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Old 30-05-2016, 23:59   #16
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Re: breaking load of main halyard

I believe that halyards are usually sized for stretch limitation rather than strength, so that a modest downsize coupled with a upgrade in fiber should be quite fine.

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Old 31-05-2016, 01:28   #17
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Re: breaking load of main halyard

95% of the time, someone with an experienced eye can tell you what material a line's made of, simply by exposing a bit of the core (even just at it's end). So that, between that & the diameter, the line's strength (& also stretch) is easy to look up.
Though, frankly, I'd be surprised to find a Polyester, double braid halyard on such a boat, given the loads involved. But it bears checking, regardless.


With regards to the "high cost" of Dyneema, Vectran, & similar. Typically, they far outlast "cheap" (Polyester & Blended) lines, especially in high load, & or high stretch applications.
Some of this is due to their much better UV resistance.

While another component, is that they aren't being stretched nearly as much as a comparably stength Polyester, or blended core line is. And that repeated stretching, especially over sheaves, blocks, & in clutches, is what tends to be the hardest on lines.

Also, the "higher end" lines, such as those with pure Spectra/Dyneema cores, are FAR more chafe resistant than are any Polyester, or blended lines. Even to include MLX.
With or without covers on them.


In the long run, you'll spend less by going with high tech, "racing" lines. Than you would if you go with a cheap, Polyester or blended core line, & having to replace them several times (more often), due to wear.
Something which even many of our own "seasoned" members have "discovered", only after learning it the hard, expensive way.


As alluded to by Stumble, prior to down sizing a line, you need to check out all of the components via which the line's connected, for compatibility. For many times, going down a size or two in line, without rebuilding the clutch to accomodate this change, will result in the clutch having greatly diminished holding power. Often in conjunction with greatly accelerated wear on the line.

You can downsize a line, & "bulk it up", in the vicinity of the clutch, to regain this loss. Though this does involve some semi-advanced splicing. And will have to be done anywhere that the clutch will be gripping the line under a high load. Such as at each reef point, etc.
So that, realistically, it's simpler & easier just to swap out a clutch's internals to match the size of the new line.
And, BTW, the published holding loads of clutches vs. their real world gripping abilities can vary quite significantly.

Also, especially on a cruising boat, it's good practice to have a regular cleat for every line which runs through a clutch. So that you can transfer the load to the cleat, to minimize/eliminate wear on the lines from leaving them locked in clutches under load.
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Old 31-05-2016, 10:12   #18
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Re: breaking load of main halyard

Given that the spinnlocks fit and the costs are not the main focus. Has a thinner line benefits? It probably has less frictional resistance and less space required. Yes, the thicker halyard would be more comfortable in Hands - but this is not so important in a case of the electric winch for this halyard.

Would anyone in the choice between Dyneema 12mm or the same Dyneema 10mm prefer the thinner?
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Old 31-05-2016, 11:48   #19
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Re: breaking load of main halyard

The thinner line has less friction in the system, depending on the number of blocks this cas be substantially less. Of course less weight, cost and windage are nice benefits as well. The coiled tail is physically smaller, easier to store, and lighter... Dyneema - dyneema it's just a size/weight/cost issue.

Dyneema-polyester you get a lot more advantages like it doesn't absorb water, coils better, less friction, stronger, less stretch,

Now if cost is really no issue there are better grades of dyneema that I typically don't mention here because of cost, but heat set dyneema is even stronger for the same size and has less stretch and creep. The trade off is substantially more expense and a much stiffer line. Eventually this does require replacing other gear (winches, clutches) because of the high loads and very small line.

Technically you could go all the way to D12 MAX SK99 which would allow a 5mm line (8500 MBL) to retain the same strength, but with the added stretch resistance you could likely get away with a 4mm (6500lbs MBL) halyard. These smaller lines would shave a couple of pounds from the rig, but are massively more expensive (5-6 times more). It's just not a good trade off unless you are on a serious race boat.

For my money I would stick with a reasonably sized (no smaller than one step down in strength) covered dyneema. Uncovered is just too difficult to work with and takes a lot of localized cover splicing because the line itself should touch a winch. Have the rigger taper the line to the last reef point, and call it a day.
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Old 31-05-2016, 11:58   #20
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Re: breaking load of main halyard

Be careful with electric winches !
On my cat the 12 mm halyard runs through a pulley at the mast step and from there to the starboard genoa winches; (an electric LEWMAR 50 ).
One day, as the main sail was half mast up, the lazy bag which was hanging lose got caught in the pulley at the mast step. Within less than a second, 3 meters of stretch less halyard further, the electric winch rose to more than a ton and the halyard snapped.
Imagine we had not been hoisting the main sail but a crew up the mast. !

I replaced the dead halyard by a 12 mm cheaper pre-stretched polyester. However the core was to soft: the halyard sagged and slipped in the clutch.

