Latest News: Forums Technical mast work Reply To: mast work

Dave Barker

If I have understood correctly I’m guessing that what you call a ratchet tightener is either a Highfield lever or a muscle box. These are normally used to apply tension to the genoa or jib halyard (which in turn tightens the shrouds).

The main halyard doesn’t need to be tightened to quite the same extent, so a simple cleat is usually adequate, often screwed to the mast, from which the halyard can be released quickly and easily to raise or lower the mainsail, including partial raising/lowering when putting in or shaking out a reef.

Because the main halyard is approximately twice the length of the mast it should easily reach its cleat even when the mainsail is deep-reefed.

The genoa halyard will typically be wire for most of its length, with a loop at one end which in my boat is hooked onto the Highfield lever prior to tensioning the genoa, There is a rope tail (with stopper knot at the end) spliced onto the wire loop to stop the halyard from disappearing right up the mast when the genoa is lowered

By the way, I can recommend the Wayfarer Book, available from this website at £15 to members – money well spent imo.

If I have got the wrong end of the stick then please ignore all of the above.