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Old 11-10-2017, 12:05   #1
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Line Clutch for Halyards

On my 28 foot sloop, there is currently a mast-mounted wire rope winch for the main halyard, and a mast-mounted standard sheet winch for the jib.

Can I convert to 3/8" polyester line for both, and use a Garhauer double line clutch two feet above the standard winch, and lose the wire rope winch?

This would appear to simplify things.
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Old 11-10-2017, 13:13   #2
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

You can switch to single braid Dyneema, etc in the same diameter as the wire for the reel winch. Don't know how much luck you'll have with a clutch on that slippery line, however.

Sounds like you are going to run external halyards down the same side of the mast rather than either side. It would probably work but you'll have a lot of lines on the same side of the mast if you also have a spinnaker halyard as well.

Rather than 3/8" line, I'd go with 5/16" dyneema, etc cored, dacron covered line. Plenty strong and reasonably friendly to the hands for the little time you actually have to handle it and you'll be using the winch when you really have to reef on it.
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:20   #3
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
You can switch to single braid Dyneema, etc in the same diameter as the wire for the reel winch. Don't know how much luck you'll have with a clutch on that slippery line, however.

Sounds like you are going to run external halyards down the same side of the mast rather than either side. It would probably work but you'll have a lot of lines on the same side of the mast if you also have a spinnaker halyard as well.

Rather than 3/8" line, I'd go with 5/16" dyneema, etc cored, dacron covered line. Plenty strong and reasonably friendly to the hands for the little time you actually have to handle it and you'll be using the winch when you really have to reef on it.


I was thinking I'd have a fairlead or guide a couple feet above the clutch, mounted around the mast 45 degrees; the main and jib halyards are fore & aft. Will that small dyneema work ok with the clutch?
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:28   #4
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

You will probably have to change out the sheave at the masthead if converting the main halyard. You'd need to go up there and check what you've got.
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:33   #5
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

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You will probably have to change out the sheave at the masthead if converting the main halyard. You'd need to go up there and check what you've got.

I saw that - but they're made of phenolic and easily turned on a lathe to broaden the groove to accommodate up to 3/8.
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:36   #6
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

By the way, can anyone tell me why, on a small boat like mine, why wire rope would be favored for the main?
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:28   #7
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

Wire rope used to be popular, as it was the best option before high tech lines became widely available.

I'm using Garhauer clutches for the reefing tack and clew lines, no problems at all.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:32   #8
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

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By the way, can anyone tell me why, on a small boat like mine, why wire rope would be favored for the main?
Good question. Many of us who have circa-1970 to 1980 boats have either rope tails on SS wire rope (spliced or nicopress and thimble), or all-wire halyards. Before the very high modulus materials like Spectra, Technora, PBO, etc, your primary choice was polyester (too much stretch) or wire (not fun to handle). Wire also had the advantage that for external halyards, it had less windage.

The development of Kevlar, then other high modulus materials allowed riggers to use fiber rope for the halyards, guys, sheets and other applications where before it was necessary to use wire.

I think you're on the right track. It's relatively easy to either order or create a "stripped cover" halyard which has no cover on the core until it gets to a foot or two of the clutch or winch.

Your other option, which works well on a mainsail, is to use an even smaller diameter of a Spectra-cored line, with a small 2:1 block at the headboard and one end terminated at the masthead. This reduces the load on the halyard, and on the clutch.

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Old 12-10-2017, 11:34   #9
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

Or buy spectra line and add a cover on the last ten feet. It will save a few bucks.
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:48   #10
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

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Originally Posted by TreblePlink View Post
By the way, can anyone tell me why, on a small boat like mine, why wire rope would be favored for the main?
It was a racing low stretch thing. Yes you can convert. You may need to peek at the sheaves in the top of the mast, many of them are wire /rope sheaves and good to go, but some are not. I would never use Dyneema for halyards or sheets, too hard on the hands and slick.
Good rope clutches are expensive. If I were you I would buy a winch for the Main halyard side. Many boats are setup with the main on one side and Jib winch on the other which is nice. A proper winch used or new shouldnt be too expensive for your 28 footer.
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Old 12-10-2017, 12:10   #11
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

If I went with 3/8" Sta-set or similar polyester, how much stretch could I expect over the 30 foot run? Would it create any significant problem if I'm not racing?
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Old 12-10-2017, 12:18   #12
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

Save that wire winch, they were usually bronze and look great on the bar.

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Old 12-10-2017, 12:34   #13
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

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By the way, can anyone tell me why, on a small boat like mine, why wire rope would be favored for the main?
Hardly any stretch and there is no mess on deck to hank up - assuming the wire sits inside one of those bell shaped thingies. Dyneema hasn't been around forever. Wire mainsail halyards were the most common style until around 1990.
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Old 12-10-2017, 12:34   #14
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

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If I went with 3/8" Sta-set or similar polyester, how much stretch could I expect over the 30 foot run? Would it create any significant problem if I'm not racing?
No problem at all. In fact few racers use wire anymore.
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Old 12-10-2017, 12:56   #15
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Re: Line Clutch for Halyards

Thanks folks for excellent answers.

Chris
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