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Old 22-02-2013, 18:37   #1
JRM
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Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

Today, I began my refit in earnest. As in the money has begun to disperse from the refit account instead of accumulate... Give it a month or two, and I may miss all the extra hours at the salt mine...

At any rate, the boat is a 1975 Valiant cutter. Currently all halyards are external, three winches on the mast, one on the boom, and everything is old school manual based on a full crew. The wife and I hardly qualify as full crew. So the plan is to set her up for single-handing, all lines led aft, with single (or maybe single for the first and double for the second) line reefing.

In our trips to date, we have a big problem with halyards getting fouled on the mast steps. Just look at a swell wrong with an inch of slack in the line and either the main or jib halyard will wrap itself on the wrong side of a step, which has at times required me to climb a ways up the mast to free it. No fun in the swell that caused it. No amount of swinging the halyard around from the deck seems to do it, in fact it just seems to make it worse. Solution A is to lose the mast steps. They've been *really* handy to date, although mostly to climb up and unfoul the halyards from the steps themselves. Solution B is to run the halyards inside the mast, and sidestep the step problem entirely. Should a halyard need replacing, it can just be done externally in a pinch and re-threaded later (not overly keen on trying to rethread one whilst bouncing about). Along those lines, I'd rather leave the sheaves set up for external and just run the halyards into the mast up high and back out again down low rather than fully commit and set up the sheaves in the masthead to lead down into the mast.

My concern is with that many holes in the mast. I'm pulling the mast and stripping and painting it, so this will be the time to convert. I've got the three halyards for main, jib, and staysail. And a spare halyard. And two spin halyards. And a topping lift. If everything goes that's 14 holes, although very widely spaced.

I'm also thinking of mounting a set of plates at the base of the mast to attach all the turning blocks that will be required for these, the reefing lines, and the outhaul and cunningham. I tried to draw it all out on graph paper with colored pencils and my kid asked why I was drawing pictures two big squids fighting. I've looked around the harbor and seen similar setups on the wazoo racing boats, of which I am not one.

So it's part one of many of crowdsourcing... How have you set up your rigging, what do you like about it, what do you like about it, and if you were to have a fresh start (say, like me) what would you do differently?

JRM
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Old 22-02-2013, 18:52   #2
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Re: Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

We had internal halyards on our Privilege 39 catamaran, and they always worked very well for us. Our mast steps were folding steps, and so we never had a problem with our extra halyard that we installed after we got the boat. No lines every tangled in mast steps.

Our rigging challenges always revolved around standing rigging. We had diamond shrouds to keep the mast in column, and we had to change the diamonds twice during our eleven year circumnavigation.
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Old 22-02-2013, 19:13   #3
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Re: Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

You can live with external halyards. Learn not to leave them slack etc. It seems unlikely that your mast steps are so poorly positioned that they foul your lines or perhaps you have mast steps that are not so good? Do they fold? I think the main problem with external lines is they slap the mast when the boat is in a marina. At anchor you can deal with the problem. If cost is not an issue move them inside the mast, probably not that much more money if you are having everything done for you.
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Old 22-02-2013, 19:24   #4
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Re: Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

My views on this always engender heated disagreement, but since you ask: I hate the spaghetti of all lines led aft; I distrust internal halyards, and I have no use for mast steps. If you remove the steps, your halyard-fouling problem goes away. If you keep your lines external, you won't cut all sorts of holes in the stick and spend extra money on longer line and blocks and all, and if you keep your halyards by the mast, you won't have to go back and forth while hoisting to unstick a pesky sail slide or cast off the last sail tyer. I have never seen a boat so rigged that EVERYTHING could be done from the cockpit all the time. Something always seems to necessitate going forward to the mast.
Now I'll get a chorus of dissent, no doubt, but my watchword is "simplicity first".
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Old 22-02-2013, 22:07   #5
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Re: Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

Benz, You wont get any argument out of me. If you want to reef the main, you should be at the mast, not in the cockpit. I always dropped the boom down into the gallows so that everything was solid while I was reefing, and then hoisted again. Works a treat! As far as mast steps go, they are wonderful, but after I broke one off at night during a jib change an old salt told me to run line(heavy monofiliment,80lb) down the outside of the steps and it would stop the fouling. I did that on my first boat and the next two and never had another problem. If you search the net you will see most mast steps have line seized to the outside all the way to the bottom. IT WORKS_____Grant.
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Old 23-02-2013, 12:39   #6
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Re: Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

Ran the main and jib halyards internal on our W32 with the winches at the mast. Freed up a set of sheaves at the mast head so we could permanently reave a spare halyard. Came in real handy when I lost control of the jib halyard and the bitter end ran up the mast. Left the staysail and spinnaker halyards external. I know racing boats do it, but the possible chafe at the masthead from an internal spinnaker halyard just doesn't seem like a good thing on a cruising boat. The staysail was never a problem run external. If you do run all the halyards internal, stagger the halyard exit points so no two next to each other come out at the same place. Have seen masts that looked like swiss cheese perform without a problem.
Don't leave any square corners that can be stress risers.

