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Discussion Starter #1
Twice now, on a high mast ("P" over 38'), I've had the foresail halyard shackle let go, crashing the foresail down onto the deck and into the water, and losing the foresail halyard, the shackle damaged and stuck at the sheave at the top of the mast.

There are "factors" ...

1/ The spinnaker halyard lies against the forestay, way up there. I've re-routed it this year, taking the "standing" part outside the mast - it used to be inside - but I can't reposition the block, way up there, from the deck, it turns out. The block is centered on a U-shaped rail sticking out forward from the mast-head. I had hoped to be able to slide the block on its rail around to the side, but so far: no joy. (The U-shape has a dip, forward, so trying to pull it sideways does not overcome the downward force keeping it in the center of the dip.)

Last year, the furling mechanism clearly snapped against the standing part of the spinnaker halyard, eventually wearing through and parting that halyard. With the spinnaker halyard gone, and this year with it all "outside", the snapping is gone. (Clearly that was bad.)

2/ Some of my sails are too long in the luff (and some not), so the old Harken furling mechanism bangs right up at the top of the forestay with still a little looseness in the sail's luff. I'll deal with this eventually - sailmaker and so forth - but in the meantime I wonder if having virtually no halyard showing above the furling mechanism is bad for it as it furls. The halyard is supposed to be short, according to the Owner's Manual, and there is no wrap-stopper in this system.

3/ I came across a helpful thread here saying to loop both runs of the spinnaker halyard around behind a spreader. I'll try that and hope for enough length of halyard. (Then I have to remember that it's there and handle it appropriately before and after using it ...)

4/ I use a snap shackle at the halyard-furler join, and I think that's because that's the way the boat came. Last year I actually lost the pin, and when I finally retrieved it, I took the pin from a new shackle and put it in - seemed perfect - and that way didn't have to cut the old shackle out of a beautiful spliced loop. But I do wonder why it requires a snap shackle. I attach that halyard basically once a year, and don't need to change it even when changing sails occasionally.

The photo is from when the spinnaker halyard ran inside the mast. I think it illustrates the situation better than words.



I know that's a lot, but if anyone sees any room for improvement in there, please let me know. I have a second foresail halyard, which has rescued the situation, but nonetheless, I have to fix this and stop if from happening.

Thank you.

Charles
 

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Do you use multiple foresails? If not, I would replace the snap shackle for the foresail with a regular screwed down shackle. Even if you do, it would only be a problem if racing. It takes 15 seconds to unscrew. The downside is dropping the pieces.
 

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Alternatively, the spinnaker block could be moved an inch or two off center. It wouldn't make an difference in performance.
 

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That appears to be a home-made spinnaker crane as a standard crane normally has two rings that angle out at 45 degrees from the center-line on either side of the headstay. Two because one normally needs the ability to hoist a new spinnaker before dropping the old one (a "peel"). However, the simplest fix would be to have your sailmaker add a spectra cover to your spinnaker halyard for a couple of feet on either side of the wear location. Frankly, however, it looks like the hoist of the jib is too great and I wonder how the tack is attached to the furling drum at base of the headstay. Also, FYI, adjusting the hoist would solve another problem. That is, your jib halyard should make an angle of no less than 10 degrees from the alignment of the headstay to avoid halyard wraps. This is accomplished by adding a halyard guide just below the halyard block at the mast-head. With this arrangement, the swivel/spindle at the masthead would be lower, reducing, but not eliminationg, chafe, as the halyard will still chafe against the headstay when the spinnaker halyard exit slot is to windward given your crane arrangement. Frankly, I'd replace the masthead crane--Garhaurer will make a proper crane for you very inexpensively--adjust the jib hoist, add a jib halyard guide; and, add spectra covers to both spinnake halyards.

FWIW...
 

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I think I'm confused. Is the problem that the spinn halyard is chafing and breaking or are you catching the jib halyard snap shackle and it releases? I thought the later, but think I may have misunderstood.
 

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Can you turn over the spinnaker bail so that the dip is up? If you can then the halyard will always be on one side or the other.
John
 

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I think that's a bad crane design... it should not be centered, as mentioned already, and it's too long and drops too far...

Modifying that would probably make all your issues go away.. and enable you to go back to an internal halyard run.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all. Great ideas. The Harken furling manual - and it's so old that it comes as poorly type-written sheets, stapled together - does refer to an extra block if required to get the correct jib halyard sheeting angle. I'll review that. I have more to learn about "cranes" for spinnaker halyard blocks. I should just sacrifice the lovely jib halyard splice and remove the snap shackle - one friend and "expert" just ties a bowline, no thimble or splicing, and has always had that work (speaking of "NASA" solutions). I have to document which of my sails are too long and which too short (on the luff) and have them adjusted. (And I could try to understand why that's changed from last year ...)

