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Old 03-03-2010, 17:19   #1
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'Typical' Halyard Diameter?

This is a dumb question, I know, but what diameter line is usually used for halyards?

I need to order a line to replace a jib halyard, but I just realized I don't know the diameter of the missing line (the previous owner lost it).

The only way to know definitively, is to go up the mast and look at the sheave, but unfortunately, the boat is 2000 miles away at the moment. I was hoping to buy the line before heading down to FL...

I'm guessing its 3/8" or 1/2"...

This is a 23' yawl, btw.

Obviously, I'm looking for guesses, but any thoughts, much appreciated.

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Old 03-03-2010, 17:21   #2
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a 1/2 in. halyard could be in my guesstimate would be totally excessive. 3/8 would probably be too much depending on the fiber type. Hopw many sq. ft. is the sail?
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Old 03-03-2010, 17:59   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
a 1/2 in. halyard could be in my guesstimate would be totally excessive. 3/8 would probably be too much depending on the fiber type. Hopw many sq. ft. is the sail?
98 square feet...

I've been digging through my paperwork, and found some specifications that must have come with the plans. They specifiy:

Peak & Throat halyards: 1/2"
Staysail Halyard: 1/2"
Masthead Halyard: 3/8"

No mention of a jib halyard, so I'm guessing the Masthead halyard must be the one I'm looking for.

Sound right?

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Old 03-03-2010, 18:07   #4
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Naw...sounds whacky to me.

A 1/2" halyard is the right size for my 42' sloop with a tall rig (64' mast). It's WAY overkill for any halyard on a 23-footer, IMHO.

And, why would the staysail halyard be larger than the masthead halyard?

Maybe Gilmer was thinking about manila or sisal rope???? With modern synthetics, much smaller line would do the trick.

Bill
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Old 03-03-2010, 18:13   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Naw...sounds whacky to me.

A 1/2" halyard is the right size for my 42' sloop with a tall rig (64' mast). It's WAY overkill for any halyard on a 23-footer, IMHO.

And, why would the staysail halyard be larger than the masthead halyard?

Maybe Gilmer was thinking about manila or sisal rope???? With modern synthetics, much smaller line would do the trick.

Bill
Nope. "Best yacht dacron" is specified for all running rigging...

I was wondering about the staysail vs masthead diameter too... I guess the staysail is meant to stay up after the jib has been struck, in bad weather, so needs heavier line.

I've heard Tom crossed the Atlantic in this boat, so he was thinking heavy-duty, I guess.

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Old 03-03-2010, 18:20   #6
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The line companies and some of the chandlers have guides for line size.

New England Ropes - Line Selector
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Old 03-03-2010, 18:48   #7
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1/2" or 3/8" would be used just for ease of handling at least I like it better than 1/4". but it a 23' there just isn't that much stress
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Old 03-03-2010, 18:59   #8
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In double braid, 1/4" would be strong enough from strength p.o.v. (1800lb), but 5/16" (2800) would be easier on the hands.
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Old 03-03-2010, 19:01   #9
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I would think 5/16 or 3/8 1/2 is way overkill. I use 7/16 on my 55' mast for jib halyards.
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Old 03-03-2010, 19:20   #10
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Thanks for the input, guys. I guess I'll go with 3/8", just for the handling. I'm thinking of gradually replacing all the lines with Spunflex, which isn't as strong as Dacron, so the 'extra' diameter will come in handy.

Specs for rope orders at Ships of Wood

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Old 03-03-2010, 19:31   #11
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I wouldn't have less then 3/8" lines aboard just for handling purposes on any boat...even a optimus...over-kill, smorgus-kill or not...
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Old 04-03-2010, 05:59   #12
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I don't know what it is called, so I will use the term sheath. You can use a small diameter line, and then put a sheath on it where it is handled. This will allow good handling, and a smaller line elsewhere. I have seen knothead do this work.......i2f
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Old 04-03-2010, 07:41   #13
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Quote:
You can use a small diameter line, and then put a sheath on it where it is handled. This will allow good handling, and a smaller line elsewhere.
Common on big race boats. Some line is "stripable" meaning the cover can be removed and a different one supplied (or not) and not always the entire length. It allows high tech cord to be covered for ease of handling in the winch while reducing weight aloft. Some of the high tech cord really suck on the hands but is stronger than steel. With big boats it comes into serious money as well.

