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Old 07-08-2015, 07:38   #1
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Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

I have often found good advice and support by sharing my ideas for a project here on CF and here is my current quest.

I have maintained an 1973 Schaefer rolling furling since I bought my current boat in 1985. Though many consider this rig to be outdated, I like the ability to easily lower it and, with it being separate from my headstay, it allows for some features like a Solent Rig. I can add a hanked on foresail without removing my furled sail. As a cruising headsail the Schaefer rig has been very suitable for me.

A few weeks ago I found this piece of a broken sheave on my deck:


It's a fragment of a turning block at the leads my wire-rope halyard to the base of my mast as shown in the following diagram:


Here's the block with the upper swivel bearing and stainless clip that rides on the headstay:



My plan is to replace the broken block and use 3/8" Endura (dyneema with a polyester cover) instead of the wire rope. In addition, instead of the stainless metal prongs that ride on the headstay, I plan to loop the headstay with a dyneema soft shackle that is attached at the point between the upper swivel and the block.

This new halyard, like the wire-rope, would be left standing under tension for most times and not frequently lowered. I would have a thimbled eye-splice at the top fixed point of the halyard, retain the block shown in the photo and use a Garhauer block that I have available to replace the broken one.

Any comments about the plan are welcome. Abrasion, UV damage, and strength are concerns, but my main concern is the retention of alignment. I never had the wire rope turn around my headstay when furling or unfurling. Will the lighter line behave as well? Can I expect the tension on the line to keep it in place? The line is a little small to be friendly in the hands, but it is not frequently handled. Thanks in advance, Hudson
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:38   #2
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

With regards to the block which connects to the headstay via the wire fitting, I'm thinking, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And some of that thinking too, is that in using a Spectra loop, you'll lose any stiffness in the system which the metal fitting has provided up until now.
However, you might take a hard look at the sheave in the block & see if it too is due for replacement. Especially if it's the same age & material as the sheave which broke.

On going to a Spectra halyard, & your concerns regarding diameter. You can always sleeve it with an extra jacket where it gets handled, so long as doing so doesn't make it so fat that it's tough for it to fit through the block.
Although your concerns about it's diameter is kind of curious, as I can't see how the old, wire halyard, would exactly be easy on the hands. Especially as it's likely of a far smaller diameter than any rope halyard that you'll transition to.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:07   #3
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

I too have a system similar to your, but mine was made by "Blue Water Marine" who no longer exist. Be that as it may, I have chosen to have the block and bearing separated, i.e., I use only one "halyard" block. Since I have two roller furling units, I bring them both up to a double block, and lead them down to a double rope clutch and a single winch. Originally, the instructions called for a two part purchase to get enough tension in the halyard, but with a winch, I didn't see it as being necessary. Looking at your drawing, it seems that you could attach a block where you have the fixed end of the halyard.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:24   #4
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

I understand the sense of security, looking at the stay, and the redundancy at sea makes sense so I'm good with that. The line size issue, you mentioned, could be handled by a winch. That would add, one more maintenance headache. Why not, change the line size to something more comfortable, with a dyneema core. New, appropriately sized Sheaves, for the new line will make for cheap Insurance for not so far weather days. Why would you need a soft shackle, if you plan to roll the sheave up the stay? Redundancy?
Not a bad idea, just curious.
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:43   #5
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
With regards to the block which connects to the headstay via the wire fitting, I'm thinking, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And some of that thinking too, is that in using a Spectra loop, you'll lose any stiffness in the system which the metal fitting has provided up until now.
However, you might take a hard look at the sheave in the block & see if it too is due for replacement. Especially if it's the same age & material as the sheave which broke.

