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Old 06-05-2013, 22:28   #1
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Halyard Question

Hi all,

I am fairly new to sailing and this is my first "spring cleaning" as a boat owner and I am looking to update a few old lines. I found my owners manual online but it has some conflicting advice.

This image shows 5/16" polester braid on Main and Jib/Genoa Halyards

http://admaris.com/servranckx/t75_sp...t_halyards.jpg

But the mast cross section shows Dacron and Braided Dacron. I find it odd that the sheet lines are 3/8" vs the 5/16 halyard lines. Is this normal for boats under 30? http://admaris.com/servranckx/t75_sp...t_and_boom.jpg

I guess the best thing to do is get out some calipers and really see what is running on the boat now before I use the manual but I assume it is a little out of date to using Polyester lines? Or is this a good way to go for Halyards and other control lines?

Thanks for the help all!
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:44   #2
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Re: Halyard Question

G'Day HH,

First of all, Dacron IS Polyester! Dacron is a now ubiquitous trade name for Polyester fibres... a "Kleenex" term!

And IMO, 5/16, while perhaps strong enough is not kind to your hands, so I would tend to go up to 3/8 if the sheaves will accept the larger size.

And finally, for halyards there are numerous braids that have much less stretch than ordinary dacron double braid. Fibres like spectra and technora work really well in halyards and make a worthwhile upgrade.

Have a look in the West Marine catalog... their "advisor" sidebars on this subject offer some good advice on cordage selection.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:26   #3
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Re: Halyard Question

Why not save a little money and stick with 5/16" halyards ? New England Ropes make a product called VPC that would suit your needs. It is stronger than polyester and stretches less too. Not only that, but it is half the price of a dyneema cored rope such as Warpspeed. There is no need for 3/8" if you use something stronger than polyester.

If you prefer all polyester then Sta Set X is the best product for halyards.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:41   #4
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Re: Halyard Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happyhour75 View Post
Hi all,

I am fairly new to sailing and this is my first "spring cleaning" as a boat owner and I am looking to update a few old lines. I found my owners manual online but it has some conflicting advice.

This image shows 5/16" polester braid on Main and Jib/Genoa Halyards

http://admaris.com/servranckx/t75_sp...t_halyards.jpg

But the mast cross section shows Dacron and Braided Dacron. I find it odd that the sheet lines are 3/8" vs the 5/16 halyard lines. Is this normal for boats under 30? http://admaris.com/servranckx/t75_sp...t_and_boom.jpg

I guess the best thing to do is get out some calipers and really see what is running on the boat now before I use the manual but I assume it is a little out of date to using Polyester lines? Or is this a good way to go for Halyards and other control lines?

Thanks for the help all!

This is one I learned the hard way. Your lines have to fit the blocks they have to go through. If your lines are fed through the mast, that can be hard to judge, but if you can find the specs somewhere, they are probaby right.

An amazing number of people decide that bigger is always better, and upgrade the size of their halyards and sheets. That's what the previous owner did on my boat, with the result that the mainsail would not drop -- there was too much friction in the blocks. Especially if these lines feed back to the cockpit, they simply have to fit the blocks they go through.

My mainsail wouldn't drop (except the time the hardware holding the halyard failed while there was a lot of wind pressure on the sail -- THEN and only then, it dropped like a stone.)

We went down one size on the line, and ... now the sail raises much more easily, and drops like a stone into the lazy jacks.

He had also "upgraded" the sheets for the headsail, with the result that the sheet didn't even fit into the top of the supposed-to-be-self-tailing winches. We downsized those also.

Make sure your sheets fit your self-tailing winches. The smaller line will still be big enough to hold, but I always wear sailing gloves, which make even small lines easy to handle.

Oh yeah -- the lines on my traveler were *also* too big, but like the sheets, that was easy to spot because I could see all the bloks on the traveler. One was significantly smaller, but the previous owner had used lines based on the biggest blocks, not the smallest (why they aren't all just the same size I have no idea.) So I changed those lines and the traveler is now at least five times easier to use. My mainsail goes up and down much more easily, and my sheets now fit my self-tailing winches.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:05   #5
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Re: Halyard Question

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Originally Posted by savoir View Post
Why not save a little money and stick with 5/16" halyards ? New England Ropes make a product called VPC that would suit your needs. It is stronger than polyester and stretches less too. Not only that, but it is half the price of a dyneema cored rope such as Warpspeed. There is no need for 3/8" if you use something stronger than polyester.

