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Rigging the Halyard

Desultor

New Member
Hi all,
Here's collected wisdom on the halyard from these forums, hopefully helpful to new folks like me. Perhaps it could live on in the Knowledge Base? Feel free to edit/correct. Enjoy!
-Jack.


Diameter
Standard is 3/16” = 5mm.

Length
Standard is 25 feet. An extra 3-5 feet is recommended, which helps if you raise the sail in knee-deep water.

Type
Spectra = Dyneema = HMPE = High Modulus Polyethelene

Cost and Where to Buy
Location on Upper Spar
Here’s some examples, but I’ve seen others used in this range:
  • 54” from the head (racing)
  • 64” from the head (short Jens)
  • 74” from the head (Jens/recreational)
  • 84” from the head (“geezer”? Doesn’t play nice with a cleat on the mast.)
Some folks like measuring from the tack of the sail instead. With the above, bigger number means higher off the deck. Raising the boom perhaps 20” above the deck allows for less ducking for recreational sailing, but racers might prefer the gooseneck as low as 4” off the deck.

Tape
White electrician’s tape or gaffer’s tape is recommended on the spar at or above the knot location, wrapped around the spar. The halyard ties around the tape. Black electrician’s tape isn’t recommended, as it gets gross in the sun. Tape provides extra friction for the halyard, and an obvious marker for locations. Some folks add a zip tie to the spar above and below the knot. The boat I bought had black electrician’s tape wrapped around the knot, and a metal hose clamp just in case! Not recommended.

Knot on Upper Spar
Installing a Cleat on the Mast
(Note that a "Mast cleat" can mean a cleat on the deck near the mast.) Without a cleat on the mast, the hoisted sail tries to push the mast through the mast step continually, and more in high wind. With a cleat, much of that load is transferred to the mast and cleat. 3 3/4” aluminum or nylon horn cleat is recommended, with stainless screws or aluminum pop rivets or better drive rivets. Keep everything aluminum to avoid corrosion. Use 3M 4200 or similar sealant between cleat and mast. Install it no higher than 48” from base of mast to keep class legal. If it’s too high you can’t reach it from waist-deep water. If it’s too low it will interfere with a recreational rig, and gets into the weak/stress area of the mast. Position it lined up with a halyard hole in the mast’s end cap. You’ll want to place the mast so the cleat is on the starboard side, assuming that’s where you stand when you raise the sail.

Raising the Sail
Verify the halyard is secure in place on the upper spar, then run the tail through the mast cap towards the cleat on the mast. Raise the sail mostly by pulling the halyard and lifting the gooseneck. Then tie a slip knot (or trucker’s hitch) in the halyard 2 feet above the cleat. Feed the tail through the knot, loop around the cleat, and pull down. This provides a 2-to-1 purchase to get the upper spar to the top of the mast easily. See Steve King’s excellent rigging video.

Tying Off
After securing the halyard to the cleat on the mast, be sure to continue the halyard to the deck. Through the fairlead, around mast and over gooseneck, back through the fairlead, and secured to the cleat on the deck. This is important so the sail and mast and rig aren’t offered to Davey Jones upon capsize.
 

Sailflow

Active Member
Edit

After securing the halyard to the cleat on the mast, continue the halyard to the deck through the fairlead, and secure to the cleat on the deck. The remaining line can go back through the fairlead from the front, over gooseneck, back through the fairlead, and secured to the cleat on the deck. This allows you to adjust just the vang tension and the rig will stay fastened to the boat. This is important so the sail and mast and rig aren’t offered to Davey Jones upon capsize.
 

Dickhogg

Active Member
This is great! Splendid work.
Personally, I would never use a rolling hitch to tie the halliard to the upper spar. it's a great knot and I use it all the time but I wouldn't trust it for that job.
 
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