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Old 28-02-2014, 09:57   #16
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Re: Main Halyard Question

I also believe that a good quality double-braid polyester halyard is fine for a non-performance cruising cat. One thing to watch out for is any suggestions from your chandlery that by using spectra, you can go to a slightly thinner line than with polyester. While this is technically true from a strength standpoint, it can lead to other issues. I have a friend who took up this advice and discovered that his new, thinner spectra halyards were too small to be held by his line clutches!

The OP's description of his existing halyards being 'shaggy' sounds to me as if they should be replaced. If the existing halyards have a braided eye (as is likely), they cannot be readily reversed.

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Old 28-02-2014, 10:10   #17
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Re: Main Halyard Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Did you read this? Have you ever sailed on a boat with Dyneema halyards?

I have. Big racing boats with tall rigs. It's hard to discern, because you are constantly adjusting halyard tension anyway with changes in points of sail or changes in wind strength, but I am sure I can recall an occasion or two when I have been asked to repeatedly add main halyard tension on long beats to windward with consistent wind and seas.

Additionally, I have had to adjust the lashings twice on my Dyneema lifelines to maintain proper tension and yet my boat has not gotten any shorter.

If this is does not functionally or practically constitute "stretch" than I don't know what does. If racing boats were only concerned with low stretch they would use 7 x 7 stainless steel wire rope halyards, but they don't do they?

Racing boats want to go fast, because of this their preference is to limit weight aloft. The fact that Dyneema does stretch or creep or deform or elongate or whatever you want to call it is immaterial to racing boats because they are constantly adjusting halyards anyway.

Depending on the size of the boat there is a crew position known as "the pit" and besides being rail meat, all you do all day long is raise, lower, or adjust tension on the halyards. Yes, I have been a pit guy before.
Yes and yes to your questions. Our boat uses Vectran halyards (and I have sailed on high-tech big racing machines also).

Like I said, stretch is dynamic - think bungie. Creep is static - it goes in one direction only. Yes, these lines do creep, but they don't shorten back up again. As you have found with your lifelines. Creep and stretch are two different properties caused by different reasons - both functionally and practically.

Racing boats are concerned with stretch because the loads on their sails are very high and very dynamic. While they do constantly adjust halyard tension as one means of adjusting shape, they want that tension to be exact and constant. To the point of having index marks that they know exactly will be correct. That is why they are using dyneema.

7x7 SS wire is relatively stretchy. More so than sta-set and other common braids. It would be a bad choice for both weight and stretch reasons.

Again, ask any of your racing friends how they would choose between a high-stretch (+10%) but lower weight (-10%) halyard and a low stretch but higher weight halyard (same %).

But to the OP's question, reducing weight aloft by a total of 3-4lbs is inconsequential. He could reduce weight a bit more by going to very small high strength halyards, but he would have to replace all of his rope clutches and possibly his winches to compensate. For him, it comes down to solely price as the big difference, as functionality will not be noticeably different.

Mark
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Old 28-02-2014, 10:25   #18
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Re: Main Halyard Question

I went to a bowline in lieu of spliced eyes etc on my last few boats. Worked fine on a 44, 47 mono and 42 cat.
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Old 28-02-2014, 11:37   #19
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Re: Main Halyard Question

Delancy,

I used to be the maintenance guy and paid racing crew on a 70' Andrews Carbon Fiber turbo sled, with a 115' tall mast. Trust me when I tell you creep was not part of our calculations on halyards (even with a 2:1 main). Further I doubt that anyone on any sailboat has ever had to deal with creep as a limiting factor on halyards (standing rigging is a different story). Because the creep rate on dyneema is so slow at usage loads clutch slip is going to be a much more likely culprit of any easing of the line.

So how slow is it and what's the measured increase in line leingth. Creep is both time and load dependent, but assuming a measured load (halyard tension) of 20% of the MBL of the selected line it would take 5 years to cause an elongation of 2%. Or an increase in line leingth of .03% a month.

