22/03/2021 at 8:52 pm #21505
I have acquired GRP no 8049 a well used ex Blackwater Sailing Club training boat, which I spent last lockdown carrying out gelcoat repairs and varnishing the limited woodwork. Now hoping to take it out in the not too distant future I want to replace the halyards (both wire with rope to pull on) as the rope sections look pretty frail. I see Kevin Butler Rigging on ebay offers to make up to your own measurements, so got the tape measure out….
When I looked closer at what is there I found that the Jib appears to be straightforward 2.5mm wire with a loop for the Highfield lever and 4mm rope, the main halyard seems to have wire and rope fully spliced together as shown on the photo here. The main halyard is also a lighter gauge – 2mm perhaps?
Would anyone offer an opinion on the best setup? I figure I can copy what I have exactly or go for an all rope main halyard – would that work? I see rope halyards are listed by suppliers for the GP but is that for a specific mast setup? I think if I went for a loop in the wire with the rope spliced to that as shown in the KBR ebay listing then I wouldn’t get the loop through the block at the masthead (see photo). The mast is an ageing IYE gold anodized type.
Any thoughts gratefully received!
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22/03/2021 at 8:57 pm #21508
ps any top tips for cleaning the mast, other than hot soapy water and elbow grease? !
23/03/2021 at 12:00 am #21511
If the mast is seriously dirty I think I might be inclined to try spray-on kitchen cleaner, and gentle use of a scrubbing brush.
Or a car shampoo.
Or a pressure washer.
22/03/2021 at 11:57 pm #21510
You are happy that the jib (or genoa) halliard is straightforward, and your query really concerns only the main halliard.
First point, the smaller diameter for the main halliard will be because the load is far less. The role of the main halliard is only to haul the sail up, and tension the luff, for which the tension required is only relatively modest. The genoa (or jib) halliard has to effectively provide serious rig tension, in order to keep the genoa luff as straight as can be achieved despite the distributed lateral loads on it; that is why you have a Highfield lever to tension that halliard, but not the main halliard.
Second point, that upper sheave looks to me to be sized for a rope halliard, which would have been standard at the time the mast was built. Most probably 3/4-inch (circumference) pre-stretched terylene at that time, equivalent to 6 mm (diameter) pre-stretched polyester today; however you may find that 5 mm renders through the sheaves more readily, and particularly so if any of the sheaves have been replaced by more modern ones. If you do choose to go for rope you may prefer 6 mm for comfort in hauling it up, but there is not much to choose in that regard, and if you were thinking of 6 mm it would be wise to try a test piece first to be certain whether it will render through the sheaves.
While you are about the job it is also worth checking that the sheaves still rotate freely; if they do rotate, lubricate them; if they don’t, then unless you can free them off you will need to replace them.
That apart, you have three options for the main halliard, of which I personally would not choose the second option (the type you currently have):
- All rope. That should work perfectly well, and if you decide to use the boat for cruising and wish to fit a reefing facility that is probably the best choice. If you use either pre-stretched or low-stretch polyester, stretch is very unlikely to be a problem, especially as the load is only fairly modest, but if you were nonetheless concerned about that you could opt for rope with a dyneema core. You can make this off to the same cleat that you are currently using.
- A fully spliced composite, as you currently have. That requires a rope to wire splice, which is a fairly skilled bit of ropework, but there are professionals who will do it. However I suspect that this would be more expensive than all-rope (but I have not checked the point), and with modern rope materials I don’t see any advantage in this type of composite; its historical justification was as a low-stretch alternative to the limited choice of all-rope halliards that were available fifty years ago. I also feel that a splice of that nature is inherently likely to be the weakest part of the halliard, but because the load on the main halliard is not particularly large this should still be good enough. This type of composite halliard (unlike the type you have for your genoa halliard) is a valid alternative if you wish to fit a reefing facility.
