Sometime in the not too distant future I would like to replace my halyards and topping lift.
The job scares me slightly as I cannot fathom a way of joining the new and old ropes together, (or a thinner mouse line to the rope) to be sure that they won't fall apart inside the mast, or getting jammed in a sheave at the top of the mast etc.
Loads of owners must have performed this task, so, what is your 'sure fire' solution for getting it done (apart from paying the boatyard to do it!). What method has worked for you?
Last Edit: Aug 13, 2019 19:15:21 GMT by hillwalker
I agree with moonshadow. Smooth is the key. You want the joint to be strong, but you don’t have to get carried away. I usually tape over the joint with electrical tape to make sure it’s smooth after sewing.
To make the sewing easier, I put a reeving splice in the end of the lines. Google for “reeving splice” and you will find lots of instructions, including several on YouTube.
an easy option that has worked for me, is to tape a small 1/8" line to old halyard, then tape this line to the new halyard, pull thru. Yes double the work, double the potential loss of line...... Reality, either option works, choose your poison.
I usually use a messenger line as an intermediary because it allows you to pull one halyard top-down and the next one bottom up. This is important because there's usually a shackle spliced into the end of the halyard, you can't pull that over the sheave. So it needs to go in in the opposite direction that the other one came out. The messenger can be anything really but I use a spool of 1/8" spectra that I have lying around. It's strong enough that I know it won't break regardless of how hard I pull on it.
What I do is tie a rolling hitch attaching the spectra onto the loose end of the halyard and then pull it down from the shackle end. Put a little bit of tension onto the spectra to keep things under control. That leaves me with a halyard on deck and a spectra messenger running up the mast. Tie a rolling hitch onto the loose end of the new halyard and (very important!) tape over the entire knot starting upstream of the rolling hitch and ending at a tapered point on the messenger. This allows the messenger to slide over the sheave without binding. I use masking tape. The whole process shouldn't take more than a minute or two, no sewing needed.
Pull up on the loose end of the messenger to bring the halyard into place, being gentle when working the taped bit over the sheave. It's a bit chunky but should go without hanging up. If there is a problem bring it down and smooth out the bundle or even grease it up.
This has worked for me many times without ever having a problem. The only thing I could imagine going seriously wrong is the messenger jumps the sheave and gets caught off the side. Keep firm but gentle tension on the lines and it shouldn't be a problem.
You can use the same technique to pull electrical wires through conduit. David