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Old 05-05-2012, 09:24   #1
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When to Replace Halyard ?

Our main halyard is 4 years old, with about 30,000 miles of sailing. It is noticeably faded, and has internal twisting -- twisting that in truth has been present since almost its installation.

The 42 meter 12 mm halyard starts at the top of my mast, runs thru a block on the head of the main sail, returns to the mast top and then, internally, back to the deck, a turn block, a clutch, and then the winch.

There is no fraying anywhere, but we're beginning to see rope dust/chaff as it passes thru the clutch ... it's also getting tougher to pass thru the clutch freely when we drop the main, given the twisting ...

We don't mind replacing it, but don't want to abandon good rope ...

How do people determine when to replace a rope in the absence of visible chafing or wear? Time? Distance? Twisting?

Thanks!
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:33   #2
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Re: When to Replace Halyard?

I replace them when I feel uncomfortable going aloft with them. I'm not joking, it's hard to tell when they're shot. I usually go by age, afaik there's no magic formula. When they're old and stiff and I start worrying I replace them.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:00   #3
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Re: When to Replace Halyard?

The ideal time is JUST BEFORE it breaks.

We had a kevlar halyard break shortly after we purchased our boat.
It was only five years old, but had spent a year in Mexico.

It was time to reef, so I winched the halyard just a bit to relieve the sheet stopper and BANG !
The halyard snapped between the winch and the sheet stopper.
We would lose the halyard inside the mast if we opened the sheet stopper which of course, we didn't want to do under the circumstances.
The wind thankfully moderated enough so we didn't have to immediately do anything, so we formulated a plan. DUCT TAPE to the rescue!
I spliced it with just enough to hopefully hold the two ends together, but not enough to prevent the line from sticking in the sheet stopper.
Talk about a balancing act! No second chances here...

When we sailed into the lee of the island, we opened up the sheet stopper and thankfully the halyard splice fed perfectly through, up the mast, down the 2:1 halyard.

Success !
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Old 05-05-2012, 18:40   #4
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Re: When to Replace Halyard?

Reverse it before you replace it.

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Old 05-05-2012, 23:08   #5
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Re: When to Replace Halyard?

Is it single braid or double braid?
Are halyards internal or external?

With double braid, the core is experiencing minimal abrasion and UV degradation. When the cover starts to show wear, then it is time for replacement or at least and end-for-end.

With single braid probably best to set a limit of 5yr or so or the first signs of chaffing and then end for end it.

If the halyards are external then it is easier to replace them and you can be a little more liberal about how far you push the halyard life.
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Old 05-05-2012, 23:36   #6
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Re: When to Replace Halyard?

I just replaced mine and as Vasco said when you feel uncomfortable then its time, I have the old halyards now as spare lines and can be used anywhere minimal to moderate loads would be. might even look at making a dingy bridle
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