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Old 25-06-2016, 08:26   #1
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New Rope Halyards

I need to replace my existing halyards that are currently wire-to-rope. Currently the wire is 6mm and is connected to 12mm rope. My sheaves are setup for wire and/or rope as long as I keep a similar size. I'm looking to go with all rope in 1/2" diameter. The halyards are for the main sail, jib, and a forestay halyard.
Does anyone have recommendations on what brand or type rope to go with. I'm not sure of how much strength is needed in these areas. I've looked at Staset X and Dyneema but the strengths are far apart as well as costs. The Staset X breaking strength is 9700# vs 21k# in Dyneema in 1/2" diameter. Thanks


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Old 25-06-2016, 08:56   #2
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Re: New Rope Halyards

You can just replace the wire with dyneema and continue to use the existing rope portion, no need to change sheves in the mast.
I just did that, I used 4 mm dyneema and the existing rope portions as they were in good shape still. The dyneema was less than a dollar a foot, splices are simple and I made "better soft shackles" for the sails. Been using for a couple of weeks now and working great, best of all no clanging of wire on mast.
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Old 25-06-2016, 09:19   #3
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Re: New Rope Halyards

Sta Set X has been reported to be among the worst lines ever made. Poor hand, stiff...all the worst characteristics of any line you may choose.
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Old 25-06-2016, 10:52   #4
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Re: New Rope Halyards

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Originally Posted by glenn.225 View Post
You can just replace the wire with dyneema and continue to use the existing rope portion, no need to change sheves in the mast.
I just did that, I used 4 mm dyneema and the existing rope portions as they were in good shape still. The dyneema was less than a dollar a foot, splices are simple and I made "better soft shackles" for the sails. Been using for a couple of weeks now and working great, best of all no clanging of wire on mast.
What splice did you use between the dyneema and the existing tails?
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Old 25-06-2016, 12:17   #5
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Re: New Rope Halyards

Fish bait,

You will need to replace the sheaves. Even if the sizing will work wire created burs on them that can pretty quickly eat thru line.

As for size... It depends on the boat. 6mm 316 7x19 stainless wire rope has a MBL of about 6,000lbs. I would match this with dyneema. So 5/16 endurabraid would be about right (7,000 MBL). There is no need to go up to 1/2" unless you just want to, but there are good reasons no to. Cost, weight, and friction being amongst the major issues.
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Old 25-06-2016, 13:31   #6
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Re: New Rope Halyards

Stumble's advice is good stuff, as always. To add to it though. Usually 3/8" line is about the smallest which is easy to grip under load, but try various sizes for yourself to check. And if you're using self-tailing winches, check to see what size line diameters they'll accept. As on ones which aren't relatively new, the self-tailing jaws won't grip some of the smaller diameter lines popular nowadays, like the slender, Dyneema cored ones.

Also, prior to switching to all rope halyards, especially high $ ones. You'd be well served to inspect every place that the new halyards might ever possibly come into contact with, for burrs, scoring, or rough edges. So that the new halyards don't inadvertently wind up getting chewed up.
As wire halyard are notorious for maiming their; sheaves, sheave exit boxes, etc. All of which isn't necessarily easily viewable or inspectable without fully disassembling the spar, nor from deck level.

Plus, when I do such a conversion, if at all possible, I'll first run a piece of older (semi-disposable) line, in place of the old halyards, after the conversion. So that if I missed a sharp edge somewhere, it becomes evident on the less important piece of line, rather than chewing up $3+/ft stuff.
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Old 25-06-2016, 14:47   #7
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Re: New Rope Halyards

There is no problem using the wire/rope sheaves in the mast. Should look at the sheaves and smooth any problem areas but doubt that you would find any. Have personally sailed over 10,000 passage miles with the wire/rope sheaves and my old boat has done triple that mileage after I sold her without any problems.

For the main, would go with a Dyneema/Spectra cored line in 3/8" or 7/16". !/2" would be way way way over strength and a waste of money unless you have a maxi yacht. With a furler, stretch is not a big issue for jibs so ordinary double braid should suffice, 1/2" for feel or 7/16" to cut down some on the bulk. Personally like a bit of stretch in spinnaker halyards to take shock loads so would also go with double braid for that. Might look at NE Ropes VPC for your halyards. It's a cheaper form of the exotic line with less stretch than dacron but more than the exotic cored lines. Don't like StaSet X because it gets quite stiff with age. For a roller furler halyard that you'll seldom hand might work okay but I ditched the nearly new StaSet X halyards that the PO had installed after a short time.

