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Discussion Starter #1
I need to replace the halyard for my mailsial. It is a wire and rope halyard. How can I replace it without climbing the mast? The old halyard is still in place.
 

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Larus Marinus
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If you have swaged thingies fitted on the old halyard, they may need to be removed before the halyard will pass. (Time to check out your favourite method of cutting wire rope.) The new halyard will need the thingies swaged on after it has been fitted in the mast.
 

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Señor Member
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Instead of simply tieing (which could bind in the masthead sheave), it's best to stitch the new line, end-to-end, to the old rope tailed halyard.
 

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The problem you'll have is that the old halyard is a wire-to-rope spliced halyard...and you need to get a new halyard that is also wire-to-rope... otherwise the sheave at the masthead will be the wrong size. What you should probably do is tie a small messenger line to the wire section and pull that up the outside of the mast and down and out the bottom. Then attach the wire part of the new halyard to it and use the messenger line to pull the wire up the mast and out over the masthead sheave. If you don't it this way, you'll be trying to pull the rope through the masthead sheave, which is probably a very tight fit for it, as the wire is probably a much smaller diameter than the rope is.
 

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sailingdog said:
The problem you'll have is that the old halyard is a wire-to-rope spliced halyard...and you need to get a new halyard that is also wire-to-rope... otherwise the sheave at the masthead will be the wrong size. What you should probably do is tie a small messenger line to the wire section and pull that up the outside of the mast and down and out the bottom. Then attach the wire part of the new halyard to it and use the messenger line to pull the wire up the mast and out over the masthead sheave. If you don't it this way, you'll be trying to pull the rope through the masthead sheave, which is probably a very tight fit for it, as the wire is probably a much smaller diameter than the rope is.
Dog -- As for your premise in this post that the sheave may be too small for rope, that may not be the case. Depends on what size sheave the builder used up there to begin with of course. On my P-33-2 (1988) when I replaced the wire/rope halyards 3 years ago, the new 3/8 inch rope halyards fit just fine because the sheaves Pearson used were actually for a rope halyard. I didn't know this at the time because I just went ahead and pulled through the new halyard to see if it would fit. It did just fine. The following year I took the mast down and found that the sheaves were probably meant for all rope. (I replaced all the sheaves at that point with aluminum ones.)

As for pulling in the new halyard without having to remove any shackles that may be spliced on, secure a messenger line to the ass end of the current halyard and pull it through to remove the old halyard. Then secure the ass end of the new halyard to that same end of the messenger line and pull it through the other way. Voila -- no mess with splices. I secure the ends together with duct tape. Works fine and is a flexible joint to go over the sheave. But tug on it hard first to test it!
 

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Mitch-

It is a pretty common problem to have a narrower sheave at the masthead on a wire-to-rope halyard.
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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I also use duct tape to attach my new to old. Has worked well for me. But as was said, test it well first.
 

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sailingdog said:
Mitch-

It is a pretty common problem to have a narrower sheave at the masthead on a wire-to-rope halyard.
Dawg -- I know it's common, but I was only trying to point out that it's not 100 percent of the time. It's easy enough to check out beforehand -- tape a 3/8 inch (pick your size) line to the current ass end of the halyard and haul it up to the top. If the line goes through OK, then maybe you own a 1988 Pearson with fat sheaves at the top????? If it sticks, then you better hope your tape job was good when you try to haul it back down.
 

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SailorMitch said:
Dawg -- I know it's common, but I was only trying to point out that it's not 100 percent of the time. It's easy enough to check out beforehand -- tape a 3/8 inch (pick your size) line to the current ass end of the halyard and haul it up to the top. If the line goes through OK, then maybe you own a 1988 Pearson with fat sheaves at the top????? If it sticks, then you better hope your tape job was good when you try to haul it back down.
Yes, but if you've done a poor job of taping, and hauled too hard going up...you're likely to end up going up the stick.... and doing it my way avoids almost any risk of that. :D You can work smart or you can do a half-assed job of it and get screwed for it.:rolleyes:
 

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Have to agree with Mitch on this one. Changed two of our wire/rope halyards to all line five years ago and have had no problems with sheaves. The new hi-tech synthetic lines so strong that if you wanted you could use an all-fiber line that was thinner than the original wire was, and it would stretch less than the wire did. Our halyards are 5/8" simply because thinner stuff would cut into the crew's hands too easily. Though the "super-plastic" line is not cheap, it ends up costing less because 1/there's no rope/wire splice! 2/ you can tie the halyard shackle to the end of the line 3/ you can end-for-end the halyard in a few years if it starts to get worn, and double the useful life of the halyard. (Ours has been in place five years and hasn't needed to be switched end for end yet.) It's not complicated to do (as Giulietta says) and the sheaves at the top, if they were set up for wire, are probably relatively large diameter sheaves that will work well for the new high-tech lines.
 

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"Yes, but if you've done a poor job of taping, "
Well, just for you, we could have someone glue 'em up with 3M 5200 overwrapped with plain cotton bandage gauze and let it harden up for 48 hours before pulling it through. No way that baby's gonna come apart until someone cuts it.<G>
 

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Discussion Starter #13
re: replaving halyard

Thanks for all your thoghtful suggestions. I appreciate all the options that you've given me.
 

