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Discussion Starter #1
Sailors,
Just installed a new mainsail. Looks and feels great! Problem is I cannot haul it high enough to get the luff snug. Appears to me the 8" or so of halyard eye splice at the sail head is jamming in the masthead sheave.

Using a workaround with light line I got the sail head to 3" below the masthead sheave. At this point the luff is snug.

Any thoughts on how to modify my halyard to get the sail head high enough?

Does your halyard eye splice turn through your masthead sheave?

Thanks!

Lavery
s/v Polar Bear
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Halyard Unhungup

Brilliant! Elegant!
Thank you knothead - I wish I had thought of that but I am too caught up inside the box.
Simple and effective is best.

I'm thinking a good old bowline with the bitter end whipped down to the standing part.

When I use a workaround and get the luff snug I am left with only a few inches between headboard and masthead. Hopefully I can fit it all in. The knot idea is my first choice to try. I'll post results after my next run to the boat.

Thanks,
 

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There are better knots than the bowline. The one I showed above is called a halyard knot. Some people prefer the buntline hitch. Which is the same knot as a four-in-hand that you use for your necktie. Either of those will take up less room and are stronger than the bowline.
 

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There are better knots than the bowline. The one I showed above is called a halyard knot. Some people prefer the buntline hitch. Which is the same knot as a four-in-hand that you use for your necktie. Either of those will take up less room and are stronger than the bowline.
ISTM any of those would be appropriate if you were tying to a shackle, but if you're tying directly to the head of your sail, as I do, and you want to remove the halyard from the sail, as I do, those knots would be tougher to untie than a bowline, which un-ties fairly easily when not under load.

The shackle on our main halyard popped off (actually, the splice failed) when the PO owned the boat, and we've yet to replace the (rather tired) halyard. So, in the mean-time, I secure it with a bowline.

To the OP: Are you certain your new main is correctly sized? ISTM it shouldn't be going that high up--especially when brand new. What's going to happen when the luff stretches over the years?

Jim
 

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I guess with you in Alaska, it's not easy to send it back to get the sail recut, and the sailmaker probably didn't measure your specific boat but went with the specs from the plans. If the shortened attachment for the halyard works, you'll have added sail area for the Admiralty Island drifting match. If it's any consolation, we had a similar problem with a jib that was too long in the luff. The sailmaker was less than 50 miles away, didn't measure, and "fixed" it when I returned it to him myself by attaching a smaller snap shackle at the tack. The smaller shackle distorted from the strain and would take half a minute to open or close, using pliers. That's the last sail we bought from them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
All Good Thoughts

Paulk,
You are right on target about the distances and method of measurement.

Distances: Thousands of miles to the sailmaker. I even have to drive 300 miles just to get to the boat.

Method of measurement: from plans, not actual measurement on the boat.

The sailmaker has a good reputation so hopefully this will all work out. Also, I need to take a closer look at what is actually going on topside. I see a trip up the mast in my near future.

SEMIjim, knothead,
I'll check out the knots suggested. I had not thought about going shackleless but it makes sense if the dimensions are tight. Also very good point about stretch over the years. If the dimensions are that tight I will have another conversation with my sailmaker as soon as I am sure what is going on at the sheave.

Thanks!
 

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Lavery, do you have a photo of the splice? 8" is probably longer than it really needs to be. If it's the tucked part of the splice that's jamming, that might indicate that the core or cover wasn't properly tapered before being tucked.

Instead of putting a knot in it, consider an eye splice and a shackle. The eyes on my halyards are about an inch in length, not counting the tucked part, which isn't much thicker than the unspliced line.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
More Good Info!

Adam Lein,
Thank you for describing your halyard eye and splice. That kind of comparison is exactly what I need right now to understand the range of possibilities at the masthead. It's possible that if I get the splice sized properly I'll get the clearance I need.

Speaking of which, can you approximate just how much clearance you have between headboard and sheave with the luff snug?

knothead,
It sounds to me like you sent a picture or something of the knots you described. If so, what is the secret to downloading them?

Thanks,
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Cool Knot Site

knothead,
I got the buntline link. The Grog Animated Knot site is very clear.

I did not get a link for the halyard knot however. I will look it up in my knot book.

Thanks.

Adam Lein,
I talked to a rigger today. Now I understand better what you meant by the "tucked" part. My boat specifies 3/8" for the halyard but I had 1/2". The tucked part did not fit in the sheave. The rigger says if the sheave accepted the untucked part of the 1/2" line, then it will accept the tucked part of the new 3/8" line. I'll install a proper 3/8" halyard this weekend and see what happens.

Thanks all for your comments and suggestions.
 

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You could also try the stopper ball technique that is shown in this post. The Farr 40 guys use it to reduce weight up the mast and even the Wayfarer guys use it for simplicity. Knothead and I had a similar chat a while back.

I was going to use it on Eclipse but ended up splicing in a shackle as the PO bought a main that is 1-1/2' short of the mast head so space was not an issue.
 

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You could also try the stopper ball technique that is shown in this post.
I don't think I'd be comfortable with that. If you should find yourself in a situation where the tension was let off the main for some reason (say, oh, somebody forgot to put the top batten in, so it had to be dropped again--while under way, or sombody else got confused and when the instruction was given to drop the genoa following raising the chute, they instead released the main's clutch) and the head was up there flogging in the wind, I could see that popping off. Then the command is given to re-raise the main and bye-bye halyard. It won't go through the sheave, but getting it down quickly would be another story.

I think I'll stick with my good ol' tried-and-true bowline ;)

Jim
 

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Speaking of which, can you approximate just how much clearance you have between headboard and sheave with the luff snug?
Well, I hesitate here. First off, my halyard is half rope, half wire, and the wire half is the part that shackles to the headboard. My advice was experience with eye splices elsewhere. Also, my main is pretty old and the luff never really gets "snug". But when it's absolutely as high as ever we can pull it, it appears, from my vantage point on the deck (where it's hard to get a sense of scale) to be about one and a half times the height of the headboard.
 

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Also, my main is pretty old and the luff never really gets "snug". But when it's absolutely as high as ever we can pull it, ...
Why can't you get your luff tight? ISTM you either get it tight or run out of mast. You say you're not running out of mast, so...?

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Many Solutions

Patrick Rea,
Well don't that beat all! That stopper ball technique that you pointed me to looks to be the most compact. It looks like it would work well in the case of very little clearance between the headboard and masthead sheave.

I agree with SEMIJim that it looks like it might shake loose but I have several holes in my headboard that might allow me to secure the end.

I feel well armed now with a variety of solutions to my sail raising problem. My first choice is to replace the 1/2" halyard with a 3/8" halyard as specified by the manufacturer. If that does not work I have more techniques to try.

Thanks,
 

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Why can't you get your luff tight? ISTM you either get it tight or run out of mast. You say you're not running out of mast, so...
Well that's a good question. While it's a bit OT for this thread, I think it's partly the fact that we don't have a winch for the halyard, and partly the fact that the sail material has been stretched more than the cable that runs through the luff. The halyard goes from being easy to hoist to very very hard, then we jump it a few times, and when there's no more there's no more and there's still some scalloping. We have an unused main that we haven't put on yet (came with the boat) and eventually will try it out.
 
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