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Mast top main halyard block

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Mast top main halyard block

Postby TAM » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:32 pm

Has anyone replace the mast top halyard block so it pulls straight when the sail is at the top rather than to the side? With my new Musclehead, I can't get proper tension because there is too much lateral pull. (sail must be sightly longer)


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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby Kelly Hanson East » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:49 am

Terry - just checking to make sure you have the working end of the halyard closest to the mast and not the other way around....I sailed with this wrong for 2 years..
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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby TAM » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:24 am

Thanks, for checking, but yes I do. Only seem to need an extra inch or so.
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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby Terry » Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:41 pm

I replaced my mast top main halyard block. Last spring when I bent my mast I had to transfer all the hardware onto a replacement mast. It was very dificult to get that stupid cheap block off the old mast and in the end, once I loosened the nuts and screws holding it in place, I finally hack sawed it off. So I went out and got myself a nice Harken block with real bearings in it and chucked the old cheap one. I also made sure that I mounted it as high as possible and lined it up as close to the sail slot as possible so that the pull on the sail head would always be vertical. I also have the Musclehead mainsail so I was aware of the problem. It works much better now and the halyard slides over that bearing Harken block so well that just the weight of the halyard will pul the halyard shackle to the top of the mast if you let go of it, so don't ever let go of it or you'll be sorry.
It is not a big deal to replace it and it will make your sail easier to hoist. I also cleaned and scrubbed the new mast slot with soap and water and a brush and rag, then let it dry and then sprayed it with sailcote dry lube spray.
I also notice that it is very easy to hoist the last few inches of sail from the mast as opposed to the halyard aft position. Seems all the turns and pulleys in the aft arrangement make it very difficult to hoist that last couple inches. One day I was using the winch to get those last few inches and wondered if I was going to break something, so I went up to the mast to get a feel for how taught it was and the last inches moved easily/effortlessly, yet when I went back to the cockpit and yanked on it it would barely budge. I got my wife to winch it while I stood at the mast and pulled the slack. I checked all the pulley blocks and they all work fine since they are either Ronstad or Harken, both with bearings. It must be just all the turns that cause the line to bind.
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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby Love MACs » Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:40 pm

Sorry to side track your thread: But I was just looking at mast today, as it lay on the support, checking on all the hard ware and yes the block on the top of the main does look cheap and in need of replacing with a harken. But I also noticed that there was no cap on the top of the mast? I would have swore that there was a cap on the mast when I checked her over and started to trailer her back home from Atlanta. Am I just nuts :? Well the answer is most likely yes, but that is another story :D


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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby Rick Westlake » Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:55 pm

There wasn't a mast cap on Bossa Nova's mast, either, when I bought her - but there was a bird's nest a few feet down, and said bird had trashed the VHF antenna cable.

While your mast is down, here's what I did: I got a sample of vinyl siding (actually left over from my siding job that summer) and cut it so that the "strake" fit down my luff-track and the "face" fit on top of the mast. Then I secured it in place by bolting my new Orca Green Marine anchor light on top of it. (An expensive-as-heck thing to use to hold down a mast cap, but it does have that other purpose!)
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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby Rick Westlake » Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:59 pm

TAM wrote:Has anyone replace the mast top halyard block so it pulls straight when the sail is at the top rather than to the side? With my new Musclehead, I can't get proper tension because there is too much lateral pull. (sail must be sightly longer)


Terry

Another possible cause: Could it be that the halyard eye-splice binds in the block? A double-braid eye-splice leaves you with a "fat' area in the line, several inches long, above the eye; this can be thick enough to jam in the block, leaving you unable to haul the luff tight.

This happened to me on Bossa Nova, when I got my new C2000 mainsail last year. To see if that was the cause, I tied in a spare shackle with a tight bowline, above the eye-splice. Problem solved - it ran up tight and set right! I cut off the eye-splice and secured the halyard to the shackle with a double-bowline knot, the strongest knot I know for the job. It's been fine.

If you use a shackle, you can seize the free end of the bowline to the eye of the knot with a couple of stitches of sail-thread. Or you can be a real "old salt," and just tie the halyard directly to the headboard.
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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby Matt19020 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:59 pm

Terry I am not sure why you would not be able to haul it all the way up.
My only mods I have on my Musclehead are a Boomkicker and I replaced my halyard with a high quality, low stretch line and it seems to work fine with room to spare

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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby TAM » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:33 pm

Sounds like we have a similar setup. Weird though, I just need another inch to get proper tension. Do you happen to have a picture of where your tack connects? I'm wondering it there is too much slack there. I'm using the Musclehead loose footed since I have a cradle cover and the may contribute to a higher/looser tack attachment.
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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby Matt19020 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:54 pm

I am betting the loose footed sail is the difference..also I would try switching out to a low stretch line I believe the factory line has about 3"+ of stretch over a 65' length and a low stretch could be only 1"
Below is the best pic I found so far..... goodluck
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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby TAM » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:57 pm

I just noticed that your main doesn't have a slug at the head board. I'll try removing mine once the snow melts. That will probably make a big difference, plus I don't have to detach the slug to put the sail in the cover.
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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby Matt19020 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:05 pm

TAM
The reason I did that was so I can put the sail cover on without any issues.... I have not had any probems so far ...
More Info here:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=13544
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Re: Mast top main halyard block

Postby restless » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:21 am

Interesting thread.
I saw this other thread and thought the idea of putting a sheave in the backstay connector seemed like a nice tidy idea. Could be good for the topping lift, though the other side will run tight to the sail... :|

http://www.macgregorsailors.com/modt/index.php?view=1288

has anyone got any comments on this?
I keep thinking it would be nice to run a couple of lines inside the mast, but have not as yet seen any of those entry/exit pulleys in any of the local swindleries.
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