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Old 16-08-2009, 08:03   #1
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New to Sailing and I Have a Problem

I am brand new to sailing and have had only two days of sailing classes. I recently purchased a 27 Hunter from a gentleman who owned the boat for only 3 years and was almost as green as I am. I suppose looking back I should have had him raise the sails to be sure everything was working properly but the boat in general is in excellent condition. However now I have a problem. With the help of a local sailor we attempted to raise the jib on a furling system. We were able to raise however the line in the drum was jammed and we could not fully roll the sail. We ran out of time for the day and he was not sure how to unjam so we hand wrapped the sail and tied it so it would not blow in the wind. Step two I did some online research and found a solution to that problem however after lowing the jib we were then not able to pull the halyard back up. It seems to be catching or is off track at the top of the mast. So we folded and stored the jib and his suggestion is to either hoist my son to the top of the mast to see what is wrong or take to a near by boat yard to have addressed. Anyone have any idea what could have gone wrong and are those my to options? We still haven't unjammed the line in the drum either. I have had the boat for 3 weeks and have yet to sail. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 16-08-2009, 08:45   #2
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difficult to tell what is going on from your description. The halyard sticking is the bigger problem as you need to be able to see what is happening in the sheeves at the top of the mast. one way is as you say to send a monkey up the mast, but it may be faster and easier to have the mast taken off so that you can look at both problems at the same time. Thus a quick trip to your nearest boatyard seems inevitable.

Make sure you are there when they do this so that you can find out what has gone wrong.
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Old 16-08-2009, 09:02   #3
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Pulling the mast is going to cost you some bucks. You might end up having to do it anyhow, but I think it would be worth a trip up the mast just to see what's going on up there. Could be the halyard has simply jumped out of the sheave and jammed. If the halyard is weathered and stretched to a smaller diameter that could easily happen.

Have you diagnosed the cause of the jammed furler? If it's simply an override in the line and not a mechanical problem with the drum, you're in luck. Not keeping a little tension on the furling line when unfurling the sail can cause an override jam.

BTW, welcome to the Forum. Hope you enjoy yourself here!
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Old 16-08-2009, 09:03   #4
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Hi, and welcome to the forum.

One of the books that I highly recommend and will become your stalwart friend is Nigel Calder's "Boatowner's Electrical and Mechanical Manual." Not a cheap book (get the hardcover, you'll use it a lot), but has enough detail on most topics that you'll be able to at least understand what you're dealing with and develop a strategy for fixing it.

I agree with Talbot, sounds like for some reason the halyard/sheeve is not working properly. Might be simple, might not. Only way to tell is to get up there and look.

You do want to get a good working knowledge of your masthead. Lots happens up there. Obviously, going up the mast is something you want to do with great care, since a fall would be very, very bad. Proper bosun's chair, safety line, spotter on deck, etc. I suggest you have someone who's experienced there with you.

It could be simple, like jumping a track (though, there shouldn't be enough room for a slack halyard to totally miss the track when tensioned) or more complicated, like a broken sheeve.

Let us know what happens.

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Old 16-08-2009, 09:15   #5
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There are a couple answers/solutions

Quote:
Originally Posted by prissypatty View Post
I am brand new to sailing and have had only two days of sailing classes. I recently purchased a 27 Hunter from a gentleman who owned the boat for only 3 years and was almost as green as I am. I suppose looking back I should have had him raise the sails to be sure everything was working properly but the boat in general is in excellent condition. However now I have a problem. With the help of a local sailor we attempted to raise the jib on a furling system. We were able to raise however the line in the drum was jammed and we could not fully roll the sail. We ran out of time for the day and he was not sure how to unjam so we hand wrapped the sail and tied it so it would not blow in the wind. Step two I did some online research and found a solution to that problem however after lowing the jib we were then not able to pull the halyard back up. It seems to be catching or is off track at the top of the mast. So we folded and stored the jib and his suggestion is to either hoist my son to the top of the mast to see what is wrong or take to a near by boat yard to have addressed. Anyone have any idea what could have gone wrong and are those my to options? We still haven't unjammed the line in the drum either. I have had the boat for 3 weeks and have yet to sail. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Questions 1st:
1-Is Your halyard a combination wire/rope?
2-Does this Halyard run all the way to the top of the masthead?
3-What "overall" condition are Your halyards?