On going to a Spectra halyard, & your concerns regarding diameter. You can always sleeve it with an extra jacket where it gets handled, so long as doing so doesn't make it so fat that it's tough for it to fit through the block.
Although your concerns about it's diameter is kind of curious, as I can't see how the old, wire halyard, would exactly be easy on the hands. Especially as it's likely of a far smaller diameter than any rope halyard that you'll transition to.
Thanks for the excellent thoughts here. Your comments make me realize that I left out some important information. The photo of the block, swivel bearing & prongs is of a spare part I found cheap. the similar part that I've had in use for the last ten years is missing the stainless steel hooks that attach it to the headstay. I've had a double loop of 1/2" dacron from the pin between the block & bearing to the headstay successfully doing the job of the
stainless hooks for these ten years. My plan is to replace the dacron with the dyneema. I rather not have the stainless rubbing on my headstay since I know the soft attachment works well.

You also had the insight to mention the difference in the sheave material. Though both of the sheaves are from Schaefer, the one that broke (after more than 30 years) was a plastic composite while the others are aluminum. I'll inspect them when I get them down, but presently the rig is stuck at the broken block and I have not been up to remove things. I might keep the wire-rope if it has not been damaged at the block and if the rest of the length looks good.

As I said, I'm not concerned with the small diameter of the line or wire-rope as I do not frequently lower the furling system.
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Old 07-08-2015, 11:51   #6
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVJennie View Post
...................
.................. Originally, the instructions called for a two part purchase to get enough tension in the halyard, but with a winch, I didn't see it as being necessary. Looking at your drawing, it seems that you could attach a block where you have the fixed end of the halyard.
This is an interesting idea. I agree that the size of the winch that I'm leading my halyard to would allow for me to gain sufficient tension. One of the less desirable features of this type of roller furling in the less taut leading edge of the sail. This would be a more significant problem for racing, but less important for my cruising style. I'll need to add this thought to my considerations.
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Old 07-08-2015, 12:43   #7
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by lonesoldier0408 View Post
.................
.................

weather days. Why would you need a soft shackle, if you plan to roll the sheave up the stay? Redundancy?
Not a bad idea, just curious.
I suppose one of the features that I like about this rig is the redundancy, but the soft shackle or the original metal hooks keep the head of the sail in position close to the forestay. I'm not sure if the attachment is actually needed. I assume that the attachment lessens the amount of curve in the leading edge of the sail. My diagram is a little rough. The sheave at the top of this system does not roll up the headstay. The original metal hooks or the soft shackle is the only contact with the headstay.
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Old 07-08-2015, 16:03   #8
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

I would be worried about a normal spectra halyard creeping slowly over time, since in your case it takes much more load than a normal halyard would. Dynex dux or some more creep resistant rope would be better to avoid having to tighten the halyard occasionally. It would likely only be a problem if the boats left on a mooring for weeks with the furled sail left up.

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Old 07-08-2015, 22:07   #9
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson Force View Post
This is an interesting idea. I agree that the size of the winch that I'm leading my halyard to would allow for me to gain sufficient tension. One of the less desirable features of this type of roller furling in the less taut leading edge of the sail. This would be a more significant problem for racing, but less important for my cruising style. I'll need to add this thought to my considerations.
Are you really comfortable giving up 10 degrees of pointing ability? Which translates into huge losses in VMG/CMG.
Code 0's have 2:1, 3:1 (sometimes more) simply to make them viable upwind sails. And I think that even the Pardey's had 2:1 (+) on the luff of their flying jib, so...
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Old 07-08-2015, 22:31   #10
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
I would be worried about a normal spectra halyard creeping slowly over time, since in your case it takes much more load than a normal halyard would. Dynex dux or some more creep resistant rope would be better to avoid having to tighten the halyard occasionally. It would likely only be a problem if the boats left on a mooring for weeks with the furled sail left up.

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There are a few other cordage options to consider, if creep is truly a concern. Other than slightly loosening the halyard when you're done sailing that is.
Take a look at a few of these:
~ T900 - A Spectra/Technora blend, inside of a Polyester jacket
~ Validator SKB - A Spectra/Vectran blend, inside of a Polyester jacket.
~ Vectran - Inside of a Polyester jacket.
~ Technora - Inside of a Polyester jacket.

There's more info on most of them here Product List on the Samson Ropes page.
And on T900 here ::*Teufelberger:*T-900 at New England Ropes.

