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Old 15-05-2023, 12:14   #1
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Wharram & Antal inspired halyard system for furling headsails

So I was watching this great video of James Wharram and Hanneke Boon (linked below) and looking at these designs again, I just had to come up with this new idea.

Antal is selling this nice halyard system with a rail to be mounted on the mast in place of the halyard clutch. It allows the use of a half halyard for a roller furled headsail, using a half halyard helper line for hoisting and lowering only.

It is nice and I have been recommending it. But it’s expensive too. Also, as long as you don’t change your halyard, the car holding the halyard is always on the same position on the rail. Pretty silly to not do much with it.

So here is my version, which is possible due to the availability of Dyneema. I am sure others will post they have seen this before, but I swear I just came up with this and never saw it anywhere else.

Our boat is 64’ but we are a ketch and our main mast is comparable to that of a 45’ sloop (59’ high above the deck). The line sizes are for us, you may be abke to use smaller line.

I really like bare Dyneema halyards, for which I use 6mm Samson Amsteel Blue because it has proven it’s UV resistance and reliability. This is crazy strong, holding 3.5 tons.

Always keep a couple hundred feet of this aboard.

Start with a piece of about 8’ long (you will need to check how much you need, which will become clear further into this). Splice a small eye, let’s say 3” on each end of this line. Now sit at the base of your mast, wrap it around the mast just underneath the boom vang bracket, then pull one end through the eye at the other end, like a lasso and pull tight. Feels like Wharram inspired already
Now hold the free end up and turn the lasso until this free end is exactly under the gate where the halyard exits the mast. The free end must sit well below the mast winch that is normally used for this halyard.

Next, take a 3’ length of 1/8” Spyderline and tie it to the eye at the free end with a small bowline. This completes the anchor-point for the halyard.

Now make the half halyard for hoisting and lowering the headsail. I recommend to make this from a rope like Samson MLX3. I use an 8mm line, make sure it isn’t too small for the self tailer of the mast winch. This line still holds 2 tons so more than enough to hoist/lower the sail. The key is that this line is strippable and the core has a Uv protective coating. Kind of like a cheap version of Warpspeed II rope.

Strip the last 3’ or so, cutting away 2.5’ of the outer braid and splice it into the core for 6”, leaving you with 2’ of bare core. Splice a small 3” eye into that, with the buried part stopping before meeting the buried cover.
Like for the anchor point, tie a length of 1/8” Spyderline to it, 2’ is more than enough. This line must be long enough to go from the upper swivel of the furler, up into the mast, down out the slot, plus 10’ or so.

Now we get the real half halyard that keeps the headsail up. Use Amsteel Blue 6mm, splice a small eye where you attach it to the upper swivel of the furler. I need to use a metal shackle because the furler is sharp and unfriendly for a soft shackle. The length of this halyard: the top swivel must be pulled all the way up against the wrap-stop device (engaging it) that prevents the halyard to wrap around the forestay. You may have a different mechanism to prevent halyard wrap but make sure you go high enough. The tack of the foresail should go up a bit if needed to get this right.
For the length of the Amsteel: from the upper swivel, go up into the mast, then down out the slot and down to within 8” of the anchor point where another 3” eye splice should end. I recommend to keep an extra couple feet of Amsteel buried at this splice to have reserve length if even needed. You may have to adjust this splice during tuning later.

So to make a full halyard, you take the mlx3 halyard and lash it to the Amsteel halyard with the small piece of Spyderline. I like to use three wraps, then tie it with a small bowline to the Amsteel loop so that you have a small bowline to each of the half halyards.

For this Spyderline, remember that each wrap of the lashing holds 1 ton, so for hoisting etc. 2 wraps is enough but to hold a 6mm Amsteel Blue I recommend 4 wraps minimum.

Now you need a snatchblock and attach it to the Dyneema anchor point. Reeve the halyard, attach it to the furler swivel and the end at the mast is pulled through the snatch block and up around the mast winch.

Now you can hoist the sail. I loosen the tack of the sail to make sure I hoist the swivel all the way up against the halyard wrap preventer. The Amsteel should have come out of the slot and be pretty close to the anchor point. Take the Spyderline from the anchor point and lash it to the halyard, then loosen the mlx3 half halyard from the winch so that the anchor point takes the strain and remove the mlx3 half halyard as well as the snatch block.

