Latest News: Forums Technical Main Halyard Re: Re: Main Halyard


NO, you are doing nothing wrong. However, if you need a lever to top the sail there is something wrong with your sail. My guess is you have old sails and the bolt rope has shrunk. To solve this take the stitches out that fix the bolt rope at clew, let it slide up until you can hoist the sail without significant tension all the way up to the black band. Then re-attach the bolt rope with some new stitches a little higher up the luff. Today most sailmakers deliver their sails with some extra length of bolt rope to allow for shrinkage. If your sail does not have the extra length, don’t worry as long as the bolt rope is less then a foot short. if it is more then a foot short, you could add some new bolt rope to the lower part of the luff and stitch both it’s ends to the sail. The two parts of rope don’t need to be connected as long as their bitter ends are stitched to the sail.

There should be no or very little tension on the luff for a nice, deep, low winds sail trim. Or as Mike Mac puts it: leave those speed wrinkles in the luff. If luff tension is needed we use our Cunningham hole and purchase to do it. I have avoided the bolt rope issue all together by ordering my sails with bungee cord instead of bolt rope :mrgreen:

Now, if you are not going to tension your luff, why bother with steel wire? Do as most of us do and replace it with 4mm Dyneema rope. That also avoids the eye/splice/knot half-way up the halyard. Dyneema is just as strong as steel and has very little stretch but it does wear on the sheaves, whereas steel wire wears the sheaves! Because Dyneema wears we tend to buy our halyards three or four foot too long. That allows us to cut off four inches of the top every six months or so to force another part of the halyard on the sheaves and cleats. That way it should last as long as a steel wire halyard.

Normal luff tension should allow you to get rid of the finger breaker (highfield lever) and a Dyneema halyard allows the use of a simple clam-cleat. When positioned on the mast below a block it auto cleats the halyard while hoisting. The halyard comes out the bottom sheave, goes straight up along the mast, through the clam-cleat and then through a (flip) block that allows you to pull in any direction.
The picture above shows my set-up with the halyard clam-cleat hiding behind the compass bracket. Above it is a small block that allows me to pull in any direction. The white striped line is the Dyneema main halyard.

What I have described above is nothing new, most of us have a set-up similar to this and all new MK-IV boats are delivered standard with this main halyard set-up. Steel main halyards are a thing of the past, from before Dyneema was invented.

Please note that the above does not apply to the Genoa halyard. The Genoa halyard is heavily tensioned and hence needs to meet different criterions.