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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyway know what those swaged ball end fittings are called? Where can I order them?

I need to make a new main halyard and there are no places that do Swaging out here so I'll probably be DIY-ing it.

They look like this below:

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Something to think about maybe, But as of right now, I just want to replace this one steel cable. Anyone know where I can find these?
 

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I googled "MS20664 swage" and came up with:
Single Shank Ball MS20664 which says that they are called a "single ball shank".

Loos says that McCarren & Associates in Gladstone, OR is the closest dealer to WA state. 503-657-1496.

If you're going to do the swaging yourself, that means you need the right tool. That's going to cost you a lot of money. That's why I suggested switching to a dyneema halyard. It may actually be cheaper, even if you have to buy a new block or sheave to the masthead.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
WOW! :) Thanks for the info! And you even found a place close!

The system that's on it now has a nice locking feature which uses those ball fittings. I had to replace it last season with a cable halyard a little shorter. Honestly, I love the rope idea. I have a passion for old nautical arts. My grandfather introduced me to Hervey Garrett Smith's book while he was still alive. Sadly my grandfather passed in 2009 from cancer.

I can use the shorter cable this year. I have a long enough piece of nylon line on it so it works just fine. I just like things done properly.

Where can I find more info on these all rope halyards?
 

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I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather. I bet he is getting a kick out of you diving into all the sailing stuff.

As I understand it, they went from rope to steel cable halyards many decades ago as a means for reducing the stretch in the halyard. It makes sense, since cable stretches significantly less than traditional ropes did. But in the last decade or so (others may be able to give you more specific timelines) newer, low stretch ropes have come on the market that are as good or better than cables, especially in this use case. Some lower stretch lines, like Sta-set, can work, but they will stretch a bit compared to the cable. For me, that's fine because I don't race and quite frankly I'm not good enough at the controls yet to really adjust the luff tension while I'm out. I'm more of a "set it and forget it" person when it comes to the halyard, unless conditions drastically change.

So, the natural question is, why bother to switch? To me, it's simplicity. If I want to make things really easy, I can tie a bowline, or a combination of a bowline and another knot, as the connection between the headsail and the halyard. Even if I wanted to use a metal connector of some sort, if that breaks or if the halyard chaffs through, I can simply cut the halyard a bit shorter and tie it off to the sail head. That's much easier than you'd have with a broken wire halyard. Plus, I don't like all the sharp ends on a wire halyard if/when it breaks. Granted, that doesn't happen often, but when it does it can be painful.

I also think that wire halyards tend to do more damage to the sheaves over time, causing them to need to be replaced more frequently than sheaves used with ropes. The rough-ish surface of the wire halyard tends to bite into the sheave, eventually wearing it down. At least that's my experience, although that mostly came from me having to replace the sheaves on our Catalina 3 winters ago, and not from long-term experience as a boat owner. But when there's something this simple that I can do which limits the number of times I'll need to go to the top of the mast, I tend to lean in that direction.

Anyway...if you don't want the stretch associated with something like Sta-Set, you can go with Dyneema or Amsteel. The disadvantage to those is the cost. For a 3/8" line, which would feel comfortable in your hand, the line can be a bit pricey, and it's really overkill as a halyard (the breaking strength would FAR exceed that of the cable it is replacing). Plus, Dyneema and Amsteel don't like to be knotted - they are a bit slippery - so the idea of "just" cutting off the end and tying a knot in it won't quite work, either. However, there are ways around this, including splicing the Dyneema/Amsteel to a length of more traditional line, this way you get the limited stretch for most of the halyard's length while still keeping the hand feel you want. Another is to use a "hybrid" line (my term) which has Dyneema/Amsteel at its core, but which has a jacket that makes it easier to hold. The end of the Amsteel/Dyneema can also be fairly easily spliced, if you need to make a repair.

All you really need to do is replace the wire halyard with an equivalent (or slightly longer) piece of an appropriate rope. You might want to inspect the sheaves, because if they are all torn up from the wire, they will eat your rope halyard.

If you aren't comfortable doing splicing, whipping, etc. (which is easier than you think if you haven't tried it), there are places that offer this as a service. We have a few riggers who regularly participate here, including index. I've been pleased with the price, turn-around time, and quality of the work from him. I don't have any affiliation, just a happy customer. If you start a new thread about converting to rope halyards, he'll probably jump in.
 

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I agree, change to all rope halyards. There are many choices for low stretch ropes without going to Dyneema or Amsteel. Amsteel doesn't cleat well and doesn't hold in clutches either. You are better off with a braid - either a good double braid or a braid with core. Any good marine store should have a selection as well as someone experienced to help.You don't say what boat you have - a racer would be fussier than a cruiser and would choose differently than a cruiser.

The balls are not swaged with a hand swager - a rigging shop could do them for you if you want to go that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm actually considering switching over to all rope. Not this season but possibly by next. How would I use a stop for the halyard with rope instead of steel wire?
 

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WOW! :)
I can use the shorter cable this year. I have a long enough piece of nylon line on it so it works just fine. I just like things done properly.
I'm a bit confused. Where in a halyard would you be using a length of nylon line?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I am sailing a 14' dinghy. Not a big cruiser. Not sure if the setup is different on larger boats. I have a length of steel rope with a captive pin shackle that attaches to the sail head. At the opposite end there is an eye. I use a length of yacht rope shackled to the eye of the steel wire rope for a downhaul to hoist the sail.
 

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I am sailing a 14' dinghy. Not a big cruiser. Not sure if the setup is different on larger boats. I have a length of steel rope with a captive pin shackle that attaches to the sail head. At the opposite end there is an eye. I use a length of yacht rope shackled to the eye of the steel wire rope for a downhaul to hoist the sail.
If there is a shackle at the head of the sail and an eye at the other where does the ball fitting go?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'll make a little presentation here with pictures! :)

Okay, so I have a I have a length of steel rope with a captive pin shackle that attaches to the sail head. The sail attaches by feeding into an internal slotted track at the back of the mast.




The steel rope section of halyard passes over the top of the mast through a pair of sheaves.




So many inches from the captive pin shackle, there is a stop fitting swaged to the steel line. I can't remember the measurement, but it is a pretty exact science. This fitting slips into a special bracket on the front of the mast, near the top and locks the halyard in place, keeping the sail up.







At the opposite end of the steel line there is an eye. I use a length of yacht rope shackled to the eye of the steel wire rope for a downhaul to hoist the sail.


 

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blackflagsailor asked a good question:
How would I use a stop for the halyard with rope instead of steel wire?
There's a reason for the ball stop in a halyard. How does one add one, that works with a halyard lock, when replacing the wire halyard with amsteel?
 
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