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Old 19-03-2017, 23:51   #1
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Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

I just bought a boat that's been sitting on the hard for at least a year. Most of the running rigging was pretty bad. Full of mildew.

I decided to replace it all with new rope. I replaced the main halyard and roller furling jenny halyard with double braid poly. When the jib halyard came down I found to my surprise that the wire was spliced into the rope. I've never seen that before.

So, I started reading up on this and the jury is pretty divided between rope and wire halyards. But, I'm wondering now if I should swap the poly for Vectran or other less stretchy material. Or, spring for remaking the original half rope, half wire halyard.

The boat will be sailed in fresh water on Lake Michigan and I will not be racing.
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Old 20-03-2017, 00:05   #2
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

Rope to wire splicing used to be very common. I went with all rope halyards, dacron real low stretch, but don't make the mistake I did and assume that the new rope will fit the sheaves up top. I had the old phenolic sheaves and the new line was a little bigger than the sheaves could handle, even though I THOUGHT I checked they would fit. I split one of the sheaves and didn't know it for a while. You may need to go up there and check it out before making the switch.
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Old 20-03-2017, 00:13   #3
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

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Originally Posted by Bigjim View Post
.............

So, I started reading up on this and the jury is pretty divided between rope and wire halyards. But, I'm wondering now if I should swap the poly for Vectran or other less stretchy material. Or, spring for remaking the original half rope, half wire halyard.

..........
Yes...
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Old 20-03-2017, 01:05   #4
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
Rope to wire splicing used to be very common. I went with all rope halyards, dacron real low stretch, but don't make the mistake I did and assume that the new rope will fit the sheaves up top. I had the old phenolic sheaves and the new line was a little bigger than the sheaves could handle, even though I THOUGHT I checked they would fit. I split one of the sheaves and didn't know it for a while. You may need to go up there and check it out before making the switch.
If you use spectra or vectran cored line of the same diameter as the rope portion of your old halyards it will fit the sheaves at the masthead. And I'll add my recommendation to use such line. Plain dacron double braid stretches far too much for halyards... if you want to maintain sail shape.

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Old 20-03-2017, 01:09   #5
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
Rope to wire splicing used to be very common. I went with all rope halyards, dacron real low stretch, but don't make the mistake I did and assume that the new rope will fit the sheaves up top. I had the old phenolic sheaves and the new line was a little bigger than the sheaves could handle, even though I THOUGHT I checked they would fit. I split one of the sheaves and didn't know it for a while. You may need to go up there and check it out before making the switch.
Odds are the sheave was damaged long prior to switching halyards. But yes, it's definitely a wise idea to inspect them prior to changing halyard material. And checking as much of the rigging as you can where the halyard will run, for burrs, sharp edges, scoring etc. So that the new halyard doesn't get eaten by toothy metal.

As to halyard materials & sizing. Generally you want a sheave that's at least 8x the diameter of the cordage you'll be using, as asking rope to go around super sharp turns can wear it prematurely, or weaken it. And unless you've a super cheap source for it, I'd pass on the Vectran, & go with a Spectra (Dyneema) variant of some sort. As Vectran's a lot more sensitive to UV. Which is fine if you're racing, & need super low stretch, plus have a bit extra $ to spend on rigging. But otherwise something like Samson's Warpspeed is great. And it's kind of the benchmark to which a lot of other lines get compared. It's light, though, good UV & chafe resistance, easy to splice, runs well through blocks, & holds well in clutches & on winches. And it's got many competitors that are quite similar, so there's no lack of choices out there.
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Old 20-03-2017, 07:43   #6
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

Thanks for all the info. The existing wire/rope halyard was throwing some burrs near the top of the roller furler. So, it seems the previous owner had the jib up most of the time. The wire seems to be worn where is makes the bend at the top of the mast.