- A wire halliard terminating in a long “soft” eye-splice (i.e. non-rigid, not using a thimble) with then a rope tail attached by an interlocking soft eyesplice, just like you have for the genoa halliard. The wire loop then hooks over a toothed rack, in place of your existing cleat. You would need to obtain and fit the toothed rack, and it is most usually fitted to the side of the mast. This type of halliard should not be used if you intend to fit a reefing facility, as it would then require the wire-to-rope join to come under working load, which it is not designed to do, and which would be an unfair load for this construction.
For wire halliards, in either case, go for the most flexible type, 7 x 19 construction. (By contrast, use 1 x 19 for standing rigging; it is stronger, but much less flexible.) The original material when this mast was new may well have been galvanised; that was a popular option at the time, but has largely fallen out of favour today, although a few owners still prefer it. Personally I would go for stainless, because it lasts longer and requires less maintenance, but its lifespan is still not indefinite; expect 10 years maximum, and periodically inspect for broken strands at the splices and also anywhere the wire becomes kinked. If you find any broken strands at all expect others to follow, so replace the wire.
Hope this helps,
23/03/2021 at 12:00 am #21512
It’s an old boat and I assume that you are simply looking to pull the sails up and tension the forestay with the jib. The world has moved on since the IYE mast was made, and very acceptable halyards can be made at home using 3mm or 4mm dyneema/spectra. If you use unsheathed dyneema, you can create the splice yourself at home with the right equipment, and the internet is abundant with videos. If you used covered dyneema, you can sew the eyes in the ends using enough stitches. Dyneema is as strong as steel wire, and won’t have a strand break which can lead to damaged fingers.
An internet search for ‘dyneema main halyard GP14’ will bring up many resources.
23/03/2021 at 9:11 pm #21513
Many thanks Oliver and Steve for the comprehensive replies, I think it sounds like rope is definitely the way to go. My only reservation is splicing an eye in – I would love to do it and there are lots of good resources out there but I have a slight concern I will end up with a length of rope and a new tool and a(nother) job at the end of a pretty long list! So maybe I will look to buy a length with an eye spliced in for me, or would it be acceptable just to tie the halyard to the main?
Lifespan of wire rope is an interesting point, I imagine the shrouds must be well over 10 years.
23/03/2021 at 11:32 pm #21514
You don’t actually need to do an eye splice (although for 3-strand rope it is easy, and a skill well worth learning).
Just pass the end of the rope through a “bobble”, and put an overhand knot into the end and pull it into the recess in the “bobble”. Then proceed as in the photos.
That actually takes up less space than the traditional eyesplice and shackle – although with the IYE mast you have plenty of spare height anyway.
Hope this helps,
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23/03/2021 at 11:39 pm #21520
In view of the age of your shrouds inspect the ends of them very carefully indeed, looking for broken strands in particular.
If in any doubt, replace them.
If you do decide to replace, have the new ones made to match the originals, rather than buying “off the shelf”; they may well not be the modern “standard” length, since there is no real standardisation as to the height at which the chainplates are mounted. The “standard” length is for modern boats, which are all much the same in this respect, but early ones may differ.
23/03/2021 at 11:39 pm #21521
The age of the shrouds is not really an issue if the mast is left up and the shrouds remain undisturbed. Think Golden Gate Bridge… However, the thing that stainless steel wire does not like is being bent and jiggled about – exactly what happens to your mast and shrouds when they are towed on a road trailer behind a vehicle. The wire is bent at the shrouds, and then jiggled about for the duration of the towing, and that gentle movement work-hardens the steel and strands snap.
If there are no snapped strands, then it’s likely that for the tension that you will be putting your shrouds under there is no concern. However, checking for broken strands is a finger-stabbing, nail-slicing perilous activity – wear really sturdy gloves.
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by sw13644.
24/03/2021 at 7:11 am #21523
It looks like Oliver and I are coordinating the minute of the day at which we post – this is pure coincidence.