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paulk said:
Have to agree with Mitch on this one. Changed two of our wire/rope halyards to all line five years ago and have had no problems with sheaves. The new hi-tech synthetic lines so strong that if you wanted you could use an all-fiber line that was thinner than the original wire was, and it would stretch less than the wire did. Our halyards are 5/8" simply because thinner stuff would cut into the crew's hands too easily. Though the "super-plastic" line is not cheap, it ends up costing less because 1/there's no rope/wire splice! 2/ you can tie the halyard shackle to the end of the line 3/ you can end-for-end the halyard in a few years if it starts to get worn, and double the useful life of the halyard. (Ours has been in place five years and hasn't needed to be switched end for end yet.) It's not complicated to do (as Giulietta says) and the sheaves at the top, if they were set up for wire, are probably relatively large diameter sheaves that will work well for the new high-tech lines.
Actually, the wire still stretches less than even the best of the high-tech lines—wire stretches only about 1%—the high-tech lines go about 1.5% to 5% or so. Most of the newer high-tech lines have pretty poor knot holding capability, due to the materials they're made from, and should be spliced, not tied.

Also, kind of curious as to what size boat you have, if your halyards are 5/8" is diameter... which is the size of the anchorline I use...
 

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sailingdog said:
Yes, but if you've done a poor job of taping, and hauled too hard going up...you're likely to end up going up the stick.... and doing it my way avoids almost any risk of that. :D You can work smart or you can do a half-assed job of it and get screwed for it.:rolleyes:
Dawg -- Your basic assumption is that you have to replace a wire/rope halyard with the same thing. That may not be the case. Absolutely nothing half-assed about my approach, which has never failed me when replacing halyards, or even removing them to clean them or whatever. So let me work stupid and be happy about it.

Of course, feel free to do it your way. You will anyway -- and I don't care! You're always right. Uh huh.:eek:
 

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Gotta bark with the dog on this one.
While the sheaves (and could we please eliminate the word pulley from this site) may be of sufficient diameter the issue is the width of the sheave. Regardless, we know that as we reave the line the point at which it is going to be toughest is as the line passes over the sheave. That's where we're going to give it that little extra tug. Then three things can happen, two of which are bad. First: the sheave is of appropriate size and the line goes over and works just fine. Second: the sheave is of inappropriate size, the line goes over, and proceeds to either foul or abrade severely as we employ it in sailing. That could be dangerous if discovered while trying to lower the sail in an emergency-or could make an emergency out of a routine operation. Third: The new line fouls at the truck and we have to climb the mast anyway.

All in all, the dog's suggestion really has no down side. Running all line without knowing what is actually at the truck in the way of a sheave is sort of like landing a shark in a boat. If you're not sure that he is real dead, you might want to consider a Plan B before he's actually in the boat.<G>
 

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SailorMitch said:
Dawg -- Your basic assumption is that you have to replace a wire/rope halyard with the same thing. That may not be the case. Absolutely nothing half-assed about my approach, which has never failed me when replacing halyards, or even removing them to clean them or whatever. So let me work stupid and be happy about it.
Actually, most people do replace a halyard with the same kind...and the OP didn't indicate that they were going to be going from a wire-to-rope halyard to an all rope halyard. If you make the assumption that they are changing to an all-rope halyard, you're making a much bigger assumption than I am... since I'm basing my assumptions on the OP's post. While I haven't seen how you "tape" your halyards together, I've seen too many piss-poor taping jobs end up with someone having to go up the mast to recommend it. If you feel you're working stupid...be my guest—but it does sound like you've had a fair bit of luck on your side as well. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If your boat is not too big or too heavy, then just pull it way over on it's side (as if it were heeling a lot - put your centreboard up first). You might be able to use your jib halyard - again depends on how big the boat is. Put a ladder under the tip of the mast and change the halyard.

If the boat is too big then buy a bos'n chair and do it properly, you're going to have to go up there eventually, so you might as well get used to it while things are nice and calm at the slip. If you get nervous up there I find it helps to think about beer.

If you go from wire/rope to all rope, make sure that the rope you use does not have any stretch. The reason that there is wire there to begin with is because rope stretches until it falls apart. There is probably something on the market now that doesn't - have not investigated this for a long time.

The third option is to find a willing student and pay them fifty bucks to do it.
 

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sailingdog said:
Actually, most people do replace a halyard with the same kind...and the OP didn't indicate that they were going to be going from a wire-to-rope halyard to an all rope halyard. If you make the assumption that they are changing to an all-rope halyard, you're making a much bigger assumption than I am... since I'm basing my assumptions on the OP's post. While I haven't seen how you "tape" your halyards together, I've seen too many piss-poor taping jobs end up with someone having to go up the mast to recommend it. If you feel you're working stupid...be my guest—but it does sound like you've had a fair bit of luck on your side as well. :D
Most people I know who replace a wire/rope halyard want to go to all rope, if their sheaves allow. An all rope halyard has many advantages over the old wire/rope. And despite your claim, there are many ropes out there that stretch 1 percent or less. One problem with wire halyards is that the riggers often use a rope that is easy to splice to the wire, and that also usually is quite a bit stretchier than the wire, so you lose that property of the wire to a degree anyway.

To be fair to the original poster -- assuming your instructions are accurate -- you also should tell him that your method will require cutting off the current swage fitting and shackle to get the old wire out of the mast, and then he will have to swage on a new fitting for the shackle once the new halyard is in place. He might like to know that going in.

And once the swage and shackle are cut off the current halyard, how do you propose to tie the messenger line to the wire so that you have a knot small enough to fit through that tiny sheave?

As for my working stupid, you made a previous statement along the lines of "work smart and do it my way." Thus, your implication was that my way was working stupid. I was only stating what you implied, with a tad of sarcasm of course.

As always, YMMV.
 

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The messenger line I'm using is braided, and I will put the braid over the wire and then whip it to the wire, several times over the distance of about a foot. Done properly, this is very unlikely to let go, and goes through the sheaves very smoothly. There is no knot, and very little bulk to this type of connection. If you're really paranoid...a drop or two of cyanocrylate adhesive will make sure it doesn't move.
 
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