Sweare Deep

Main Halyard Line Choice

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My current main halyard is 12mm (½") Lyros Pro, which is a polyester cover over an SK78 core. The halyard feeds through a Spinlock XXA clutch to a Lewmar 50 electric winch.

Over the course of four seasons the cover has become twisted around the core forming a helical ridge in the cover. As a result it is now hard to feed the halyard back out when dropping the main. I suspect the self-tailing mechanism is responsible, especially since the wavelength of the helix is comparable to the circumference of the self-tailing mechanism, i.e. one full twist for once around the self-tailer. I do not believe it is due to poor coiling of the halyard tail -- we're careful to coil properly, and besides we usually just leave the tail on the cockpit floor or throw it down the companionway.

My question is two fold: have others seen similar behaviour, and which line would you recommend in which the cover rotates less freely about the core? Would Polytec SK78 be a good, though rather spendy, choice?

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With the main up and in an uncrowded area (no other boats) trail the main halyard behind the boat. Will help work the twists off the end. Won't get rid of them all but should improve. 

You mention coiling properly, I ran out of fingers long ago to count the number of times I have heard this while seeing people making pretty round loops in their line and imparting a twist in the line.

Poly-tec won't be a magic problem solver  

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Yes, we’ve done the trailing the halyard behind the boat trick, which is good for working out hockles (when someone has coiled it incorrectly) but does nothing for this problem.

i completely agree about people making pretty round loops — drives me nuts. As you appreciate, a correctly coiled line naturally adopts a figure of eight.

One thought is to take the cover off and put it back on, but with a 170 feet of halyard that’s not as easy as it sounds.

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Have a look at your lead in angle to the winch drum. If it is too low then the friction as it rides over the skirt of the drum will add a considerable amount of twist. On that note, every part of your system is potentially able to induce twist. Mast base blocks, anything that the line goes over. 

Also, hard to say from the specs given but is the halyard 1:1 or 2:1? People would be surprised how often they let twist run out of the working end of a halyard without even thinking about it when attaching a shackle to a headboard. 2:1, being a "captive" system for the most part, does not allow this.

Chris is right, PolyTec will just be more expensive twisted rope.

Am I still allowed to comment on rigging Chris? Let me know when you guys give me the boot.

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Mark added some additional comments I completely agree with on the routing of the line. I would also add to make sure the sheaves are truly turning.  

 

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Many thanks -- I think Mark has nailed the problem. The lead in angle is indeed low so the incoming line contacts the skirt of the drum. Would be very hard to do anything to change that, so a new halyard after four seasons seems the simplest "solution." However, I'll go with something less spendy than Poly Tec.

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I generally form a figure 8 when coiling the line using my hand and going around the winch. In doing so the inherent twist i removed. You could also remove the core and untwist the cover and re-insert the core but then again at that point you might just want to get new cover which will be about 20% less than a new line if your core is in good shape. 

 

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I'll give you a crisp $20 for your 4 year old halyard ;)

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Ordered some new cover from APS today (discounted as part of their getting out of sailing clearance) which should do the trick as the core is just fine.

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