I would agree less than 3/8 on any line you have to pull is hard on the hands. I use 3/8 on furling lines that never need more than about 80 lbs tension. A jib fuller halyard only requires about 55 lbs of tension. If you over tighten the halyard it binds the furler. It is however a long line and stretch will come into play.

On halyards lower stretch line is better. It is stiffer and so there are trade offs. For cruising it holds up well for halyards but sucks for jib sheets. For lines running through blocks the softer types of double braid flow better even if not as strong so they need replacement sooner.

I used to have some nice high quality double braid in 3/8 for jib sheets. Clearly strong enough, but the light weight and the higher clew would whip the sheet back to the winch and smack you in the forehead almost every tack. The smaller size didn't hold on the tailer as well either. Going to 7/16th size cured both problems. That 3/8 line is used for other purposes. An undersized line can exhibit many other problems that are not about how strong it is.

Balancing hand, stretch, and flow in the different parts of the boat can make each type of application work just a little better. On smaller boats strength of the line won't be a huge factor if it feels good. Modern cord is exceptionally strong.
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Old 04-03-2010, 15:51   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
Common on big race boats. Some line is "stripable" meaning the cover can be removed and a different one supplied (or not) and not always the entire length. It allows high tech cord to be covered for ease of handling in the winch while reducing weight aloft. Some of the high tech cord really suck on the hands but is stronger than steel. With big boats it comes into serious money as well.

I would agree less than 3/8 on any line you have to pull is hard on the hands. I use 3/8 on furling lines that never need more than about 80 lbs tension. A jib fuller halyard only requires about 55 lbs of tension. If you over tighten the halyard it binds the furler. It is however a long line and stretch will come into play.

On halyards lower stretch line is better. It is stiffer and so there are trade offs. For cruising it holds up well for halyards but sucks for jib sheets. For lines running through blocks the softer types of double braid flow better even if not as strong so they need replacement sooner.

I used to have some nice high quality double braid in 3/8 for jib sheets. Clearly strong enough, but the light weight and the higher clew would whip the sheet back to the winch and smack you in the forehead almost every tack. The smaller size didn't hold on the tailer as well either. Going to 7/16th size cured both problems. That 3/8 line is used for other purposes. An undersized line can exhibit many other problems that are not about how strong it is.

Balancing hand, stretch, and flow in the different parts of the boat can make each type of application work just a little better. On smaller boats strength of the line won't be a huge factor if it feels good. Modern cord is exceptionally strong.
This is a boat that I want to make as traditional as possible, so look and feel are important to me. I don't see any benefit in using a thin line and then adding a padding for handling... we are not talking high-performance, here :-)

I don't have to worry about a line whipping off a winch, either... no winches, just old fashioned blocks for mechanical advantage.

Actually, I was originally asking for guesses for the size of the sheave at the top of the mast. In other words, what is the largest line it's likely to be rigged for. I'm going to have to climb the mast to make sure, but I need to go up there for a couple other reasons, anyway.

Thanks for all the tips, guys.
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Old 04-03-2010, 16:27   #15
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Actually, I was originally asking for guesses for the size of the sheave at the top of the mast. In other words, what is the largest line it's likely to be rigged for. I'm going to have to climb the mast to make sure, but I need to go up there for a couple other reasons, anyway.
.

Good idea to inspect the sheaves on the mast when changing rigging anyway. Get a look and make sure it's still smooth and secure up top. Blowing out a sheave under sail could be bad.

For really traditional boats they make a nylon that has the look of old ropes. It's modern and strong but looks more in character. I don't recall who makes it though I'm sure someone here can tell you. You need to check the blocks for the max sizer they can handle. 7 times rope diameter is the standard for modern blocks. Not sure about old fashioned blocks. Too big a rope and the rope won't run smooth.
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