We had steps to the mast head and they were an issue catching halyards above the spreader. When we rerigged, left the steps off above the spreaders. Never missed them and no more halyard issues. Steps to the spreaders are really important sailing SoPac. Used to navigate from the spreaders entering channels in the reefs and inside lagoons. Easy to see depth of water and coral heads from up there.

Have run the main halyard and reefing lines back to the cockpit on my current boat. Best thing I've done to the boat for ease of sailing, not just single handing. Can reef from the protection of the dodger in a minute. It's so easy to reef, sometimes do it just for the fun of it. Really a plus when I was sailing in SF Bay. A typical daysail often required tieiing in and shaking out reefs three or more times in an afternoon. On my solo TransPac, would tie in a reef if a squall line looked threatening because it was so easy to do it and shake it out after it passed. When I had to go to the mast, was always late to reef and shake it out. Never will understand why anyone would want to leave the security of the cockpit when the wind is howling and the seas are running if they didn't have to.
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Old 01-03-2013, 15:12   #7
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Re: Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

I've spent quite a bit of time refining my plan, speaking with other sailors and looking in the marina at different solutions (not to mention some of the sound advice here). I've changed it up a bit...

I've decided to keep the halyards external for now. Shamelessly borrowing the idea from roverhi, I'll leave off the steps above the spreaders, or probably 1 step up (so I can still reach the radome). I'm also going to run a line down the outside edge of those that remain. Hopefully that will take care of the snag potential.

Still planning on leading things back to the cockpit. That's how our first boat was set up, and I really liked it. While I don't mind going to the mast, I've never done it in serious weather, and the admiral dislikes it even in modest swell. I've simplified my plan (although not much) and will leave room for a couple of spare lines (if needed later). I'm currently planning on running all the control lines through rope clutches except the main halyard, which will basically have its own winch. Not including the three on the mast, I have three winches for control lines under the dodger already (also not counting the sheet winches for the staysail). There's plenty of real estate up there (it's a wide hard top dodger), so I think I'll be OK.

I'd love to figure out a good way to move my mainsheet winch off of the cabin top, though. That'll be a different thread...

Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm ordering the parts from Garhauer this afternoon, hopefully I'll be able to get started next week.

JRM
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Old 01-03-2013, 16:13   #8
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Re: Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

Internal halyards here, no issues.

Things to improve - easier access to sheaves. New selden masts have top box removable so that you get full access from the top for maintenance and replacement. Very smart.

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Old 01-03-2013, 16:27   #9
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Re: Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

I went with a 6 part double ended main sheet set up. Pull on both ends of the main sheet for fast action with a 3-1 purchase or more power 6-1 pulling on just one sheet. My boat is bit smaller but has a big main so probably comparable to yours in for e needed. Garhauer makes 8-1 purchase set up as well, IIRC. The blocks are in their catalogue as vang blocks, I think. Wanted to be able to handle the main from the helm so went with end boom sheeting. If you've got cabin top sheeting, may not work for you.
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Old 01-03-2013, 16:28   #10
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pirate Re: Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRM View Post
I'd love to figure out a good way to move my mainsheet winch off of the cabin top, though. That'll be a different thread... JRM

How come?
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Old 01-03-2013, 21:20   #11
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Re: Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

How are you mounting your turning blocks at the base of the mast? Be careful not to lift the deck, there may be more tension than you think with the halyards, reefing lines, etc.
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Old 06-03-2013, 15:37   #12
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How are you mounting your turning blocks at the base of the mast? Be careful not to lift the deck, there may be more tension than you think with the halyards, reefing lines, etc.
Planning on using a set of Garhauer mast base plates, the 9" ones. I have one of those poles inside that holds the cabin top down. That combined with a ludicrously large backing plate should handle it. I hope...
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Old 06-03-2013, 17:07   #13
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Re: Down the rabbit hole with internal halyards

Any boat with a keel stepped mast should have the deck tied to the mast. A rod, short piece of 1x19, etc from the mast to the the deck does the job in most boats. It keeps the deck from being forced upward with the the compressive force of the shrouds. It will also hold the deck in place against upward force of any turning blocks at the mast base.

A deck stepped mast is not a problem.
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