If you prefer all polyester then Sta Set X is the best product for halyards.
yeah, regular old stay set x will be fine for the average boat. Hard to give advice without knowing the size of boat though. As mentioned 3/8 might be easier on the hands, but overkill if the boat is 24 ft long....
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Old 07-05-2013, 22:50   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post

This is one I learned the hard way. Your lines have to fit the blocks they have to go through. If your lines are fed through the mast, that can be hard to judge, but if you can find the specs somewhere, they are probaby right.

An amazing number of people decide that bigger is always better, and upgrade the size of their halyards and sheets. That's what the previous owner did on my boat, with the result that the mainsail would not drop -- there was too much friction in the blocks. Especially if these lines feed back to the cockpit, they simply have to fit the blocks they go through.

My mainsail wouldn't drop (except the time the hardware holding the halyard failed while there was a lot of wind pressure on the sail -- THEN and only then, it dropped like a stone.)
AH-HA! This sounds exactly like my problem. My manual scanned online by another calls for 3/8 to 5/16 and from what I can see on my main and jib halyards my eyes are saying at least 1/2inch. My main sail jammed on the drop every time. That wasn't even a line I had considered for replacement this year until now. So manual measurements to what I was actually looking at and polyester vs Dacron had me confused into circles.

Also, I can't believe I didn't name my boat in this post! It's a tanzer 7.5 cruising only. Not much into racing that being said the northern winds on Great Slave Lake can pick up quickly.
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Old 07-05-2013, 22:56   #7
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This is a previous boat owner upgrade issue I will be resolving as well but I'm glad to be here to make the right choice else I may have simply measured the lines and bought the same again!
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:02   #8
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Re: Halyard Question

Good advice, line should fit the blocks. I use 7/16 sheets on a 24ft. boat because 5/16 or3/8 is harder on hands. Common Sta-Set from West Marine is fine for just about any cruiser or day sailor.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:37   #9
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Re: Halyard Question

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Originally Posted by Happyhour75 View Post
AH-HA! This sounds exactly like my problem. My manual scanned online by another calls for 3/8 to 5/16 and from what I can see on my main and jib halyards my eyes are saying at least 1/2inch. My main sail jammed on the drop every time. That wasn't even a line I had considered for replacement this year until now. So manual measurements to what I was actually looking at and polyester vs Dacron had me confused into circles.

Also, I can't believe I didn't name my boat in this post! It's a tanzer 7.5 cruising only. Not much into racing that being said the northern winds on Great Slave Lake can pick up quickly.
I had a hunch. the thing that made me feel like a donkey's behind is that it didn't occur to me even after it had already happened with the jib sheets. My Naval Architect friend went out on the first sail with this boat. My old boat hadn't had (or needed) self-tailing winches. Of course he spotted it immediately. And it STILL didn't occur to me that it could have happened otherwise.

Mainsail goes up as it should now, and is easy to tension properly ... and drops like a stone. All of a sudden the lazy jacks are worth happening (really nice when you single-hand) -- I just drop the thing and keep on going, don't even have to stop and tie it up). What was going on with the headsail halyard was COMPLETELY beyond the palle, but your headsail halyard can destroy your forestay, and then your mast can fall down .... that one not only has to be the right size but be installed very precisely on some boats. If you want to see the story it's on my bog ("Your Mast Could Come Down -- Really!" complete with a couple of nightmare photos).

There's a lot of stuff stated here that I haven't known before and this place has been very helpful to me, but I go out so much that I've picked up more than you might think, too.
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:38   #10
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Re: Halyard Question

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This is a previous boat owner upgrade issue I will be resolving as well but I'm glad to be here to make the right choice else I may have simply measured the lines and bought the same again!

Sigh ... I did. Fortunately the line was also good for other things.
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Old 08-05-2013, 15:49   #11
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Re: Halyard Question

Halyard are complicated and you can spend as little (pennies per foot) or as much as you like.