Splicing three strand is not difficult, and is worth learning as Oliver says. I recommend that learning to work 12 strand / hollow core dyneema / spectra is just as valuable and having acquired a small number of tools and mastered a small number of techniques it’s also a very useful skill to possess. These modern materials have seen an explosion of innovation, like the ‘soft shackle’ which looks like it would not work and in my experience really does, elegant kicking strap cascades and the enabling of new sports such as kitesurfing.
24/03/2021 at 11:05 pm #21528
Ah great, many thanks again. The bobble is definitely something I’ve seen before, now you point it out. Looks like a good option to me. Shrouds I think are actually in good condition, though I will do a close inspection as suggested. There is a wire kicker that has some broken strands, at first glance it looks as though the jib halyard that I am removing would make a good replacement once cut down.
Splicing is definitely on my list of skills to learn, but may be one for dark winter nights yet to come!
25/03/2021 at 12:22 am #21529
Kicker: I don’t know, because I have not priced it, but my guess is that the major cost of the wire part of the kicker will be the (professionally done) splices rather than the wire. Unless of course you have a contact who will do them for free; a club member with the necessary kit, or whatever; but few private individuals have such kit.
So if you are having the splices done professionally, and if (as I suspect) they are the major part of the cost, it would be sensible to go for brand new wire rather than re-use fairly ancient wire cut out of the discarded genoa halliard.
But this all depends on my guess about where the costs are incurred, and you will have to check that detail for yourself.
25/03/2021 at 9:55 am #21530steve13003Participant
For the main halyard dont bother with wire use Spectra or similar make off on to a standard wrap around cleat. Genoa Halyard must be wire with a rope tail spliced if a 3 plat rope or overlap and sew to make a loop. For the kicker again ditch the wire and use Spectra or Dynema core rope, if you are using a cascade system the rope can be simply tied to the blocks and the mast loop with bowline knots – it is just a matter of setting lengths with the mast and boom in the boat. For other kicker systems such as a lever – use wire between lever , boom and mast; or multi sheeve blocks Spectra or Dynema.
You say you have an old gold IYE mast – make sure the mast is free from corrosion main areas where these masts suffered are around the genoa sheave box, the spinnaker sheave box / some had tube to lead halyard to the mainsail track rather than having the halyard inside the main tube part of the mast, also if spreaders are fitted check the areas around the spreader bracket, as these were often fitted after the mast left IYE anti corrosion paste was normally used. To clean the mast I would use a pressure washer, followed by a car body cleaner T-Cut or similar and finally a good coat of wax polish.
25/03/2021 at 7:19 pm #21533
I very largely concur with Steve C’s comments, but with two reservations.
For the main halliard you don’t even need Spectra; polyester is quite good enough for that application provided it is either the pre-stretched or low-stretch type. There is not a great deal of load in the main halliard, so stretch is not a problem if you use one of those two types. But (of course) avoid nylon, and if you use polyester it must be one of those two types.
On my 1979 series 1 boat I used 5 mm pre-stretched polyester, and even when pulling down hard on the cascade-type kicker I never detected any stretch in the halliard.
For the kicker, I assume that your boom is also IYE and contemporary with your mast, so a powerful cascade tackle may well be too much for your ageing boom and mast. Neither of them, and particularly the boom, were built as strong as today’s spars, and unlike today’s spars they were not designed for the kicker to bend the mast in normal use. And in the fifty years since they were built, corrosion is likely to have taken its toll, plus perhaps weaknesses from additional holes drilled for various fittings over the years, plus perhaps cracks; so they won’t be even as strong as they were when new. Using a modern kicker that is specifically designed to bend the mast is potentially asking for trouble.
The contemporary kickers when your spars were new were intended only to prevent the boom lifting when off the wind, and were typically only 2:1 or 3:1 – a very few were 4:1. Flattening the sail was achieved by the mainsheet, which is why the full-width sheet horse was developed, as this allowed the sheet to pull vertically down on the boom even when it was out over the quarter. Agreed not as effective as today’s rig with 16:1 or 18:1 kickers, but not bad nonetheless.
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