The last owner was not a racer, so he probably didn't use that halyard a lot. Obviously, if the wire was abraded, the sheaves at the top may also be worn by rubbing rather than the constant raising and lowering of the jib.
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Old 20-03-2017, 08:13   #7
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

The idea was to limit stretch (racing) and chafe (cruising). We use pre-stretched poly for that not just any poly. Splicing is dead easy so all this is done at home and by hand EXCEPT the talurite at the wire end.

My 25m (10wire/15tail) halyards come at USD 50 apiece done this way. Equivalent Spectra halyard comes at USD 150-200.

If there is no chafe or if you drop and hoist sails every day, you can simply replace with all pre-stretched poly or else ($$$) with Spectra core / poly braid.

Have a good look at your sheaves as you want clean ones without rough edges/cracks when using all soft halyards.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 20-03-2017, 10:52   #8
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

go with the rope to wire splice, IF the wire is not showing signs of wear such as loos strands. The 1by19 wire you how have I would suggest you stick with.
Yes, there will be other opinions on the matter.
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Old 20-03-2017, 10:58   #9
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

Just use poly. Simple easy and easy on the hands..... assuming your sheaves are fit for rope.
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Old 20-03-2017, 11:23   #10
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

Who made your wire/rope halyards at that price?
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Old 20-03-2017, 11:46   #11
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
Rope to wire splicing used to be very common. I went with all rope halyards, dacron real low stretch, but don't make the mistake I did and assume that the new rope will fit the sheaves up top. I had the old phenolic sheaves and the new line was a little bigger than the sheaves could handle, even though I THOUGHT I checked they would fit. I split one of the sheaves and didn't know it for a while. You may need to go up there and check it out before making the switch.
I was at a rigging shop buying a new all-rope halyard to replace a broken rope-wire halyard. The rigger insisted I bring him the sheave from the masthead, so that he could "turn it" to make it the correct size for the new line. No charge. I also asked about getting a new rope-wire halyard instead. He said he would have to pull a guy out of retirement to make it, since they haven't made those in many years.
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Old 20-03-2017, 11:49   #12
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

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Originally Posted by Bigjim View Post
Thanks for all the info. The existing wire/rope halyard was throwing some burrs near the top of the roller furler. So, it seems the previous owner had the jib up most of the time. The wire seems to be worn where is makes the bend at the top of the mast.

The last owner was not a racer, so he probably didn't use that halyard a lot. Obviously, if the wire was abraded, the sheaves at the top may also be worn by rubbing rather than the constant raising and lowering of the jib.
The damage could also have been caused by halyard wrap. To be safe, you might want to check the head stay (near the top) as well.
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Old 20-03-2017, 12:30   #13
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

Rope-to-wire halyards and sheets were standard for decades, especially on racing boats. The stretch factor of good quality poly rope is small, probably less three tenths of one percent of length and this diminishes with use. And, you can always take another crank or to on the halyard winch when you tack. Of course fabric rope of all kinds is more susceptible to chafe than wire but thankfully rope-to-wire splices are long gone. If you sail on fresh water remember that fresh water results in mildew, salt water does not. It's the same with your sails and fowl weather gear.
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Old 20-03-2017, 13:26   #14
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

Well I think I'm still the fastest ol' CCA boat in the harbor, but if that guy with the Triton ever beats me I'll be all over that Dyneema Vectran stuff!
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Old 20-03-2017, 15:32   #15
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Re: Replaced wire/rope halyard with poly

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Originally Posted by mickelsen View Post
go with the rope to wire splice, IF the wire is not showing signs of wear such as loos strands. The 1by19 wire you how have I would suggest you stick with.
Yes, there will be other opinions on the matter.
Peter Mickelsen
Here is one of those other opinions...

Do not use 1x19 wire

In fact I would be extremely surprised if the previous rope / wire halyards where indeed 1x19. This wire is not flexible enough to turn around the mast head sheave.

If you wish to use wire / rope, then do use 7x19 and preferably galvanised rather than SS - again in the interests of flexibility.
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