I fixed this by splicing 2 feet of outer sheath were the clutch bites the halyard with zero, 1, 2 and 3 reefs. As the outer sheath a used the sheath of a 14 mm MARLOW polyester rope. The splicing is tricky but the result was perfect.
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Old 31-05-2016, 13:04   #21
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Re: breaking load of main halyard

Quote:
Originally Posted by GALAWA View Post
Be careful with electric winches !
On my cat the 12 mm halyard runs through a pulley at the mast step and from there to the starboard genoa winches; (an electric LEWMAR 50 ).
One day, as the main sail was half mast up, the lazy bag which was hanging lose got caught in the pulley at the mast step. Within less than a second, 3 meters of stretch less halyard further, the electric winch rose to more than a ton and the halyard snapped.
Imagine we had not been hoisting the main sail but a crew up the mast. !

.
We never use the electric winches with the self-tailing engaged.
We hold and pull the line by hand while pushing the winch button with a foot. Once you feel too much tension on the winch you can react by lifting foot up and/or loosing tension on the line.
Self tailing is used only with the regular handles.
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Old 31-05-2016, 16:13   #22
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Re: breaking load of main halyard

Quote:
Originally Posted by meirriba View Post
We never use the electric winches with the self-tailing engaged.
We hold and pull the line by hand while pushing the winch button with a foot. Once you feel too much tension on the winch you can react by lifting foot up and/or loosing tension on the line.
Self tailing is used only with the regular handles.
Amen to the above!

If you're tailing a power winch, be it powered by; hydraulics, electricity, or a set of coffee grinders; your job as the tailer, is to watch the sail, & to simply let the line spin freely on the drum, as the drum spins, when the sail gets close to it's mark.
Needs be, use a wrap or two less than you think you need.
Then slow things down, & add a wrap, to get that last little bit of hoist or trim. All while never taking your eyes off of the sail.

And honestly, I don't fully see the need for electric winches on boats in this size range anyway. As it's not overly tough for me to manually, hoist all but the last few feet of the mainsail on big boats. Even an 80' Maxi that I crew on, with a 1:1 main halyard. Only needing a winch for the last 5'+/- . And those mains are Big!
Not to mention that they have a bolt rope which attaches them to the spar, so the friction level there isn't low.

I'd think that a 2:1 halyard should be sufficient to hoist these mains nearly to the top, & then use a manual winch from there. Especially as so many of these mains have super low friction cars & tracks.
So by skipping the power winches, you avoid these dangerous, & expensive problems.

Especially if you let a neophyte operate a power winch unsupervised. As that's just asking for trouble, IMO.

Anyway, that's my $0.02
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Old 31-05-2016, 16:41   #23
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Re: breaking load of main halyard

Quote:
Originally Posted by GALAWA View Post
Be careful with electric winches !
On my cat the 12 mm halyard runs through a pulley at the mast step and from there to the starboard genoa winches; (an electric LEWMAR 50 ).
One day, as the main sail was half mast up, the lazy bag which was hanging lose got caught in the pulley at the mast step. Within less than a second, 3 meters of stretch less halyard further, the electric winch rose to more than a ton and the halyard snapped.
Is there more to this story? As even lowly 12mm Polyester breaks at 4t+. And if it was a high tech line, "stretch less" line, that figure will be Far higher. And either way, assuming that the winch had enough pulling power, you'd be more likely to blow out the block at the mast base, before you broke the line.
At least if those were the big factors involved.
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Old 31-05-2016, 18:46   #24
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Re: breaking load of main halyard

Any reasonable block would have exploded far before the line did. For that matter the winch should have ripped thru the deck before the line snapped. And I am positive that the steal load on the electric winch is far below any reasonably sized halyard. I would need to check to be sure, but I think it's around 1,200lbs, or less than 10% the MBL of the line.
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Old 01-06-2016, 03:57   #25
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Re: breaking load of main halyard

My cat is a PRIVILEGE 435 built in 1999.
I believe the halyard which broke was 16 years old and my have lost strength. I do not know whether it had a dynema or polyester core.

Hoisting the sail bay hand is possible but exhausting on a cat this size.
Tailing the electric winch by hand is wise but we found this procedure impractical:
- It is impractical for a single crew as the push button is not at foot level. -
- Leaving the halyard to the self-tailer leaves one hand free to push the button and the other free to secure the crew's position.
- It also leaves the eyes free to look up to sail, battens caught is lazyjacks, halyard flirting with spreaders, loose reefing lines ready to snag solar panels, etc..
- When hoisting the main sail our rule is silence aboard so we can hear the faintest change of noise the winch makes when it meets resistance.
- The halyard is blue and the 4 pieces of outer sheath spliced in where the clutch bites are bright red. We stop hoisting consistently with 1' accuracy. If we pay attention, the risk of over winching is nil.
- We never leave this manoeuvre to inexperienced crews.
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Old 01-06-2016, 23:31   #26
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Re: breaking load of main halyard

]
Quote:
Originally Posted by GALAWA View Post
My cat is a PRIVILEGE 435 built in 1999.
I believe the halyard which broke was 16 years old and my have lost strength. I do not know whether it had a dynema or polyester core.

