Latest News: Forums Technical Shortening wire halyard

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • #3451

    Whilst checking my rig tension at the recent Ullswater gathering with expert help (thank you John) I realised I was not getting enough tension on my fore-halyard with the highfield lever.

    The suggestion to move the highfield lever up, which whilst technically easy, does not give much extra purchase before the lever will knock against the gooseneck.

    Thus it would be better to shorten the wire halyard. This is (I suppose as is standard) of wire construction with the ends clamped into a loop.

    Does anyone have any advice on the best way to shorten this? Can I do it myself and if so what specialist tools will I need? If not who can shorten it for me?


    This is only my personal opinion, but I would consider replacing the halyard completely and build-in some some form of adjustment at the outboard end such as . Work out your length accurately, incorporating the adjuster set at some mid point and you should have some leeway to adjust the length of the halyard to achieve the desired tension with the highfield lever.


    The joint is made with a copper ferrule, and a swaging tool. Both should be available at a chandlers. This has to be done with care though. I made short cables with loops in for my kicker, and the wire pulled out of the ferrules twice under high load. Then the chandlers admitted that their swaging tool in the shop wasn’t very good, and I bought a better one for use at home. I also used two ferrules the last time.

    I would also expect that you could take your wire halyard to a chandlers or boatyard, say “I want a new one just like this but 2 inches shorter” and they would make it for you, probably for not much more than the swaging tool costs.


    Hi Adrian and everyone!
    I was in the same situation when I replaced the lever for a muscle box some time ago. So, to help you not repeat my mistake:

    If you decide to buy a swaging tool and do it yourself, check that the shop and tool manufacturer offer appropriate ferrules for the tool you are buying. The ferrules need to be copper, and need to be thin enough to run throug the sheaves after squeezing.

    Still, I think it is much easier to do just the measurements on your own and then order a finished halyard. I ordered mine from:
    by filling the form on the website. The details I stated were:
    Wire 7 X 19, dia. 3mm, hard eye + soft eye
    Length = 5855mm
    Length LP = 50mm
    and it arrived perfect. I think they even put the spliced rope tail, I probably asked for that via ‘Notes’ but don’t remember 100% any more. Of course measures for your boat would most probably be slightly different.

    Best wishes,

    Dave Bevan

    @Adrian Pery wrote:

    Whilst checking my rig tension

    Tension is one of several checks for proper rig setup. Before you break-out the wire cutters or the credit card, make sure you do a complete check of the setup:-

      Mast rake
      pivot pin alignment
      spreader angle/length

    Maybe a bit chicken/egg if you can’t get enough tension, but better to check you haven’t got too much mast rake before you chop the halyard.

    If you still need to shorten the halyard, you may find that swaging a new hard-eye makes it too short. Moving your highfield down, or adding shackles may compensate, but getting one made-up as Fantasia and Mato suggest may be the best option.



    Dave – Thank you. These were all checked in Ullswater – indeed it was whilst doing a full check with the aid of John Mellor that we realised I needed a shorter halyard. I have measured the old one and will probably buy a new one – then at least I have a spare…..

    Interestingly, differing from Mato’s dimensions my current halyard is 6370mm with an LP of 300mm – so I will get a slightly shorter one (but no where near as short as his).

    Thank you all for your suggestions.


    So your current halyard is about half a meter longer than mine.
    I happen to have jib (not genoa) dimensions at hand, taken from my sail and from Ralph’s Spree Lady:

    _____Pin?ika____Spree Lady

    Again half a meter difference!
    (Leech and foot are of slightly different lengths too, but the areas are nearly equal.)
    Since jib luff length is the same as genoa luff length on the same boat, I suppose that the luff on my genoa is 4.13 m long too. So I went into class rules to see if I’ve got something messed up, and what I found is:

    32.2 Luff length. Maximum 4115 (13’6”) measured between centres of head and tack cringles.

    So, if I understand this ok, my luff is of max permitted length (forget the 0.02 difference, that could be due to measuring). And now I wonder why would someone have his sails with shorter luff? Or did I mess something up?


    later thought:
    I’ve invented one possible scenario:
    A person negotiating new sails is a cruiser foremost, and is primarily concerned with sailing in rough weather. So he first asks for a jib – optimized for his reefed down mainsail. Jib is made, but that also dictates the halyard length. So after that is done, the genoa is designed and made, but it’s luff can only be as long as the halyard allows, and that can turn out to be a bit less than geometry of the rest of the rig allows.
    On the other hand someone who is concerned primarily with racing, has his genoa luff as long as possible (nearly). And then afterwords, if he wants a jib too for daysailing, gets it with the luff of equal length, but a bit shorter foot than the one his cruiser friend has…
    Does that make sense?

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.