Main halyard tension, no winch - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 16 Old 09-20-2011 Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 22
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Main halyard tension, no winch

I have a newly acquired Cal 24 which was previously equipped with a mainsail halyard winch that was removed at some point. I find that it's very difficult to get the sail all the way up unless there's no wind at all (at which time I don't need it of course).

I've done a lot of searching on this and found several suggestions--beyond replacing the winch, which I'll probably do but I'd like to sail and not fix for the rest of this season if at all possible.

The most obvious tactic is sweating it, but the halyard is internal and the distance between where it exits the mast and the cleat is only a few feet, so not enough length to do that effectively. Anyway I apparently am not strong enough to do it.

The best short term solutions I've seen are using a trucker's hitch or a handy billy. What I haven't seen discussed anywhere though is that you have to get the sail most of the way up, and then try to tie the knot or attach another line while the halyard is under pressure already. I've thought of cleating the halyard at that point and then tying another fixed line to it with a rolling hitch to hold tension while I work on the free end, but that's now a lot of moving parts and I know these things tend to be harder to actually do than to think about. I'm going to try it anyway to see how it works out, but any ideas or alternatives would be greatly appreciated.
alexdz is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 16 Old 09-20-2011
Ajax_MD's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Edgewater/Annapolis
Posts: 4,862
Thanks: 10
Thanked 145 Times in 133 Posts
Rep Power: 11
Send a message via Yahoo to Ajax_MD
Why not just pick up a small winch and install it? They aren't expensive. If not, you could install a cheek block on the mast, so that you can sweat the halyard "up". Maybe changing the direction of effort will help you.

Alacrity, 1981 Tartan 33 #168
Ajax_MD is offline  
post #3 of 16 Old 09-20-2011
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Chicago area
Posts: 113
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 17
Depending on how much you're able to raise the main without the winch, if you have a cunningham rigged perhaps you could tighten the luff sufficiently with it.
imiloa is offline  
post #4 of 16 Old 09-20-2011
Senior Member
jackdale's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Posts: 9,378
Thanks: 36
Thanked 78 Times in 73 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Does the Cal 24 have a downhaul or is the goose neck riveted to the mast?

ISPA Yachtmaster Ocean Instructor Evaluator
Sail Canada Advanced Cruising Instructor
IYT Yachtmaster Coastal Instructor
ASA 201, 203, 204, 205, 206, 214
As I sail, I praise God, and care not. (Luke Foxe)
jackdale is offline  
post #5 of 16 Old 09-20-2011
Senior Member
emoney's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 545
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 10
Adding a block should lighten the load some. As posted above, a mast winch is at the least, not as costly as you might think. Especially if you pick one up "previously owned" via "fleabay", "Craigslist", etc. etc. Good luck.
emoney is offline  
post #6 of 16 Old 09-20-2011 Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 22
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
I should have mentioned that the boom gooseneck is fixed, so no downhaul. I do have a cunningham rigged, but I would need it to make up for the head of the sail being maybe a foot below where it's supposed to be, so not enough of a solution. It's not that I can't get the luff tight, I can't even get it all the way up. Makes for a very ugly main, and a lot more heel than necessary.

As far as the winch I've looked at options for new and used and buying will be no problem, it's taking the time to do the work that I don't want to do now. I traded this boat for a "project" boat I bought a few years ago, not realizing how much of a project it was. I've lived with the frustration of not having the time or inclination to get out there and work on the boat while still paying the yard bill and getting NO use all this time, and right now I just want to go sailing! It may be though that I have to bite the bullet and do the winch anyway.

alexdz is offline  
post #7 of 16 Old 09-20-2011
Senior Member
sailortjk1's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Porter, IN
Posts: 4,647
Thanks: 1
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 16
For now I think I would just point up and flog the sail while quickly rasing it to put as much tension on as I could. I can't see why it would be a foot short on the hoist especially on the size sail of a Cal 24.

Courtney is My Hero

If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most - E.B. White
sailortjk1 is offline  
post #8 of 16 Old 09-20-2011
Senior Member
Faster's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
Posts: 19,488
Thanks: 160
Thanked 587 Times in 558 Posts
Rep Power: 17
The main on a 24 footer shouldn't be difficult to fully hoist. I suspect that there's extra friction in your sailtrack and slug arrangement.. have you tried some lube in the track? Once the sail is properly hoisted it's usually pretty easy to control luff tension with the cunningham.

Sorry to mention the obvious, but.... main sheet off completely, reef lines free to run and vang released??


1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Faster is offline  
post #9 of 16 Old 09-20-2011
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: San Francisco Bay area
Posts: 3,183
Thanks: 9
Thanked 92 Times in 91 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Sounds like a good opportunity to upgrade at the same time, ie bring the main halyard back to the cockpit. You could mount a winch either side of the sliding hatch.

Bristol 31.1, San Francisco Bay
MarkSF is offline  
post #10 of 16 Old 09-20-2011 Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 22
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
I don't know why it's so difficult to hoist either. I used to have a Catalina 27 with no main halyard winch and got that one up fine no problem. Of course that was an external halyard, so I could sweat it (I hope that's the right term) to get it tight.

I do plan on picking up some track lube on the way out this week, that should help. And I do make sure that the sheet and vang are released. Reef lines have yet to be strung.

The other reason I'm hesitating on just installing the winch is because I would like to run it back to the cockpit, so it's a bigger project that just screwing one back on the mast. Although, the threaded holes are still on the mast with screws in them, if I could match the bolt pattern then it wouldn't be any trouble at all and I could move it later...
alexdz is offline  

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Main Halyard Tension tdw Racing 26 08-10-2015 09:31 PM
Main halyard tackle in lieu of winch jcalvinmarks Gear & Maintenance 10 01-13-2011 12:28 PM
Main Halyard Winch philkees Gear & Maintenance 2 12-07-2010 12:17 AM
Halyard Tension on Roller Furling System countdemonet General Discussion (sailing related) 6 06-01-2010 05:02 PM
Should I replace this main halyard winch? theredboat Gear & Maintenance 9 04-22-2010 08:47 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome