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Old 16-10-2010, 09:13   #1
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Halyard Replacement Tips ?

I'm replacing my halyards this coming week, a task I've never undertaken before. My assumption has been that I would need a partner, a bosun's chair (something else I've never done) and a bit of nerve. But, I bumped into a friend at the yard yesterday who suggested I could just attach the new line to the old one and simply feed it up and over the blocks at the top of the mast.

This would save me a lot of time, if it's so... and I could take the project on myself without trying to coordinate schedules with someone else to hoist me aloft.

Has anyone replaced their halyards this way? If so, any tips for how to attach the ends of the new and old lines together so that they'll thread through - whipping twine? self-amagamating tape? duct tape?

I may also start a different thread about climbing the mast solo... I hate being at the mercy of someone else's schedule...
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Old 16-10-2010, 09:20   #2
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I just butted the ends together, used a needle and a bit of dental floss to stitch the two somewhat together and then used black electrical tape stretched taut (trying to avoid creation of any bulge or significant increase in diameter). Worked fine for me......
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Old 16-10-2010, 09:35   #3
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That worked for me for all halyards except the main. On my boat, one end of the main halyard is secured at the top of the mast. If yours is set up the same way, you'll need to go up the mast to change it. Once you have disconnected the old main halyard and connected the new one, you can then stitch or tape the ends together and pull the new one the rest of the way through the mast.
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Old 16-10-2010, 09:50   #4
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You might find some useful information in earlier CF discussions;

Halyard replacement:
Here ➥ main halyard replacement

Mast climbing:
Here ➥ How Do You Climb the Mast ??

And here ➥ Climbing the Mast Safety

And here ➥ Mast Climbing

And here ➥ Single handed mast climb system
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Old 16-10-2010, 10:05   #5
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Anomalys' method worked just fine for me as well. I butted the ends together, and stitched them with waxed whipping twine, then a cover of electrical tape. Did the main, and jib halyards across double sheaves, and the staysail and spinnaker halliards over one sheave this way in about 5 minutes each off a spool of new line. I kept the old stuff (really grotty) around for tying down stuff and as a heaving line.

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Old 16-10-2010, 10:10   #6
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Thanks everyone. Sounds simple enough (famous last words...). Appreciate all the help. Cheers.
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Old 23-10-2014, 10:57   #7
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Re: Halyard Replacement Tips ?

Hey, does your halyard have a shackle attached at one end? If so, you can't just attach the butts. You would end up with the new shackle on the wrong side of the mast. So what do you do? Attach a line (one about as long as your halyard) without shackles to the butt of the existing line. This new line is called a messenger. Once you have pulled the messenger through, disconnect the old halyard and sew on the butt of the new halyard. Pull the messenger back through, and voila. Alternatively, you can use the old halyard as the messenger once you have cut the shackle off.
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Old 23-10-2014, 11:21   #8
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Re: Halyard Replacement Tips ?

I just did mine last week. Watch this youTube for instructions Stitch the old and new halyard together - YouTube
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Old 24-10-2014, 00:43   #9
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Re: Halyard Replacement Tips ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Swampy View Post
Hey, does your halyard have a shackle attached at one end? If so, you can't just attach the butts. You would end up with the new shackle on the wrong side of the mast. So what do you do? Attach a line (one about as long as your halyard) without shackles to the butt of the existing line. This new line is called a messenger. Once you have pulled the messenger through, disconnect the old halyard and sew on the butt of the new halyard. Pull the messenger back through, and voila. Alternatively, you can use the old halyard as the messenger once you have cut the shackle off.
Hi there,

Yes, stitching and some tape is the way to go, worked fine for me.

On the new boat we have halyards with parts steel wire, and I think the suggestion with the messenger is brilliant. Thanks, I always wondered...

Cheers,
Phil
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Old 24-10-2014, 09:04   #10
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Re: Halyard Replacement Tips ?

Even if your halyard has a shackle, use the other end that doesn't. Or you could cut the shackle off then do the stitching with tape.

Personally I don't like having shackles "permanently" attached to halyards because it makes it harder ie you probably won't switch the halyards end for end every once in a while.

Good halyards are expensive so taking good care of them is worthwhile.
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Old 24-10-2014, 10:54   #11
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Re: Halyard Replacement Tips ?

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Originally Posted by northwestsailor View Post
I just did mine last week. Watch this youTube for instructions Stitch the old and new halyard together - YouTube
While I agree stitching the two halyards together
is the way to go, the video guy didn't use any
lock stitches and only had one little overhand
knot. If they get something caught and have
to yank on that it's gonna come out.

Woulda been simple to put in a lock stitch or 5.
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Old 24-10-2014, 12:11   #12
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Re: Halyard Replacement Tips ?

There's a simple, & time tested way of leading new halyards, plus keeping life in them that goes back at least as far back as when Afro's & Bell Bottoms were in style.

On all of your halyards, you'll want to put a Reeving Splice into the bitter end - APS: Rigging and Splicing Services - Look about 1/3 of the way down the page.

To make one, you just take out about 1' of core in the bitter end, & back splice about 6" of the cover into itself, & lock stitch it in place. Leaving you with a nice, solid, slimline, loop in the end of each halyard.
Taking care to make sure that said splice(s) is strong enough to hold a couple hundred pounds of force. Ergo the lock stitching (for solidity & insurance).

Then, when you want to pull a halyard out of the mast. Be it to swap it for a new one, to inspect it, or to take them out of the mast for Winter storage, & or UV protection etc.
You'll need to pick up a spool of decent quality small diameter cordage, say 1/8"+ dia. And 3/16" is even better.
So, with your new spool of messenger cord. Tie it through the end of the Reeving Splice. And go ahead, & pull the halyard out of the mast. Making sure that the messenger line follows right along with it.

Also, it's important to ensure of course, not to use a piece of messenger line which is less than 120% of the mast's length. And preferably, say 240% of it's length.
The extra length being so that you can secure (solidly) one end of your messenger line to the bow pulpit, or a pad eye in that vicinity. And then, on the other end, it'll leave you with enough length for it to run down the inside of the mast, through the turning block at the mast base, & back, over the cabin top, through your line clutches, where it gets tied off to a winch or cleat there.

If you're going to leave more than one of these messengers in position, say, through the winter, make sure to attach (waterproof) labels to them. So that come Spring time commissioning, you know which is which. It's a headache saver.

Also, if you're going to leave these messenger lines in a stepped spar all Winter, make sure they're drum tight. As the wind will exploit any play in them, & cause them to chafe (which can make for headaches later on, especially if it's enough to make'em break).

Or, once you've pulled out the old halyard, with said messenger attached. Untie it from the old halyard, & tie it to the reeving splice in the new one. And from there, it should be an easy pull to get the new halyard led through the mast.

I say should be, as sometimes halyards cross one another inside of the tube, & create enough friction that hauling a new/another halyard or messenger through the mast requires a bit of force.

Hope that helps, & yeah, at first glance it's not a low $ solution. But given how much extra life you get out of your halyards by removing them for the winter. Or long stints where the boat's out of service in the Summer, well, buying that spool of 3/16" cord, plus sewing in those reeving splices, pays for itself fairly well.
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Old 24-10-2014, 13:29   #13
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Re: Halyard Replacement Tips ?

"UNCIVILIZED" has some great points here.
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Old 24-10-2014, 14:02   #14
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Re: Halyard Replacement Tips ?

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Originally Posted by Anomaly View Post
I just butted the ends together, used a needle and a bit of dental floss to stitch the two somewhat together and then used black electrical tape stretched taut (trying to avoid creation of any bulge or significant increase in diameter). Worked fine for me......
Yep, just sew the ends together with sail thread. be sure to tape it smooth so it doesn't hang up. You need sticky tape, masking tape may work.
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