Halyards Led Aft

Posted on Thursday 26 June 2008

One of the major projects this spring is something that I’ve debated on doing off and on. I finally decided to lead the halyards aft to the cockpit. Towards this end, I asked my friend Bob, of S/V Restless, to make up some hardware and modify the mast step on the Pretty Gee for me. He does beautiful work.

Here’s a photo of the new, modified mast step, with the halyard block attachment plates. The plates are made of 3/16″ 316 stainless steel plate and were drilled for 1/4″ halyard block shackles, and the bolts are 3/8″. The plates were then bent on a 70-ton hydraulic press brake. The holes in the mast step were drilled using a Bridgeport milling machine. I’m quite happy with the way they turned out. Thanks Bob!

New Mast Step with halyard block attachment plates

Here’s a photo of one of the four new double line clutches I’m installing to handle halyards led aft. The deck in the area where the new line clutch went in is solid glass, and the line clutch is installed with four 1/4-20 bolts, and backed with an 3/16″ aluminum plate. The labels on the Lewmar clutch are wrong. The two lines going to that clutch are the outhaul and the main halyard.

Starboard Side Lewmar D1 double line clutch for outhaul and main halyard

The other three line clutches will be to port of the sliding companionway hatch. I am installing a third winch there, for dealing with the lines led through those three line clutches. I’ll post photos of those line clutches and the winch when I’m done installing them. These lines will use Harken ESP deck organizers, rather than the stanchion mount blocks I used for the main sail halyard and outhaul.

The new line clutches are Lewmar D1 doubles. The reason I went with Lewmar line clutches, besides the fact that the boat already has two Lewmar D1 line clutches used for the ama and net locking lines, is that the Lewmar line clutches have repeatedly been shown to have the least line wear and best holding grip out of the major brands of line clutches, as seen in this Practical Sailor 2006 review. The cam-based designs, like all line clutches other than the Lewmars, tend to abrade the line more than the Domino Plate system used by the Lewmar clutches.

The one major disadvantage to the Lewmar design is the somewhat limited line diameter their line clutches can handle. For instance, the Lewmar D1s I’m installing can only handle 3/8″-7/16″ (10-12 mm) lines. The Spinlock or Garhauer line clutches can handle lines from 5/16″ – 9/16″ in diameter.

Some brands, like the Spinlock XAS line clutches, can not be easily released under load, and as such I consider them to be line jammers, more than proper line clutches.

As part of this project, I removed the boom’s internal 2:1 purchase for the outhaul, since I will be using a winch to tension the outhaul there isn’t a need for an internal purchase any longer.

I will be using the sheaves freed up, by removing the outhaul purchase, for a third reefing point on the mainsail that I’m having Harding Sails install next week. The reefing system will be a two-line reefing system, much for the reasons described in the Pineapple Sails website. Four of the eight lines being led aft currently are going to be reefing lines. I have to get another double line clutch, so I can lead the third reef’s lines aft as well.

Also, as part of the halyards led aft project, I am ordering new halyards made of New England Ropes T-900. They will be slightly smaller in diameter than the existing 7/16″ Sta-set halyards, but much stronger. The BL of 7/16″ Sta-Set is 6600 lbs. The BL of 10 mm T-900 is 11,800 lbs. It is also much lower stretch.

New Main Sheet

I’m also installing a new mainsheet on the boat. It consists of Harken 2618 and Harken 2604 blocks, shown below. The new mainsheet is made of 100′ of 10mm T-900. It is actually stronger than the current 1/2″ Sta-Set mainsheet and should run more freely with the new blocks and thinner line.

Harken 2618, 57mm Carbo Triple Block with Cam and BecketHarken 2604, 57 mm Carbo Triple Block


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