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1975 Newport 28
1986 Hunter 31
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I've got a 1986 Hunter 31, and I'm also 65, and hauling up the main is work, even with a winch assist. I was trying to think of ways to get a mechanical advantage of some sort -- maybe an electric winch of some sort to pull it up -- when I got the idea to set up a double block to give me a 2:1 advantage hauling it up. It would mean twice as much halyard, but it'd be a lot easier to haul up.

This is what I thought of: First, put a downhaul on the main halyard just in case. Second, mount a single block on the peak of the mainsail where the halyard would normally go. Third, mount a single block on the halyard. Attach the a line (this will become the new halyard) to the bottom of the halyard block, and run the new halyard down through the mainsail block and back up over the block hanging from the old halyard. Fourth, hoist away on the old halyard, feeding enough new halyard through the blocks to run the old halyard to the very top. Cleat the old halyard off at the mast base somewhere.

Now there's a single block at the top of the mast, held up by the old halyard, with a new halyard affixed to the bottom of the block, and running down to the block attached to the mainsail, though it, and back up and over the block at the masthead and back down to the deck. (Maybe I should make a drawing and post it.)

In the end, there's just a block at the top of the mast, a block at the bottom , and the fall running from the upper block down through the mainsail block and back up and over the masthead block and down to the deck. It would give me twice the mechanical advantage hosting the main at the cost of twice as much line to coil. It would probably be faster for me too, because when I get to that last ten feet or so of the main, I have to crank like crazy and it goes up inches at a time.

Aside from the complexity and extra line, have I overlooked any safety issues?
 

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An electric right angle cordless drill and a winch bit = electric winch. I think the extra friction from a block and tackle system might increase the difficulty of getting the sail back down.

 

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2:1 halyards are common. They are almost universal on multihulls. Your proposed system is a bit more complicated. Most just terminate the halyard up at the masthead, drop the halyard down to a block attached to the head of the mainsail, then back up like normal, over the masthead sheave, and down to the winch (cleat, clutch, or whatever is normal on your boat).

If you don't have a termination on the masthead for a halyard end, this may be easy to create with a U-bolt or similar.

They halve the effort for raising, as well as reduce by 25% the compression load on the mast, but they are twice as much line to handle.

There are no safety issues with this.

Mark
 

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Catamarans have a 2:1 halyard system (they need everything to be 2, twin, double... etc ... ;) )

So try it on your boat. Remember, 2:1 is NOT 2:1 Friction through the bocks add a huge load. Even with very expensive blocks you might only get 1.5:1 if you're lucky!

(Catamaran owners will disagree and say theirs is perfect!)
 

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How is the end of the halyard being fixed to the top of the mast
Are you asking me or the OP? The OP's idea is to fix the halyard at the base of a block hauled up to the masthead with the old halyard. (I'm assuming he means to use a becket block). Our masthead has a clevis pin specifically for fixing the halyard end.

Mark
 

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Are you asking me or the OP? The OP's idea is to fix the halyard at the base of a block hauled up to the masthead with the old halyard. (I'm assuming he means to use a becket block). Our masthead has a clevis pin specifically for fixing the halyard end.

Mark
I assumed there was a halyard fixed to the top of the mast and a block fixed to the top of the sail.
If so, my question is how is the end/termination of the halyard being made at the top

Or...I am way off base/confused here
:)
 

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From the OP's description it would seem the he would start with a becket block. 8569_harken_hk405_16mm_fixed_single_becket.jpg 8631_harken_hk341_29mm_carbo_single_swivel_becket_1.jpg Either Swivel or fixed. The usual halyard would be connected to the top fitting and the secondary halyard would be connected to the becket.
The secondary halyard would lead down and go through a normal block connected to the sail peak. 8630_harken_hk340_29mm_carbo_single_swivel_1.jpg
It would lead back up and through the sheave of the top block and down again. Then the top block would be hauled up to the masthead.
If you are hauling from the base of the mast it would probably be fine. If you have a line back to cockpit setup, you have just lost it.
The last place that you want something to go wrong is at the masthead. A jam or twist would not be fun.