Wish posters would put their boat in their profile or at least mention the boat's size when asking for advice. Big difference what's needed on a 50' vice a 25' one.
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Old 25-06-2016, 15:11   #8
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Re: New Rope Halyards

Uncivilized advice to do use a sacrificial test line to check for hidden burrs or sharp edges that may cause issues is a good idea. It's not necessarily the fault of the wire halyards but that wire can live with conditions that rope can't. Lost the jib halyard on a brand new mast on the passage to the Marquesas. Boat had been daysailed for about a month with the new mast with no problems but the halyard broke the 2nd day of the passage. Fortunately had a backup external halyard. The internal main halyard never had any problems. Issue was probably at the spreaders but never did discover what caused it and stuck with the external halyard. To find problems you'll probably have to pull the halyard completely out to inspect it along it's whole length. The problem may only occur when the halyard is tensioned which may not be visible unless pulled out of the mast.
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Old 25-06-2016, 16:22   #9
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Re: New Rope Halyards

Great advise from everyone. The boat is a 42' Contest built in Holland. I'm planning on taking the mast down in a week or so and I'll certainly inspect the sheaves but they seem in good condition from initial inspections going up the mast. The wire portion of the halyard isn't in bad shape but rather the rope is getting aged. Since I'll have an opportunity while the mast is down I was thinking of going to all rope since the new stuff is extremely strong. Wasn't sure about the strength of wire so thanks for that info. I'd like the 3/8 or 7/16 but wasn't sure how it would ride in the sheaves especially since they have the wire halyard groove in it. I wouldn't want it to get pinched by being too small. Attached is a pic of the sheaves at the exit of the mast at the winches. I don't currently have self-tailers so size wouldn't be an issue on that.
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Old 25-06-2016, 20:47   #10
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Re: New Rope Halyards

You'd more than likely be okay with something like 3/8" Warpspeed, or simlar. I've used it on race boats of the same size, which had high righting moments, & thus, highly loaded sails & control lines. Though if you can find the funds 7/16" might be preferable. Except on a full blown racer of that size, looking to shave weight up high, it's what I'd use.
And, yes, you'll need to change out your sheaves.
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Old 25-06-2016, 23:28   #11
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Re: New Rope Halyards

Stepped sheaves like you have are not intended to be used with the rope being loaded. If the wire/rope halyard is made correctly there should never be much load on the rope when it's in contact with the channel. Switching to all rope without changing the sheave will obviously toss this out the window.

The upside is a call to ZephyrWorks and about $30 and you can order a new one.
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Old 26-06-2016, 08:19   #12
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Re: New Rope Halyards

Quote:
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What splice did you use between the dyneema and the existing tails?
I just used a Locked Brummel Splice from New England Ropes splicing guide. Put a small eye in each end and used the eye in existing halyard to link to, produces a reef knot (of sorts).
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Old 26-06-2016, 08:47   #13
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Re: New Rope Halyards

When we were in Sydney, Australia, I had replacement halyards made for our Contest 48 and we stayed with wire-to-rope. No need to replace sheaves and no worries about chafe. The weight difference on a boat like ours is insignificant. The rigger who fabricated the halyards is a first-rate craftsman and did a superb job. We've put about 11,000 hard sailing miles on since then and the halyards still show no signs of wear.

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Old 26-06-2016, 12:55   #14
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Re: New Rope Halyards

One last time, YOU DON'T NEED TO REPLACE THE SHEAVES. There is no significant wear on the halyards with the duplex sheaves. Have sailed more than 10,000 miles, a cruise to Tahiti and back, solo to Hawaii from SF, up and down the California coast and countless days sails with rope halyards in duplex sheaves with never a problem.

If you are switching from wire to rope, would inspect the sheaves for any spots where the wire may have bunged them up. Doubt if you'll find anything serious enough to warrant getting a file out. Current boat sailed for 35 years with wire halyards and sheaves were just fine. Took the mast down recently to dp a little maintenance and switch to internal halyards so I could have a spare external halyard. Took the masthead apart and carefully inspected the aluminum sheaves. The sheaves were in fine shape so I reinstalled them. The halyards also had no signs of chafe where they lived at the masthead under sail. This is on a boat that I'd TransPac'd from SF already so had plenty of opportunity for chafe on the halyards to show up.
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Old 26-06-2016, 13:42   #15
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Re: New Rope Halyards

I am surprised that only one post talked about "STRETCH" in the line, especially when talking about Halyards.

Wire/Rope Halyards were made to limit the stretch in the Halyards. The wire took most of the stain and the remaining line was used to wrap around the windless. This was done because most lines 20 years ago had a lot of stretch in them.

With new lines, that is no longer an issue and why you seldom see wire/rope halyards any longer.

Whatever you decide, you want a LOW STRETCH LINE for halyards, regardless if you stay with or go away from wire.

Although someone poo-pooed Sta-Set, I think it is OK for cruising. Obviously if you are racing, V-100 or the other high tech lines would be better, but more expensive.

As far as replacing the sheaves, most rope/wire halyards have no real load on them until the wire portion has reached the Sheave. If you load up the rope on a sheave designed for wire, it will create friction and at a minimum lower the life of your halyard and at worst, cause serve chafe/break the line.

Looking at your picture, I will bet your old sheaves are made of a plastic composite and do not have ball bearings. They just have a hole turning on the clevis pin, which also causes friction and chafe.

For my two cents of advise... If you you are going to all line halyards, change the sheaves, especially since you will have the mast on the ground.
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