Answers:
1-If it's (Your headsail/jib halyard) a combination halyard, the wire portion may EITHER be worn, or Not long enough causing it to be jammed up at the sheaves (pulleys In the Top of the mast)
2-The sheaves may be bad, as in overly worn,
3-The line (whether wire or rope) may have "jumped off track" of that Sheave in the masthead...again a problem of worn sheaves, or their securing pins (like little axles that the wheels turn on) and gotten "wedged in" on either side of same...all the "tugging" in the world is only going to make it Worse.

The Repair is easy, aside the location.
A bosun's chair & an assistant (along with an absent fear of heights) will be necessary. Tools required are a rubber mallet, medium ball pein hammer, pair of needle nose plyers, phillips & slotted screwdrivers, a can of corrosion block/corrosion "x", a pair of adjustable wrenches(just in case), a couple small punches along w/a fair assortment of small to medium cotter pins.

You'll need the assistant to raise You up the mast on the main halyard to a suitable height to see and service the problem. Secure the safety line to somewhere on the masthead (Never TRUST only the halyard to keep You where You are...it's a long way down to the spreaders, and much further to the deck).
Inspect and verify the problem. If it's the halyard, so be it. IF it's the sheave, so be it, if the pin, You get the drift...My recommendation is to always replace Everything. It's due. That "axle" sheave pin is secured in place 1 of 2 ways. It's either a nut/bolt assembly(ergo the 2 adjustable wrenches) or it's a pin assembly with washers and cotter pin securing same (ergo the needle nose pliers). Remove it (You'll have to for Either Replacement of sheave OR Replacement of Halyard). You may need the hammer(s) &/or punches to drive out the pin if it's seen no service previously. Gently! Look and measure to make sure the Mail Sail halyard (that You're hanging on) as well as it's sheave and pin are exactly the same as the headsail halyard configuration, then get lowered back down.

Go to Your local marine store (or call Hunter direct w/Hull ID Number in Alachua, FL.:
Hunter Marine Corporation
www.huntermarine.com

14700 US Highway 441
Alachua, FL 32615-8532
(386) 462-3077

and find out/order the replacement parts (also get a replacement LED Anchor light BULB)

Connect w/Your friend/assistant again and repeat the process in reverse to reinstall the updated/new parts. Add a liberal coating of the "corrosion prevention product (as they are both an elcellent lubricant as well) to the entire masthead area, including the sheaves You're hanging from as in Main vs. headsail. IF secured by cotter pin(s), put a nice 360 degree twist on both ends once installed so there's no chance of it chafing anything up there. IF You have a masthead mounted VHF or other antenna(s), remove the PL259(or other) connection(s), spray both ends(inside) with the corrosion product and reinstall. Now whip out either the phillips(most likely) or slotted screwdriver and remove the cover & lens over the anchor light fixture. Remove the bulb (push down & twist counter clockwise is the usual technique), spray receptacle with corrosion product, replace w/the new LED Version. Have Your assistant go flip the switch for it (w/the battery position at "ALL") and make sure that brand new bulb works! Reinstall the lens and cover. Then get lowered down to the spreaders, swap halyards on Your bosun's chair and get raised back up on the "new" headsail halyard...never forgetting to secure a safety line to the masthead) & repeat the sheave and pin process for the mainsail halyard sheaves as well.

The point was/is/ALWAYS WILL BE...if You're going UP the Mast...Do EVERYTHING while You're there, for next WEEK, if You Don't...that bulb will be burned out. The week after that the antenna connection will be a problem...get the picture?

YOU own a boat now...Murphy was an optimist. Fix it...You're probably the 1st person up there in at least 4-5 years...do it right, or don't bother borrowing somebody's bosun's chair. You'll sleep better at night, and sail more often, because You KNOW it was done RIGHT.

Get lowered back down to the deck.

Check to make sure it now functions properly.

Open two beers and celebrate.

