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Old 11-11-2007, 15:08   #1
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Pad eye as a wire fairlead?

I'm getting ready (mentall and financially) to unstep my spar and do some work to it. I have a wire main halyard, which I'd like to keep, but the wire bounces against the mast and really bangs it up. There's a fairlead up there, and I imagine if I put a few more in place I could keep the damage to a minimum.

One guy had a nice setup with fairleads that are on little blocks. The blocks extend out maybe 2"; just enough to keep the wire away from the spar when there's a bit of slack in it.

Any ideas on this? And since it's a wire, I can just use stainless pad eyes, right?

Eric
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Old 11-11-2007, 15:53   #2
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I would imagine it's time to replace the wire halyard with Ultra Low Stretch (ULS). Wire was used when there was no alternative.

Now there is a material that has less than 5% stretch and wears like steel, and won't bang up anything. You'll also have less weight aloft.
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Old 11-11-2007, 16:00   #3
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Personally, I would avoid drilling holes in the mast at all cost.
Also, What if you want to use that halyard for something else? Bosons chair etc.

I realize that people drill holes in the mast for steps and all kinds of things. I personally don't like the idea.

I would also recommend going ULS.
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Old 11-11-2007, 18:06   #4
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Well, drilling into the mast is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" thing. I have a wooden spar, so it takes a lot of maintenance. Using a bosun's chair isn't practical (in my world) for inspection and recoating every few months, not to mention that you need to be at the spreaders to navigate around coral.

I'll check the ULS, but wire lasts for a long time, and I've seen line snap and stretch in only a few year's time.
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Old 11-11-2007, 18:48   #5
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Well, drilling into the mast is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" thing. I have a wooden spar, so it takes a lot of maintenance. Using a bosun's chair isn't practical (in my world) for inspection and recoating every few months, not to mention that you need to be at the spreaders to navigate around coral.

I'll check the ULS, but wire lasts for a long time, and I've seen line snap and stretch in only a few year's time.
I've read this stuff about going to the spreaders to navigate in coral but in all my travels, I've never felt the need to do it. I've gone to the masthead for fun, after we were anchored but never for navigation.

I've sailed into places that you wouldn't believe, like uncharted lagoons in reefs in Tonga and Fiji. Sailing into Palmayra is a real treat. I also visted Manirva Reef in the Pacific and Middleton Reef in the Tasman. There are coral heads all over the place. However, if you have the Sun over-head or slightly behind you, they are quite clear.

In the Islands, the water is generally so clear that the view from aloft can be very deceiving. Coral that looks like it is in 6' of water can often be 30'. Generally speaking, you will learn to read the color of the coral. Coral that nearly dries at low tide will be dead and brown. If the coral is within 6' of the surface, it will generally start taking on a tan color because it has been Sun-bleached.

I had wood masts (Spruce) on Kanani as well. I stripped them down, applied 3 coats of West System epoxy, 2 coats of epoxy primer then sprayed them with an LP paint. I bedded all hardware with 3M 5200 and let it set.

I regularly tested the masts for soft spots and never had an issue in 14 years. The guy that bought Kanani left her in the boat-yard in La Paz during a hurricane. She fell over in the yard and the masts were broken beyond repair (splinter-wood). I went down and looked at the wreckage. The masts didn't have one bit of wood-rot.
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Old 11-11-2007, 19:07   #6
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Well, that's some good feedback, and worth considering. So you're saying you managed to treat your mast in such a way (the ws epoxy, primer, and paint), that it was maintenance free for 14 years? Not bad.
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Old 11-11-2007, 20:54   #7
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Well, drilling into the mast is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" thing. I have a wooden spar, so it takes a lot of maintenance. Using a bosun's chair isn't practical (in my world) for inspection and recoating every few months, not to mention that you need to be at the spreaders to navigate around coral.

I'll check the ULS, but wire lasts for a long time, and I've seen line snap and stretch in only a few year's time.
This is a picture that I shot in 2001, in La Paz, after the hurricane. All of the wood on both masts looked like this:

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Old 12-11-2007, 01:16   #8
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Bungee cord: halyard to spreader?
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Old 12-11-2007, 01:29   #9
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Switching to rope from wire halyards might not be as simple as switching from one to the other...

Most of the high tech lines require special sheave diameters and profiles, and it is not likely that your masthead sheaves installed for wire are approprate for them, assumeing that is your sheaves were designed for wire in the first place...

I assume you have an external halyard, and it is the wire on its way down you are looking to control. It is unusual to see external wire halyards. Builders that fussy about stretch, tend to also be fussy about windage and get the wire inside the mast.
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Old 12-11-2007, 08:39   #10
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Bungee cord: halyard to spreader?

I yank it as far away as I can from the spar, but there's a fairlead about 3' above the spreader. The area around that fairlead is what gets banged up, both above and below it. It doesn't take much for a wire to bang up varnish.

And yep, I've got an external wire run.

I had a thread on here a while ago, where I asked about switching to line, and everyone chewed me out because wire was so much better, etc.
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:08   #11
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I yank it as far away as I can from the spar, but there's a fairlead about 3' above the spreader. The area around that fairlead is what gets banged up, both above and below it. It doesn't take much for a wire to bang up varnish...
Remove (at least temporarily) the fairlead ...
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:05   #12
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Most of the high tech lines require special sheave diameters and profiles, and it is not likely that your masthead sheaves installed for wire are approprate for them, assumeing that is your sheaves were designed for wire in the first place...
Mostly they are the same, but after running wire the sheaves can become worn in a pattern that will fray a rope halyard. You just need to inspect them to see if there are any burs on the sheaves. Replacing the sheaves may also be a good idea any way. I would never assume you can just switch from wire to rope without an inspection.
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:51   #13
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Mostly they are the same, but after running wire the sheaves can become worn in a pattern that will fray a rope halyard. You just need to inspect them to see if there are any burs on the sheaves. Replacing the sheaves may also be a good idea any way. I would never assume you can just switch from wire to rope without an inspection.
Absolutely correct.

I was also thinking that the reason that halyard fairlead is there may be because the wire halyard may have jumped off of the sheave and gotten jammed between the sheave and the mast at one time.

I had that happen out at sea, on a delivery (Fiji-NZ), one time. The boat was a 65' sloop with a 80' wood mast. I had to go to the mast head, under sail, and get it unjammed. What a night-mare. It was a 1/4" wire halyard and the halyard was fast between the sheave and the masthead. I worked on that thing for an hour to get it out.

When I delivered the boat to the owner, I suggested that he replace that sheave with a wider one and go to a ULS halyard.
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