Hoisting the sail bay hand is possible but exhausting on a cat this size.
Tailing the electric winch by hand is wise but we found this procedure impractical:
- It is impractical for a single crew as the push button is not at foot level. -
- Leaving the halyard to the self-tailer leaves one hand free to push the button and the other free to secure the crew's position.
This is often impractical to impossible, when winching a line in/up. As covered below.

- It also leaves the eyes free to look up to sail, battens caught is lazyjacks, halyard flirting with spreaders, loose reefing lines ready to snag solar panels, etc..
And one cannot do this when using both hands to handle the line, why exactly? I know that I've been doing exactly this, for several decades now.

- When hoisting the main sail our rule is silence aboard so we can hear the faintest change of noise the winch makes when it meets resistance.
Since when is a boat ever a quiet environment?

- The halyard is blue and the 4 pieces of outer sheath spliced in where the clutch bites are bright red. We stop hoisting consistently with 1' accuracy. If we pay attention, the risk of over winching is nil.
Not when compared to one of your previous posts in this thread, regarding the "paying attention" idea.

- We never leave this manoeuvre to inexperienced crews.
Regarding the broken halyard. If it parted that easily, & in that situation: Plain & simple, you got lucky. For it could have snapped at far worse times, with much more serious consequences.
For a halyard that ancient owes you nothing, or even less. As it should have been retired many years prior to said incident. And you were fortunate that it happened at a non-critical moment, as well as to some inexpensive gear. Plus, that no one was injured. As could have easily been the case.


As to said mainsail hoisting techniques, pardon the (well-reasoned) rant. But what follows are comments related to basic safety issues.
Such a hoisting method is not one which I would likely ever; choose, suggest, or recommend. For a number of reasons; most of them being safety related. As in regarding the safety of the crew. Plus that of some of your gear, & the vessel herself.


In leaving the halyard in the tailer, with the winch on & running, up to the point where the sail's mere inches from full hoist. With one minor, 1 second distraction, you're in the market for a new sail. Ditto if the winch's control gets stuck, etc.
For example: Have you ever been stung by a bee at the "right" time?
And you yourself, mention exactly such a momentary attention lapse, via the sail cover incident, where said winch parted your halyard.

Nor with such a method, can one detect any problems during such a hoist via tactile means. As would be the case, via having the halyard in hand, as the sail's going up. Something which one needs to be able to do 24/7.

On the 24/7 thing; it's dark for half of each day, right? And it’s best practice to be able to both hoist, & reef sails in the dark & low visibility, by feel alone.
Which, in some locales, fog thick enough that one can’t see the top half of the mast is fairly common. So, again, having that tactile input from the sail, via it’s halyard, is crucial.

Also, boats are inherently, incredibly noisy places by their very nature. So that if, say, it's blowing hard enough to need to tuck in a reef; it'd be tough to hear “small changes” in the sounds made by the powered winch. Ditto on a few dozen other circumstances which would make it improbable that you'd hear such.
Ergo, all the more reason to have the halyard in hand.


Plus which, when you're tailing a winch, properly; your body position should all but exclusively be such, that you have both hands free to handle the line. Whether said winch is powered, or hand operated.
And with regard to your statements on body & hand position for tailing a winch. If you're using one hand to hang onto the boat, how then do you tail a line, solo, on a non self-tailing winch, when you're also the one turning the winch handle? A common situation on many sailboats out there.


As well as the fact that the line that you're tailing, is something for you to pull against, when you're setup to tail it correctly. Thus, it provides you with a dynamic balancing point.
Which, when coupled with the proper placement of your; feet, knees, backside (upper & lower), hips, & other body parts. That are braced against various structures on the boat. It allows you to use the rope you're tailing, to further stabilize yourself.
This MUST BE an ingraine habit, for all sailors, to always practice.

It lets you tail a line a heck of a lot better, with more muscle power available to pull on it. And being braced against the boat thusly, creates an immensely secure position from which to work. For; halyard tailing, trimming, driving, or doing, X, Y, or Z, onboard.

Bottom line: If you always position yourself to handle lines in the above manner, it becomes automatic to do so, without thought, in ALL situations. Which, especially in emergencies, is a key safety item.

And ideally, when tailing a line, you want to be positioned so that worst case; should one of your hands slip, you lose your balance, the line breaks, etc. That you wind up landing on your butt, both in a location, & also in a position, where gravity itself, keeps you on the boat. Period.
Such is a basic, sailing 101 thing.


I state the above because the following scenario, & similar ones, are very common if you spend much time at sea:

You’re awoken from a dead sleep after a long, & wearying watch, by an obvious emergency on deck. It's deep into the wee hours of night, with a bitter cold rain pouring down. You're half dressed; sans harness or PFD, as you rush on deck wearing, at best, your trousers.
The boat's pitching wildly & erratically, in big, confused seas. All you can hear is the wind, waves, & wildly flapping sails. And the wind speed is 25kts+ more than when you turned in. On top of which, the line that you go to pull on, to assist in sorting things out, turns out not to be connected to anything at all. Or the knot affixing it to the sail slips free, etc.

Right about then is a primo time to have good habits for tailing lines, & proper body positioning habits, hard wired into you.
For as they say. When things go pear shaped, you default to the level of your training.
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