Ah, & if you've been running a wire halyard for quite a while, before you switch to one which is fully made of line, everything, especially the sheaves, need to be inspected for burrs or scoring, which would rapidly eat up a rope halyard.
Also, some sheaves for wire have groove profiles which aren't necessarily compatible with rope halyards. So that's worth checking too.
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Old 08-08-2015, 05:55   #11
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

Yes, a close inspection of the sheaves for potential to abrade the line will be important,- 'good plan!

Presently, I am without enough information. My wire rope is jammed in the broken block so I'll need to go up to the mast head to dislodge it and bring everything down for a close inspection. Nancie tails well and well share directions for my lift, but I need to find someone to apply some muscle to the winch. I have never added mast steps or a self-rising system. I'm aware of the possibilities and the threads covering such devices, but I'm sure I can find help where I am.

If my wire rope is in good shape, I'll likely keep it for now and keep the line halyard option for the future.

I will not be "giving up" any pointing ability as none of this plan involves changing my sail plan, unless the comment refers to my halyard being more slack with the dyneema line compared to the wire rope. My impression of these newer synthetic lines is that they will maintain the same tension as the wire rope. I'll need to look into the Dynex dux and the Samson options as suggested. I know I would point better with a furling system that is on the headstay instead of this parallel rig, but I've sailed with this system for over
thirty years and it does have some advantages. I also have a hanked on working jib on a club foot for beating to weather.

Thanks for the good ideas. I hope to have my parts down from the masthead later today so I can evaluate things.
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Old 08-08-2015, 12:25   #12
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

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......................
..........................Thanks for the good ideas. I hope to have my parts down from the masthead later today so I can evaluate things.
So, I found a neighbor to haul me up to my masthead and I removed all but the bitter fixed end of the wire rope. I would have taken that down too, but my legs were going numb in my climbing harness,- I think I do best using the climbing harness combined with my bosun's chair at my feet so I can maneuver, stand a bit and not pinch the blood flow to my legs.

My choice is to do away with the wire rope and some of the 1970's big heavy blocks with the wire rope sheaves. I'm set on 170' of the 10mm Endura as I found what I need at a 20% discount in Annapolis. My wire rope has some suspicious spots and a bad crimp where it jammed within my broken block.

The present blocks accept a 3.5" x 0.5" sheave. The blocks are heavy, but in excellent shape. Maybe I should just replace the sheaves.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:31   #13
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

I removed the scored aluminum sheave from the block that I decided to use with the new line and mounted it on a drill so I could spin it and grind the slot for the wire rope so that it was wider and then I polished the finish.



The top block will be the replacement for the block with the broken sheave and the center block has been ground and polished. I'll save the bottom block for the spares locker.

Here's my main masthead with the blocks removed.



Counting lines from the right of the photo, there is the blue halyard for my cruising chute; the forestay; my main halyard and then, laying straight down against the mast, is the old wire rope for the Schaefer rig that I will be replacing with the Endura halyard on a stainless thimble at the same fixed point. About 8 inches below this fixed point you can see the shackle that will hold the Garhauer block (top of the three in the first photo). The block at the top of my furling Genoa will be hoisted on the halyard between these two.

So, any further advice or comments. I do like to post my plans here for some feedback. Nancie is a great mate at the helm and many sailing activities, but not one to share in mechanical plans or thoughts. Thanks, Hudson
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Old 26-08-2015, 13:03   #14
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Re: Updating an Old Schaefer Furling Rig

I finished this project today and here's my final outcome at the masthead:



The Dyneema loop at the head of the sail replaces the stainless steel hooks that Schaefer originally had riding the headstay....



I replaced the wire rope halyard 10mm Endura and did not use the polyester cover at the eyesplice fixed to the masthead....



Without the cover for UV protection I did wrap the Dyneema core with a tape. The splice is long and whipped under the tape.

I think I'll be pleased with this,- my wire rope had some "meat hooks"; I have far less weight aloft, and everything seems a smooth fit.
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