gary
 

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I did this for a test. we have two main halyards so we attached the shackles to gather and hoisted the ends to the top while holding a loop on the other halyard which is attached to the head of the sail with a snack block . this gave us 2:1 on the halyard and it is easier to hoist but you have a lot of line to hoist and in the end we decided that is what the winches are for. ddi not like that much line in the cockpit and the potential for more things to go wrong
 

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I assumed there was a halyard fixed to the top of the mast and a block fixed to the top of the sail.
If so, my question is how is the end/termination of the halyard being made at the top

Or...I am way off base/confused here
:)
Yes, that is how it works. In our case, I put an eye splice on the end of the halyard. The masthead truck containing the sheave extends forward a bit with a clevis pin passing through it. The eye is captured by the pin. A knot would also work there, but weaken the halyard accordingly.

Mark
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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I don't see anything inherently wrong with switching to 2:1 on the halyard, other than the added friction and the added length of line to be dealt with. I do think that the proposed method makes no sense is likely to be seriously problematic in terms of 1) getting twists between the falls of the halyard creating enormous friction, 2) having the original halyard prematurely fail where it passes over the sheave since it will need to be highly tensioned and will remain in a single position 24:7, and 2) even more significantly, the collection of blocks, splices, shackles potentially would eliminate the ability of the mainsail to be fully hoisted and/or the luff stretched properly in breezy conditions.

The easier and probably the same cost solution would be to attach the fixed end of the new halyard to the base of the mast crane and then use the normal in mast sheave. Granted, that would require sending someone to the masthead (or removing the mast) and maybe adding a hole in the crane, but that is probably around the same price as adding a heavy duty enough low friction block at the masthead. In return that would reduce the potential for issue one and would prevent the issues 2 and 3.

Based on the few numbers that I have seen, low friction (roller or ball bearing) blocks at a 180 deg. turn add roughly 5% of the load in friction per block at their safe working load. That being the case, and the blocks ideally not being loaded to their safe working load, I would think that you will end up with a net mechanical advantage in a range around 1.85:1 to1.95:1. That should cut the line load down significantly.

Additionally, you might consider switching to the low friction slugs which have come on the market in the past few years. They greatly reduce the friction at the existing mast track. They are not cheap, but they cost a small percentage of the cost of a low friction track system.

Jeff
 

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Hey,

My new-to-me boat came with a powered winch for the main halyard (and powered winches for the mainsail - german style main sheet). I'll never go back to manually cranking up a mainsail.

My suggestion is to try the powered route (either with an winchwrite or some other battery powered drill type thing) or by going directly to a powered winch.

Barry
 

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Hey,

My new-to-me boat came with a powered winch for the main halyard (and powered winches for the mainsail - german style main sheet). I'll never go back to manually cranking up a mainsail.

My suggestion is to try the powered route (either with an winchwrite or some other battery powered drill type thing) or by going directly to a powered winch.

Barry
I use a drill with winch bit... easy. Have to remember to recharge batts.
 

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The ultimate is to change out the halyard winch and then use the winch bit like Minnie and Sander are suggesting.
I changed out my Barrient 17 for a Harken 32.... World of difference. Use one of the new light weight battery powered drills and the bit and you will be a happy camper.
 

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The mainsail on a Hunter 31 is not a very big sail. I would be inclined to investigate why it is difficult to hoist. Cleaning and lubricating the mast track would be a good start, and you can also consider upgrading the sliders.

After you have reduced the friction as much as possible, if it is still too difficult to hoist you should look at power assist options such as the Wincher others have mentioned, or even upgrading to a power winch.

Sent from my SM-G981W using Tapatalk
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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The mainsail on a Hunter 31 is not a very big sail. I would be inclined to investigate why it is difficult to hoist. Cleaning and lubricating the mast track would be a good start, and you can also consider upgrading the sliders.
^^^^^^^What he said!
 

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Yes, try the simple cheap things first. New slides and a good shot of McLube should do wonders. Or if still a bit too much work for you, one of those track systems that fit in the existing mast slot will be even better. No reason you should power to raise the main on a boat that size.
 
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