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Hi everyone. First post but have been lurking for quite some time. The amount of information here is invaluable! Thank you to everyone who contributes! On to my question.

I've recently purchased a 1976 C&C 24 Niagra. The boat is in wonderful shape and I'm extremely happy with her! We just took her out last week for a shake down and I found I had more questions than answers. With the help of Google and Youtube I've found most of my answers but this one.

My previous boat was a trailered Helsen 22. It wasn't in the best of shape but it was a great boat to learn to sail with. It was very simple with basic rigging. The C&C though is rigged to race. While I don't plan to race her (mostly coastal daysailing with the occasional overnight) she has a lot more options in the rigging than the Helsen did. The one that's stumping me are the headsail halyards. This boat has two of them. Both are a wire / rope combo. Both are run through the mast. One exits the mast lower than the other.

On our shakedown run we put up a 120 Genoa and I randomly picked one of the halyards. While raising it the the rope ended and the wire portion came out of the mast. It jammed at this point. I managed to work it out though and the sail came up fine from that point on. Then, while lowering it on our way back in it jammed again. It took us nearly 30 minutes to free it and get the sail back on the deck but we managed to just before I got too frustrated and decided to cut it. It jammed as the rope was re-entering the mast.

I'm pretty sure it was user error and something I should have familiarized myself with at the slip before leaving. That got me to wondering if the two different halyards served different purposes. I thought that maybe having two was so there was a back up. Now I think I'm wrong. :)

Before we go out again I wanted to see if anyone here could enlighten me.

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Welcome to sailnet!

Any chance one of them exits the mast above, or forward of the headstay? If so, this is a spinnaker halyard and should not be used for a jib/genoa. If they both exit right next to each other and you are sure they both exit below/behind where the headstay attaches to the mast then they are both jib/genoa halyards.

2 jib halyards can be useful for boats that want to fly twin headsails downwind. It's also useful for racing as you raise one sail before lowering the next, and finally, it's cheap insurance against loosing one up the mast.

If one is above the other, as you say, then likely one is your spinnaker halyard. This is meant to go to a sail that is flown outside the headstay, and if used for a jib halyard will wrap and get tangled on the headstay.

When you are able to post pictures, one of the masthead would be helpful.

MedSailor
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the great reply! I will get pictures my next trip to the marina. Probably in a couple of days.

I can say for sure both exit side by side at the top of the mast right at the top of the forestay. The only real difference is where the rope exits the mast at the bottom (sorry I didn't clarify that in the first post). They both exit on the starboard side of the mast. One is a bit higher and slightly forward of the other one (where the rope exits to haul up). I imagine the different placements are to differentiate which one raises which one.

I'm wondering if they are for different sail sizes. Maybe that's why the one we used jammed. Should the rope end and the wire come out of the mast before the sail is fully raised? It was only about 3/4 up before we ran out of rope and the wire started?

Sorry for being so ignorant. I know pictures will help them and I'll add them ASAP.

Thanks again!
 

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Do you have two jibs?
Does the halyard cable exit and jam when you raise the jib on the other one?
It sounds like one halyard is sized for a jib with a shorter luff that the jib you raised. Maybe the other halyard is for the jib you are using.
John
 

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Closet Powerboater
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I agree with CCriders, but if it's in your budget, I would recommend replacing both halyards (or perhaps just one that you'll use all the time) with all rope instead of wire to rope. Seems like what you've got is more hassle than it's worth.

BTW where they exit on the mast, one above the other, is just to allow fair leads to the winch. It's also poor form to have 2 holes in the side of your mast side by side. I'll give you one guess as to why. :)

MedSailor
 

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2 jib halyards AND 2 spinnaker halyards is the way I like a masthead. Cheap and flexible.

Gives more strings to pull and if they are colour coded they look impressive as hell to dock walkers as well. ;)
 

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It sounds like they are both Genoa Halyard a. You probably also have a twin groove foil on your forestay if it is an ex race boat. Multiple halyards on race boats is common on older masthead race boats because they usually had multiple headsails, and if the wind conditions changed in the middle of the race you want to do a sail "peel", meaning you hoist the new sail before you drop the Old one so you are never "bare headed". It is also good to have a spare incase one gets fouled or breaks in a race.

They should both work fine for any sail, and it is not unusual for the wire portion to exit the mast when hoisted. If it actually reaches the turning block at the base of the mast then that block should be a special kind that can accommodate both wire and rope. Sometimes the splice between the rope and the wire becomes frayed or damaged and jams where it passes through the mast or a turning block. Make sure it isn't chaffing at the mast exit.
 

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Agree with what's been said above. The second halyard could be a jib halyard or a spinnaker halyard. Two jib halyards were common on race boats of the 70s and 80s to speed up sail changes. My previous boat had two jib halyards and a spinnaker halyard. The jamming needs to sorted out. Either you were using the spinnaker halyard to raise the genny or there's something that needs fixing.
 

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Typically if is a wire halyard it is a genny halyard. I have never seen a wire spinnaker halyard.
 
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