(or go sailing)
(it doesn't have to be done in the order suggested, it SHOULD ALL Be done at once, while You're up there...& done right)

HTH,
-Mick (a rigger)
PS: contracting any "rigger" who does this work for You...IF they have to make more than TWO(2) trips up the mast...be afraid; very afraid...they are no rigger. We take MORE than we'd need of Everything we might even Possibly Need, every trip up...that's why bosun's chairs have ALL those pockets! For extended time/service aloft we bring our own well trained assistant, a service line to the deck and a small canvas "bucket" for anything unusual tool or part wise that we may need...they pull it from our tool box(es) and put it in the bucket (rough job, huh?) and we raise the bucket from the "tool/part" well and finish the task at hand. Going "up and down" is THE Most Dangerous part of the process; having been doing this for 30+ years, that trip is taken once, twice tops.
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Old 16-08-2009, 09:19   #6
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There is a good chance that the halyard problem is that the halyard is jammed in the sheave at the masthead. Sometimes this can be fixed by simply taking the end of the halyard and moving it about the foredeck with slack in the line to try to unjam it. If that does not work, then you need to get to the masthead to address the problem.

By the way, sometimes larger boats have more than one jib halyard, so check to see if your boat does.

Hoisting someone to the masthead to fix it would certainly be much less costly than taking the mast down in South Jersey. But if you try this, get a couple of people on the boat who know how to do this safely. It is not at all difficult as long as there is one good halyard (in this case, the main halyard) but doing it safely is crucial.

Also, ask around to see if there is a facility nearby that can be used to get to the masthead without taking the mast down. Example: a yacht club I know that focuses on small boat one design racing installed a telephone pole type rig on a pier that can be used to fix problems like yours by simply bring the boat alongside the pier, having someone climb the telephone pole, and heeling the boat so the masthead can be accessed by that person.

Unjamming the furling line should be a simple fix.

And before you take the mast down, if all else fails, call a local rigger. They often will be able to get themselves to the masthead to fix problems like yours, and at the same time look over your rig to see if there are any problems that need to be addressed.
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Old 16-08-2009, 09:28   #7
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CaptMick is right.

I only will add - tie lanyards to your tools.
They get in the way and slow you down but they will prevent nasty injury to the boat or your helper. A wrench falling and hitting the spreader first, while not traveling as fast, can certainly ricochet quite a distance toward your helper.
Be safe out (up) there!
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Old 16-08-2009, 09:35   #8
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WOW you really know your stuff. Thank you so much. My son doesn't have a fear of hights but is a powerboat guy and doesn't have a clue what he is looking out, this is going to be extremely helpful. He is mechanical so I am sure he can carry this out with the aide of one of my sailing neighbors here at the marina. Thank you again. What is your suggestion on how to unjam the override on the line in the furler drum?
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Old 16-08-2009, 09:35   #9
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Patty,

If the furler jam is an override, it just needs to be worked loose.

Immobilize the furler drum so you can pull on the line with some force. There should be a couple of holes, one in the drum and one in it's frame, that you can insert a carabiner or a piece of line through to keep it from rotating, at least there is on my Harken furler. Then work on pulling out the jam. Sometimes wetting the line will help. Gently pry it with something (not a screwdriver that would damage the line). Patience pays off. If all else fails, cut it loose and replace it.
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Old 16-08-2009, 09:52   #10
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Excellent Point so Basic it was OVERLOOKED!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
CaptMick is right.

I only will add - tie lanyards to your tools.
They get in the way and slow you down but they will prevent nasty injury to the boat or your helper. A wrench falling and hitting the spreader first, while not traveling as fast, can certainly ricochet quite a distance toward your helper.
Be safe out (up) there!
Therapy is absolutely right... all of our tools that could even possibly go aloft have a hole in them, loop installed, and snaplink connected (about 3 was found to be perfect long ago) to the chair...AS the tool comes out of a pocket, the loop/lanyard attached to it, get's snapped to it's own little "safety line". This further proves time saving if a free hand is needed, and digging in the pocket(s) for supplies is a further necessity...You to look like a hanging "set of wind chimes" up there sometimes (so has been heard previously), however not getting paid "by the hour", the goal is to safely and as expeditiously as POSSIBLE...get the job DONE. Deckhands while being a great "falling 'whatever' magnet", beautiful freshly refinished decks, toe/cap/grab rails (invariably TEAK) pull a tight second place and Davey Jones Locker (as in the "drink") for a tight third place as targets for those spreader deflected gravity & richochet controlled items. A rigger, experienced in such matters (like climbers yelling "rock") says (make that screams) "DOWN" folks on deck naturally LOOK down and cover their HEADS rather than "Up" to get that rubber mallet in the forehead.
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Old 16-08-2009, 10:26   #11
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Being about 100x simpler as access is available from the DECK!