Last I tighten the tack of the sail down to the furling drum using yet another Spyderline lashing. I set the halyard tension here much like with a Cunningham for the main, keeping the top swivel in the correct position.

Now you have zero bulk at the mast and no permanent hardware for this halyard at all.

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Old 17-05-2023, 09:22   #2
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Re: Wharram & Antal inspired halyard system for furling headsails

IMO this is a very complicated way to accomplish something that will only complicate your life when you need to drop your sail in a hurry at 2am.
I feel the same way about the Antal system, I've dealt with a LOT of people who have had furling issues and had to drop the sail in a hurry, and the only quick solution was to cut the halyard - resulting in them having to go up the rig to drop a new halyard down the mast after the drama has ended.
The only way to make it "quick" (still a lot slower than a traditional halyard) is to alwsya have the "tail" line secured and ready to go on the end you have secured at the mast base, so this kinda negates any of the benefits.
I say, just have a halyard tail and stow it neatly/securely.
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Old 17-05-2023, 14:53   #3
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Re: Wharram & Antal inspired halyard system for furling headsails

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Originally Posted by The Yacht Rigger View Post
IMO this is a very complicated way to accomplish something that will only complicate your life when you need to drop your sail in a hurry at 2am.
I feel the same way about the Antal system, I've dealt with a LOT of people who have had furling issues and had to drop the sail in a hurry, and the only quick solution was to cut the halyard - resulting in them having to go up the rig to drop a new halyard down the mast after the drama has ended.
The only way to make it "quick" (still a lot slower than a traditional halyard) is to alwsya have the "tail" line secured and ready to go on the end you have secured at the mast base, so this kinda negates any of the benefits.
I say, just have a halyard tail and stow it neatly/securely.
In 50 years of sailing of which 40 years with a furling headsail, I never had to quickly lower the headsail. If I ever would have to, there’s no need to cut, I can just disconnect it and let it go much faster than you can flake the bundle of halyard that has been hanging there for months…
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Old 18-05-2023, 04:07   #4
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Re: Wharram & Antal inspired halyard system for furling headsails

I was thinking of something similar. We use a version of this type of system in Tasar dinghies. To raise the main we put some VB cord on the end of the wire or spectra halyard before we raise the mast and take if off and stow it when the main is up.

I was thinking of splicing an end into the genoa halyard and raising the genoa on the furler with the extra line and then getting rid of it. The genoa halyard tail is always just sitting there, getting in the way at the bottom of my mast. The other halyards are required, but half the genoa halyard sits there for a year or so before I drop the sail - reeving on a tail would be a good idea.

I don't think anything special needs to be done. A little eye spliced in the end and a light line used to pull the sail up. Then onto the winch with the real halyard and cleat in the clutch, where it can be released from the winch. I may do it sometime soon and it would be no problem to grab some light line if the headsail needed to be lowered if you can't find the proper tail in an emergency.

I don't even like my non essential topping lift being there. I should mouse that and get rid of it, or replace it with spectra that can take some load in an emergency but is 3-4mm instead of 10.

cheers

Phil
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Old 18-05-2023, 06:21   #5
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Re: Wharram & Antal inspired halyard system for furling headsails

Quote:
Originally Posted by catsketcher View Post
I was thinking of something similar. We use a version of this type of system in Tasar dinghies. To raise the main we put some VB cord on the end of the wire or spectra halyard before we raise the mast and take if off and stow it when the main is up.

I was thinking of splicing an end into the genoa halyard and raising the genoa on the furler with the extra line and then getting rid of it. The genoa halyard tail is always just sitting there, getting in the way at the bottom of my mast. The other halyards are required, but half the genoa halyard sits there for a year or so before I drop the sail - reeving on a tail would be a good idea.

I don't think anything special needs to be done. A little eye spliced in the end and a light line used to pull the sail up. Then onto the winch with the real halyard and cleat in the clutch, where it can be released from the winch. I may do it sometime soon and it would be no problem to grab some light line if the headsail needed to be lowered if you can't find the proper tail in an emergency.

I don't even like my non essential topping lift being there. I should mouse that and get rid of it, or replace it with spectra that can take some load in an emergency but is 3-4mm instead of 10.

cheers

Phil
Exactly, I have sailed with a half headsail halyard for many years now, but used a clutch and some half-hitches around itself. With the system described above, you get rid of all the hardware and bulk of line that isn’t used.
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