As Jim pointed out, smaller diameter halyards can be hard work on your hands and some people up-size purely for this reason.

In theory less stretch is a good thing for sailing performance, so buying a less stretchy rope (Spectra or Dyneema, for example) is worth considering, but comes is more expensive. (caveat - some stretch is generally good for spinnaker halyards so unless you are a serious, hard core racer, go with Dacron i.e. polyester double braid)

If you are replacing halyards, it isn't a bad idea to inspect the sheaves and fitting in the mast an on deck, because rough edges can destroy shiny new halyards in a short time.

If in doubt, talk to your local sail maker, mast rigger, or even chandlery guy - tell them what boat you have, how you use it (racing, cruising) and how much you use it and they will probably have good advice on the type and diameter of rope that will be appropriate.
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Old 08-05-2013, 15:58   #12
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Re: Halyard Question

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Halyard are complicated and you can spend as little (pennies per foot) or as much as you like.

As Jim pointed out, smaller diameter halyards can be hard work on your hands and some people up-size purely for this reason.

In theory less stretch is a good thing for sailing performance, so buying a less stretchy rope (Spectra or Dyneema, for example) is worth considering, but comes is more expensive. (caveat - some stretch is generally good for spinnaker halyards so unless you are a serious, hard core racer, go with Dacron i.e. polyester double braid)

If you are replacing halyards, it isn't a bad idea to inspect the sheaves and fitting in the mast an on deck, because rough edges can destroy shiny new halyards in a short time.

If in doubt, talk to your local sail maker, mast rigger, or even chandlery guy - tell them what boat you have, how you use it (racing, cruising) and how much you use it and they will probably have good advice on the type and diameter of rope that will be appropriate.

People may "upsize" because they think it's easier on their hands, but they're much better off with the right sized line for their hardware. A pair of gloves more than offsets the small difference in line, and it was just amazing how much easier it was to raise the sail when the line wasn't too big. People do the wrong things on their boats all the time for all sorts of reasons, but I've got first hand experience that line too large greatly increases the work done.

Find out what size your halyard is *supposed* to be, and use that size. Go too large to make it "easier" on your hands and the whole job of raising and lowering the sail will get complicated. You don't want it to be hard to lower your sail in an emergency. If a storm is bearing down on you, you want to be able to lower that sail and reef it with ease. One of the best changes I ever made on this boat was to downsize the halyard. I'm not saying it's right for HIS boat, but it was right for mine.
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Old 08-05-2013, 16:14   #13
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Re: Halyard Question

I actually downsized from 7/16" (as equipped by the builder) to some high-tech 3/8" the last time I replaced my halyards. The additional cost was minimal, since I found the line on sale and I was buying a size smaller. The result? A real reduction in friction, such that I can now pull the main all the way up by hand on a calm day.
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Old 08-05-2013, 16:59   #14
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Re: Halyard Question

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I actually downsized from 7/16" (as equipped by the builder) to some high-tech 3/8" the last time I replaced my halyards. The additional cost was minimal, since I found the line on sale and I was buying a size smaller. The result? A real reduction in friction, such that I can now pull the main all the way up by hand on a calm day.

Exactly. I think it's wrong-headed to think that a larger halyard will make things easier. That certainly wasn't my experience -- just the opposite.
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Old 08-05-2013, 18:36   #15
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Re: Halyard Question

5/16" is as small a line as I want to handle especially for anything under load. You can get by with smaller diameter halyards because you typically don't hand them more than twice in a daysail and not more than a couple more times if you have to reef. Halyards are also often run to a winch which makes 'handing' them less of an issue. If you use one of the new high tech lines you can actually get by with 3/16" for strength on a boat under 30'. Definitely want to wear gloves handling that small a line, however. I'd only go that small if you are a die hard racer who demands the ultimate in low windage and weight. Better to go with a technora/dyneema line with a dacron cover in a larger diameter and strip the cover off where you won't be handing.


For sheets and spinnaker halyards, want something that is easy on the hands. That's minimum 3/8" or even 7/16". StaSet or equivalent double braid Dacron is preferable. The stretch is something you don't notice in a sheet and the stretch serves as a shock absorber.
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