New Halyard


The internal sheave and red halyard

The black halyard leading aft out of the mast head

The black halyard leading aft out of the mast head

Replacing the halyard is straight forward, but I’ll make a page here to explain one point in particular. It took a long time to figure out a way to lead the halyard up through the sheave at the top of the mast! Hopefully this brief explanation will save others hours of wasted time.

The title of this page is “New Halyard” but in fact I just restrung my old halyard after it broke. It snapped at the bowline knot at the head of the main sail and fell inside the mast. So I pulled it out from the base of the mast, found the opposite end to have a lot more life in it and swapped it end for end. Here’s how I restrung the halyard:

  1. Failed attempts
    1. I first tried just shoving the end of the halyard up and around the sheave. Fail.
    2. I then tried shoving a smaller messenger line up and around, but it kept bunching up. Fail.
    3. I then tried leading the messenger line up and around using a metal coat hanger. Fail.
    4. I then tried taping the end of the messenger line to the bottom of the sheave, working it around until it comes back out again, un-taping it, backing up the sheave to get the line to hang inside the mast and working it down. But there wasn’t enough weight to it. Fail.
  2. Success!! Lead the messenger line
    1. First find a small diameter line to use as a messenger line. We will later tie the halyard to this line and pull it through.
    2. Cut about an inch of metal coat hanger and attach it with plenty of tape to the messenger line. This will act as a weight to pull the line down the mast.
    3. With a small piece of tape, stick the end of the coat hanger to the sheave at the top of the mast.
    4. Now you can manually spin the sheave with your fingers and the coat hanger end of the messenger line will spin around and into the mast. Keep spinning until the end of the coat hanger comes out the bottom of the sheave.
    5. Detach the small piece of tape and allow the coat hanger end to hang free. Rotate the sheave back in the other direction until the coat hanger end is hanging free inside the mast.
    6. Carefully lead the messenger line into the mast as the weight of the coat hanger pulls the end of the line down the mast until it hits the bottom.
    7. Use another metal coat hanger to hook the messenger line at the base of the mast at the exit hole. A flashlight and someone wiggling the line from the top helps this process.
    8. Attach the end of the halyard to the messenger line so that it will lead from the top to the bottom. This puts less force on the halyard to messenger connection. You do NOT want the lines to separate inside the mast or you’ll have to start over again. I made the attachment using plenty of masking tape. A knot won’t work or it won’t lead through the sheave or exit hole.
  3. One note: You will have no idea how the halyard is led inside the mast. It may be wrapped around other internal halyards. It may pass on the wrong side of the internal spreader bar. The only way to find out is to pull the mast. Just know some chafe may exist over time if it is not led correctly.

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