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The segments of my main and jib halyard that "live" inside of my mast when the sails are down are becoming darkly discolored. I've had the boat 2 years and have only noticed it with in the last few months. Its almost as if some oil or lubricant or something is getting on them from inside the mast. Its not just that the sun is bleaching out the segments that are normally outside.

Nothing else is wrong with them. No signs of fraying etc... There's nothing mechanical inside the mast. Could it just be mold?

Ideas? If it is solvent or mold could this weaken the lines?
 

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The segments of my main and jib halyard that "live" inside of my mast when the sails are down are becoming darkly discolored. I've had the boat 2 years and have only noticed it with in the last few months. Its almost as if some oil or lubricant or something is getting on them from inside the mast. Its not just that the sun is bleaching out the segments that are normally outside.

Nothing else is wrong with them. No signs of fraying etc... There's nothing mechanical inside the mast. Could it just be mold?

Ideas? If it is solvent or mold could this weaken the lines?
Probably mold.
Can't understand how you could get oil or lubricant inside the mast?

Take the halyard down and give i it a tour i the washing machine.

I have done so to all my running rigging - the ropes feels like new.

Disclaimer:
All my running rigging have splices or sewn whippings at the ends to prevent distortion between the core/cover.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Could it be from oxidation inside the mast - it seems to build up as a fine black powder.
 

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Aluminum oxidation is usually a white powder.

Practical Sailor had good instructions on washing running rigging. Here is a link (requires membership):
What's the Best Way to Clean Rope? - Practical Sailor Article

Here is the summary: mild detergent, gentle cycle, tie it into a daisy chain and put it in a pillow case (to prevent tangling), don't use a dryer.

I did this with the original halyards that came with my boat after replacing them. The old rope isn't like new again, but it is a whole lot better.
 

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Could it be from oxidation inside the mast - it seems to build up as a fine black powder.
Strictly speaking, machinists call that smutt, and it is black. More like micron sized particles that retain a black color even after oxidizing. Something to due with the refraction of light than the true color. Chemically passivated aluminum surfaces often turn black for the same reason (micron sized imperfections that trap light). Some engine coolants cause this black staining of aluminum.

Just a small amount of borax in the rinse water will keep the mildew from returning if protected from rain. A few tablespoons per gallon.
 

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Captain
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The segments of my main and jib halyard that "live" inside of my mast when the sails are down are becoming darkly discolored. I've had the boat 2 years and have only noticed it with in the last few months. Its almost as if some oil or lubricant or something is getting on them from inside the mast. Its not just that the sun is bleaching out the segments that are normally outside.

Nothing else is wrong with them. No signs of fraying etc... There's nothing mechanical inside the mast. Could it just be mold?

Ideas? If it is solvent or mold could this weaken the lines?
I agree, toss it in the wash with fabric softener and detergent. You might need to do it twice. And you will probably have to do it every year.

Be glad you don't have wire to rope, then you'd have to wash it in the tub with your feet as you shower.
 

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69' Coronado 25
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323 Posts
the black is the aluminum being polished by the rope rubbing against it, when you polish aluminum the rags become black. You halyards could be run in a conduit, that would be a bit of work though.
 

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One of None
Hunter 34
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8,628 Posts
Lucky.. my boat deck turns black and the halyards green. It's only been in 2 months and it's starting again. I use a fan spray from the PW when washing the decks. the Lines usually come clean enough to look ok.
 
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