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Old 19-03-2014, 23:09   #1
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Halyard stuck inside mast

Ok all, I have had the same stupid problem, but a problem none the less for a while. I am lost on what to do. My halyard (newer line) had some type of twist in it that wasn't passing through the mast head correctly a few months ago.
I had the mast stepped and the head worked on, but it never fixed the issue. I can get the main up, but it takes a very very serious effort. I am almost 190lbs, and I put all of my body weight and strength into it, and I am exhausted by the time I get her fully up. AND, it is causing chafing my new line as well...

All this means that I cannot single hand her, and it is driving me absolutely nuts. I have a boat repair man who has climbed my mast a few times to look at it (the guy I payed to originally step it) for free since he agrees it should have been fixed, which is nice, but he cannot figure it out either. I have had two other friends go up and take a look and no one can figure it out.

One suggestion I had was to mount a block on the outside of the mast and just run my line outside instead of internally.

I don't know what to do, any thoughts or suggestions? As the weather gets nicer, I am dying to start adding some long trips to my log!

Capt D
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Old 19-03-2014, 23:43   #2
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

Have you pulled the halyard out of the mast to verify that the halyard is not damaged in some way?

Is the halyard sized such that it does not bear against the masthead (casting?) When running through the sheave?

One thought is to verify that everything is working corrrectly (sheave rotates, mainsail slides/slugs run freely, halyard is in good shape), and if it is then drop a new tagline down the mast and lead the halyard through.

Things I have seen cause problems like you describe: halyard is wrapped around another halyard or wiring inside the mast, halyard is jammed or trapped by a spreader thru-bar, halyard too large (or too stiff) to clear the exit hole in the masthead, mainsail slugs jamming during the hoist.

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Old 20-03-2014, 00:27   #3
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

Sometimes a sheave will rotate freely when not under load, but (for a variety of reasons) will bind when the halyard is under a bit of tension, as when hoisting a sail,

and that binding causes the tension to increase > a classic feedback loop resulting in a partial jam.
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Old 20-03-2014, 01:24   #4
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

Question: if you pull back and forth on the halyard with little or no load upon it (like holding both ends and "sawing" up and down) is it free from the friction?

Jim
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Old 20-03-2014, 03:38   #5
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

I would suggest the following: attach a messenger line to the end of the halyard and pull it all of the way out of the mast. Have a good look at the top sheave in a bosun's chair, and if you have any doubt about it, pull it out and replace or overhaul it. Have a good look at the halyard and replace it if you have chafed it badly. Then carefully pull it back in place, avoiding any twist and making sure that it goes in the right way. If you feel resistance when it's going back in, stop and investigate.

That should do it. If it doesn't do it, then something was bent or displaced inside the mast when it was pulled, or else the halyard somehow got routed in the wrong way, and the mast will need to come back out again to rectify, unless you're willing to go with external halyards. Sometimes
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Old 20-03-2014, 05:37   #6
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

This sure sounds like a problem with the sheave as I think you are saying that there is much resistance when a load is applied. I'm assuming from your comment about being worn out by raising the sail that this high load occurs for much/most of the hoist? Consider pulling the sheave to inspect it.
I suppose there's a scenario where the halyard is caught around something inside the mast and becomes tight when load is applied. Was the halyard removed when the mast was out of the boat? Hmmm. If it was, I'd consider pulling the halyard completely out and rethreading it with a tag line as Beetle suggests. (ie don't use a messenger-using a messenger, the halyard would go back the same way it came out, including the same problems.)
You should be able to inspect essentially 100% of the halyard by pulling it out of the mast as far as the tail will allow; you could use a messenger to facilitate this.
Good luck.
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Old 20-03-2014, 06:37   #7
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

I've seen a similar problem
Caused by a "Proud" rivet where halyard exits
mast. Not only did this cause issues when hoisting
The main but quickly destroyed the halyard.
I'd also look at all sail slugs, just one twisted 180
Will make for a real issue and not that hard to do
Happy and Safe Sailing to All
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Old 20-03-2014, 07:15   #8
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

Is the Halyard all rope or a wire rope spliced to Yacht Braid?
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Old 20-03-2014, 07:15   #9
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

What boat is this happening on?
Some models of Catalina had a flat c-shaped piece of metal attached to the sheave at the top of the mast. I believe the purpose was to prevent the halyard from jumping off the sheave.
It is possible to accidentally install the halyard on the outside of that piece of metal rather than routing it between the piece of metal and the sheave. This results in increased effort and chafe.
The piece of metal was located low enough that it's not that easy to see when at the top of the mast.
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Old 20-03-2014, 07:54   #10
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

My Catalina is fine, this is happening on my Spirit.
Perchance: the line is rope braided wire at sail
Time: rivets all clean and cleared (according to my maint guy)
Dale: sheaves don't turn at mast head nor at block down below. Working those hasn't improved much...but doubt it would make it THIS difficult. Still working it though.
Dock head: will do the messanger line again on Sat. Tried already with smaller gauged line, and no issues. Even under 0 load (no sail, the line won't go up).
Jim: stuck either with sail or not.
Beetle: did that about 7 months ago and can't afford another mast step. Did all the inspections you suggested here, and still lost.

So, would you all suggest a simple option is to just mount two blocks (top of mast and one at step) on outside of mast? Is this safe? Has anyone done it? Without spending $$$$ I feel this is my best option until winter when I have less sailing time. Thoughts?
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Old 20-03-2014, 08:06   #11
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

I suspect you have one or more broken wires on your halyard. I experienced the same problem you describe and it turned out to be two broken wires but since they were inside the mast you couldn't see them. The sail was a bear to raise but easy to haul down.
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Old 20-03-2014, 08:18   #12
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

Do you mean in the core of the line or at the head attachment? I don't see anything externally and I really hope that isnt it as I spend a few bucks on that damned line and its fairly new.
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Old 20-03-2014, 09:32   #13
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

I am referring to the wire rope inside the mast. The only way to sure is to put a light messenger on the Halyard and pull it out as was suggested earlier
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Old 20-03-2014, 12:10   #14
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

If there are tangles with other internal lines, then you will need to pull the halyard out. You can attach a messenger line, but when running the halyard down again, do NOT use the messneger line. A new unblocked path needs to be found. You can attatch a length on bicycle chain to an light messenger line and fish it out where the halyard exits the mast at deck level. If all else fails, you still have you original messenger line to fall back on.
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Old 20-03-2014, 12:33   #15
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Re: Halyard stuck inside mast

If your sheaves are not turning, this is your trouble. I have a frozen sheave on my jig halyard at the top of the mast and it makes hoisting extreamly difficult, must use the winch. I have roller furling so it's only a problem once a year. Sail comes down easy but hoisting starts hard and gets worse as the sail gets higher and weight increases.
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