But remember this assumes a permanent static load applied for five years. And a load that is far in excess of what most cruisers, heck even most hard core racers would apply to their line.

Again, just as an example, on the Andrews we typically carried about 1,000lbs of load on the main halyard, and ran 12mm endurabraid (21,000lbs MBL) as the halyard. So a little less than 5% load not the 20% from above. Since creep increases exponentially with load I doubt we could have measured the elongation, and even DSM doesn't have creep numbers for loads that light. The lowest load application they have tested says that after 15,000 hours (about 2 years) at 15% MBL they couldn't measure a difference in line length.

Since most cruisers deck gear has a MBL of <1,000lbs, I highly doubt that they could even apply a high enough load to induce creep, or at least at a measurable speed.
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Old 28-02-2014, 11:45   #20
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Re: Main Halyard Question

Hitec lines are slippery and knots weaken them more than conventional line. The slipperiness means you have to leave adequate tail on any knot. Unless you are sizing the line to the limit, the knots won't have all that much effect on the strength of the line in use.

Would suggest using a buntline hitch rather than a bowline to counteract the tendency of the line to shed knots. Used a buntline hitch on the sail to Hawaii with my Dyneema main halyard without any problems. Have been securing lines to whatever with bowlines and buntline hitches on my boats for a loooonnngggg time and many thousands of miles of sailing. Shackles hurt when they hit you and will even draw blood if they conk you on the head, btdt, add weight where you don't need it, and cost a lot of money. They also keep you from adjusting wear points and end for ending lines. Ditch the shackles for running rigging. For standing rigging or where ultimate strength is necessary, Brummel splices are the only way to go with hitec lines, however.

I really like the low stretch of the Dyneema main halyard. Especially nice when climbing using the Mast Climber as the lack of stretch makes climbing way more efficient and less work. A compromise line from New England Ropes is XPS. It's got a Vectran blend core for less stretch than straight Dacron but lower cost than full hitec line. StaSet X is there full Dacron low stretch line. The core is parallel fibers not braided. Not my favorite line as it's a bit stiff.
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Old 28-02-2014, 13:03   #21
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Re: Main Halyard Question

Additional things to consider. Double braid lines carry nominally half the working load with the core and half with the cover. So, if your cover is getting ratty, you can expect that the load carrying capacity of the line is also being compromised. The high tech cored lines (dyneema, vectran, etc) carry the load primarily with the core vs cover. The cover does play the role of helping hold the line in cleats, clutches, winches, etc. So as the cover gets ratty it may not be as much an issue. As for stretch, everything is relative, but making the move from a typical double braid line to a blended cored high tech line really does make a noticeable difference in highly loaded halyards - you don't have to go all the way to pure high tech lines to get some benefit. With a 2:1 halyard on your main or screecher, while you have less load due to the 2:1, you also have 2X the length of line making for 2X the available stretch. As someone else said, also consider the rope clutch being used when sizing your halyards. The holding power of the clutch is a function of the rope diameter, so don't go too small just because you can achieve a greater SWL with a smaller diameter high tech line.

On our 50' catamaran we use a blended vectran cored high tech line for our halyards that have high static loads (Main and Headsails). We use a dyneema cored line for our spin halyard. And we use dyneema blended cored lines for our running rigging, except for our spin sheets which are dyneema so we could use smaller diameter lines. I selected lines that both felt good on my hand and had covers that held up well in our clutches. And we selected the size of the line (7/16") to provide maximum holding power for the rope clutches we are using.
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Old 28-02-2014, 14:22   #22
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Re: Main Halyard Question

Never said I wasn't here to learn!

http://www.colligomarine.com/docs/misc/DynexDuxFAQ.pdf
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Old 28-02-2014, 14:25   #23
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Re: Main Halyard Question

Err, Austin, while I agree with much of your post, when using a 2:1 halyard, once hoisted and loaded you don't have twice the length of cordage to stretch... only a small increment in the tackle at the head of the sail. The length down the mast (the part that stretches) is still the same length as in a 1:1 halyard, so the 2:1 does help reduce stretch.