Quote:
Originally Posted by prissypatty View Post
WOW you really know your stuff. Thank you so much. My son doesn't have a fear of hights but is a powerboat guy and doesn't have a clue what he is looking out, this is going to be extremely helpful. He is mechanical so I am sure he can carry this out with the aide of one of my sailing neighbors here at the marina. Thank you again. What is your suggestion on how to unjam the override on the line in the furler drum?
Patty, Hud's dead on. You can usually LOOK at the furler and pick up a name (maybe even model #/style from the maker) do a quick online search for THEIR website; they'll have exploded diagrams of how THEIR product gets assembled and disassembled. IF the drum turns freely Most of the way/time...that's a Very Good Thing (no bearing issues). It's just like Tangled Line in a WeedEater...You have a "Bind" where line has not been fed over and under itself and kinked, wedged against itself (like a "clove hitch"). Again, the result from pulling "harder" will only make the wedged problem MORE of one.

MOST (not all) drum furlers have the ability to remove the guard/shield from around the drum w/o complete disassembly. Take off the guard and unspool...You should be able to see where the kink is. When working with lines, I have several pairs of LONG needle nose pliers where the jaws have been lined with LEATHER...an impromtu version could be Duct Tape, just a small piece and keep it a VERY TIGHT application. Use those, and tug at a 90 degree angle, even a 180 degree angle to free up the "wedge" (just like tangled line in a fishing spool/reel). If the line appears once freed to "collapse" in places...replace it for sure. The part You see is only a woven jacket over the "real" rope/line that is it's interior. The interior is the strength, the exterior is for protection & to make it "look pretty"(no kidding). Interior damage is dealt with in only 1 way for a newbie...replace it.

Worst case senario, as Hud Also suggests, You Can get in there with a sharp knife and cut it ALL out of there, right down to the hub of the drum. Replace w/similar type and length, re-route through all the deck blocks tie a STOPPER Knot in the working end. A "stopper knot is Your basic overhand knot with the addition of one more pass thru the loops by the working end. Draw it tight and You'll never (hopefully) have to worry about that line going the other(wrong) way back through all the blocks again. Making little things RIGHT not only makes everything easier and Safer to use/operate, it makes sailing down right pleasurable.

Have fun during even the repairs...get frustrated? Go for a walk & come back...it helps. If Your son is mechanically inclined, that's (the BIG) half the battle. I still wouldn't suggest his attendance at the masthead, in a bosun's chair IF he doesn't know what he's looking at, or for, unless Your game plan (as suggested) is to simply replace EVERYTHING (which is best, especially on older, or poorly maintained...UP "THERE" specifically, vessels). It's NOT expensive, especially if You can find out the part dimensions, there's Loo's, riggingonly.com and a slew of other places where You can purchase the "OEM"(Factory Original...because they used Other Maker's Items anyway) for significantly Less than from the "factory". Know You are blessed (unlike most of us out here) that the maker/builder of Your Boat is STILL IN BUSINESS; most aren't.

-mick
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Old 16-08-2009, 10:32   #12
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We have a bridge at the end of our harbor, and we can take the boats down there and have someone stand on the bridge and work on the top of the mast--when it's calm.
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Old 16-08-2009, 10:41   #13
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More Help...........

one more excellent resource for all info "Hunter" Patty:
http://hunter.sailboatowners.com/

HTH, (just be sure & get Your 2nd opinions HERE! )
-Mick
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Old 16-08-2009, 13:17   #14
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Well, the drum is unjammed and now the halyard also seems to be fine, go figure. However now the wind has picked up so we attempt to raise and furl the jib next week. Thank you everyone for your help and advice.
Pat
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Old 16-08-2009, 23:57   #15
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This is going to sound super stupid.

A friend had a similar problem. The halyard he was hoisting with was the spin halyard and it would wrap everytime and jam the unit at the top.
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