up.
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Last edited by roverhi; 2 Weeks Ago at 10:06 PM.
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Re: Halyards getting caught up on staysail fitting

Halyards should be disconnected when not in use so that they do not flop around. When the mainsail, or any sail, is lowered; the halyard is fastened to a strong point and pulled taught.
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Re: Halyards getting caught up on staysail fitting

Your halyards should never be loose enough to wrap around anything when the sail is up. If you are pulling the sail up, just step away from the mast a step or two to keep the halyard clear until it is time to put it on the winch to crank the halyard (jib or main) tight the last foot or so. Then it should not ever be loose enough to wrap around anything either.
As others have mentioned, you should disconnect all your halyards from your sails when not sailing and keep them tight. Slack halyards at anytime are just not good seamanship.

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Re: Halyards getting caught up on staysail fitting

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
If you are leaving the halyard attached to the sail when you are gone, would be willing to bet your slip mates are pissed at you.
When I have the sail cover on, the head is captured so I can tension the halyard, and I also use a bungee to pull both (main and spare) out towards the shrouds.
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Re: Halyards getting caught up on staysail fitting

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Your halyards should never be loose enough to wrap around anything when the sail is up.
As I think through this, it seems to me that my problem mostly comes when lowering the sail. I'm usually feeding the halyard with one hand and gathering the sail with the other. Sometimes I have to let go of the halyard and put two hands on the sail, for example to put a tie on so it's not spilling all over the deck (the end of the halyard is secured so no chance of losing it).

At any rate, I know that when everything is set, the halyards should be tight, but in transition there will be some slack and it's not taking much to get wrapped on that fitting. And ONLY that fitting.
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Re: Halyards getting caught up on staysail fitting

If you can't outwit the halyards then perhaps you should just remove the unused fitting. Keep any hardware etc. as you may want to re-install it some day.
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Re: Halyards getting caught up on staysail fitting

A few things for you to consider

1 - if you want to leave the halyard attached to the main when it is lowered, run the halyard from the head of the sail *down* to a cleat, then up. Now when you tension the halyard it pulls the head of the sail down instead of up. I do this anytime I choose to leave the halyard attached.

2 - when lowering the sail, dont "feed" the halyard. The sail should come down by itself most of the time. If you need to "feed" the halyard to get the main down you probably need to lube or clean the main sail track. If, for whatever reason, you the sail does not come down install a down haul so that you can keep the halyard taught as you lower it.
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