Cheers,

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Old 28-02-2014, 14:34   #24
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Re: Main Halyard Question

The 2:1 also reduces mast compression by 25%, which is nice on performance boats but not normally important on cruisers.
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Old 28-02-2014, 15:42   #25
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Re: Main Halyard Question

There's a lot of great info here if I wanted to race...thanks, it's very interesting reading. However I'm a single handed cruiser...I hoist the main and don't touch the halyard again until I change a reef. Sometimes I sail for 2 days without even adjusting sheets.

It sounds like I should replace my main halyard and I'm going to stay with the current 12mm diameter. In Brisbane (where I am right now getting my boat ready to return to the islands) chandleries have a choice of 2 ropes....spectra at $11/m or double braid polyester at $3.30.

I gather from reading all your comments that for my application (set and forget cruising) double braid polyester would be suitable. Hope I've got that right?
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Old 28-02-2014, 15:46   #26
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Re: Main Halyard Question

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Originally Posted by Cruisin Cat View Post
There's a lot of great info here if I wanted to race...thanks, it's very interesting reading. However I'm a single handed cruiser...I hoist the main and don't touch the halyard again until I change a reef. Sometimes I sail for 2 days without even adjusting sheets.

It sounds like I should replace my main halyard and I'm going to stay with the current 12mm diameter. In Brisbane (where I am right now getting my boat ready to return to the islands) chandleries have a choice of 2 ropes....spectra at $11/m or double braid polyester at $3.30.

I gather from reading all your comments that for my application (set and forget cruising) double braid polyester would be suitable. Hope I've got that right?
I would use double braid for a cruising boat. Much easier to handle.
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Old 28-02-2014, 15:59   #27
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Re: Main Halyard Question

Jim,

Thanks for clarifying my comment re: 2:1.
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Old 28-02-2014, 17:01   #28
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Re: Main Halyard Question

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Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
The 2:1 also reduces mast compression by 25%, which is nice on performance boats but not normally important on cruisers.
Only if the halyard is led to the cockpit. If cleated to the mast then the compression is the same.
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Old 28-02-2014, 17:26   #29
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Re: Main Halyard Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisin Cat View Post
There's a lot of great info here if I wanted to race...thanks, it's very interesting reading. However I'm a single handed cruiser...I hoist the main and don't touch the halyard again until I change a reef. Sometimes I sail for 2 days without even adjusting sheets.

It sounds like I should replace my main halyard and I'm going to stay with the current 12mm diameter. In Brisbane (where I am right now getting my boat ready to return to the islands) chandleries have a choice of 2 ropes....spectra at $11/m or double braid polyester at $3.30.

I gather from reading all your comments that for my application (set and forget cruising) double braid polyester would be suitable. Hope I've got that right?
I would probably go with a smaller (say 10mm endurabraid) which should have a similar hand feel, and be closer in price to the double braid. But I have no idea what relative prices would be for you. Here in the states it cost me about 5% more to switch to dyneema of a smaller size than keep the same size sta-set.
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Old 28-02-2014, 19:42   #30
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Re: Main Halyard Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisin Cat View Post
There's a lot of great info here if I wanted to race...thanks, it's very interesting reading. However I'm a single handed cruiser...I hoist the main and don't touch the halyard again until I change a reef. Sometimes I sail for 2 days without even adjusting sheets.

It sounds like I should replace my main halyard and I'm going to stay with the current 12mm diameter. In Brisbane (where I am right now getting my boat ready to return to the islands) chandleries have a choice of 2 ropes....spectra at $11/m or double braid polyester at $3.30.

I gather from reading all your comments that for my application (set and forget cruising) double braid polyester would be suitable. Hope I've got that right?
You might give Emmet Ropes in Tingalpa a call for a quote on various bits of cordage. His prices are WAY lower than Whitworths et al, especially on longer lengths, and he can supply most sorts of modern line. We've used this vendor for some time now and had good luck and good prices.

Cheers,

Jim
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