I don't normally use multiple foresails for our "casual" club racing - and to do so would have to remove the upper part of the furling mechanism, which is not impossible, but a bit of a hassle.

(For clarity: my problem was both with the jib halyard shackle releasing and with wearing through the spinnaker halyard [and that on occasion interfered with furling the foresail].)

Thank you again. I may be back about this!
 

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I'm with Minnewaska:

Why not eliminate the spin shackles? D-shackles won't release.

There is really NO cause to use spin shackles on a furling sail that is probably lowered 1-2 times per year. I don't care for them anywhere but spinakars or jibs on race boats that frequently change head sails (multiple times per day). Otherwise, they make terrible halyard shackles. Never use them anywhere where a suprise disconect is painful. They make sense on a chute, where fast release is important to safety.

Yes, you may drop a few pins. Probably not, not once you learn how to hold them (with a little side force on the pin to hold it in place while threading the sail--haven't dropped one in years). But you'll salvage 2 expensive spin shackles in the trade.

--------------------------

It's probably not a surprise that rock climbers don't even own them and that you don't use them climbing the mast.
 

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From the photo, it looks like the snap shackle on the jib halyard is hitting the forestay. THAT may be your problem. Added to that, the too-long luff you mentioned on your jib means the whole thing isn't pulled tight, so it slops around more than it might otherwise, enabling the stay and the shackle bang against each other on every single wave you hit, or that hits you. That, plus the shock loading of the snap shackle, as the mast whips back and forth. Bang on anything long enough, and it will break. You might want to carefully inspect your forestay around where the shackle's been hitting it too. The spinnaker crane seems to have been designed for a totally external spinnaker halyard. If you simply led the two ends down to the sides of the mast, the block would swivel to be at right angles to the forestay, and the spinnaker halyard(s)might not even touch the forestay or r/f gear. Rigging the spinnaker halyard so that it chafes on the r/f or forestay, as the photo shows, is not a good idea: you mentioned that it has also chafed through. Running it inside the mast to reduce windage seems pointless with such a telephone pole-like spar. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you pdqaltair and paulk.

All excellent observations and I'm still working on this.

I have removed the snap shackle between the jib halyard and the upper part of the furler. (Hated wasting that lovely splice, but it was either that or cut the shackle.)

The spinnaker halyard block will not move off to the side. The dip in the "crane" holds it extremely solidly in the middle. I've taken it, from deck level, all over the deck and it won't budge. I went up the mast and tried to move it by hand, and it won't budge. Removing all tension from the spinnaker halyard would work, but that can't be done from deck level, because simply pulling on it to try to move it applies sufficient tension to lock the block solidly in the middle of the dip in the crane.

When I say "solidly" I mean it won't slide sideways one iota. When the mast is down and there is no halyard on it, then it is completely free.

The "crane" is welded on to the mast-head fitting. I could consider having this re-machined over the Winter. Clearly "something" should be done. Perhaps I can clamp some small fitting on the crane which would hold the block off to one side.

In the meantime, I have also looped both "arms" of the spinnaker halyard around the back of a spreader, and that does seem to keep them off the forestay - the one arm just barely off, but not touching is not touching. I'll keep an eye on the halyard for wear as it wraps around shrouds, and of course will have to free it up when I use it.

Related dilemma: the forestay has shortened this year. So far, both my #2 and #3 foresails are too long on the luff, with a little sag left when the upper furling mechanism is fully hoisted (and it shouldn't be fully hoisted anyway). I may have had a little of this last year with one of the sails last year, although ...

... in order to shorten the exposed halyard and prevent halyard-wrap when furling, I added a 6" wire "pennant" to the luff, which worked like a charm. This year it's too long, and I have had to remove the pennant. Now, I did add one more shackle into the mix, at the tack, a snap shackle (I know!) for easier sail-changing. (I'm thinking of not furling my new headsail, but taking it up and down for every weekly race.) But that's nowhere near 6". Nothing has changed to my knowledge in how the boat is rigged, and this is my 4th Summer of ownership.

How could such a thing happen, that the forestay this year is a few inches shorter than last year, or conversely that last year was anomalous and it was longer that year than usual? Just weird. Apart from the backstay turnbuckles, there is nothing to adjust without disassembling the furling basket etc., and I haven't done that. It's a deck-stepped mast with no adjustments a the step itself.

Also, I have a D-shaped shackle at the tack, which fits the lower part of the furling mechanism, but it requires tools to unscrew and screw in the pin (to make it firm enough for my satisfaction), which is not impossible but seems laborious on occasions with few crew and a pitching deck. There was a quick-release type of shackle, of the general type pictured below, there at one point, but it also required tools - perhaps it was simply damaged and I need to replace it. Thoughts?



Thank you all again.

Charles
 

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Was the mast pulled last fall? Only explanation I can come up for the shorter forestay with is that the forestay turnbuckle is adjusted shorter this year than last. But a couple inches is a lot!
 
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