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nmanno

Main halyard locks

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Hi all,

I am searching the internet and asking around with mast/sail makers but the world of halyard locks is a bit opaque so I am seeking your advice/views.

I have a racing multihull and I am getting a new mast for the platform. The previous set-up (Marstrom mast) was a rotating/canting wingmast with all the sails on locks. The headsails were on karver swiveling locks which work fine and I'll use a similar set-up. For the main, Marstrom put a lewamr jammer at the top of the mast with a trip line going to the base of the mast. This set-up didn't work great as the main halyard had a tendency on slipping in the jammer and so we had to use a jammer on deck as safety (which defeats the purpose). The main has 3 reefs in it and hence I will need 4 lock places on the mast track.

I am trying to find out what set-ups there are for main halyard locks and it's not an obvious/common topic as I can't find much info. I have only been able to find:

Antal - lock with trip line

Equipelite - lock without trip line

Am I missing something? Is there more out there? Any experience with the above 2 systems, i.e. with or without the trip line?

Thanks

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Mainsail halyard locks are cantankerous fuckers. Great when the work, deadly when they jam.

There are a few manufacturers and of them all, there's only one with which I'm familiar that's worth considering and that's the solution from Southern Spars.

All lock system of merit are based on a short section of mainsail track that is different but must exactly match the profile of your mainsail track. In many cases, this means replacing your main sail track when installing a locking solution.

There needs to be one short lock-in track section for each locking point. If you have three reefs, you need four lock-in track sections - one for each reef and one for full hoist.

The locking mechanism is integral to the headboard car and this is sold by the same vendor as sells you the lock-in track sections. There are two varieties:

  • An Active Lock system has a line that activates the lock when pulled. You raise the main above the point at which you want it to lock, and while pulling the lock line lower the main until it locks in place. To lower the main, you grind it up a bit and lower away, the unlocking is automagic.
  • An Active Unlocking system has a line that activates the trip when pulled. You raise the main above the point at which you want it to lock and then lower it onto the lock, the locking is automagic. To lower the main, you grind it up a bit, and while pulling the trip line you lower it past the lock-in point. You must "trip" once for each lock-in point if lowering all the way down. So if you were at full hoist, you need to "trip" four times to get the main down.

Failure mechanisms are the nightmare and both styles can get stuck on a lock and both styles can give false lock symptoms in which the headboard car is not properly registered with the lock-in track section with the main falling off the lock as a result.

Design of the head, gaff and installation of the headboard car are crucial to a good system.

The Southern Spars system is the only one I've ever seen perform flawlessly, but then, only when installed carefully and checked thoroughly. I've spent lots of time watching other systems fail to lock and fail to unlock. The latter is the worst, at times requiring mainsails to be cut free from the headboard in order to be lowered. This is especially not fun when the main is a brand new supermaxi 3Di on its first trial.

 

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3 hours ago, duncan (the other one) said:

how big is this thing?

 

Is there anything wrong with a Seldon style lock and multiple swage points?

Sorry I should have stated that. It's a 40ft carbon trimaran that can go offshore. Unfortunately the Selden part won't make it.

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3 hours ago, Moonduster said:

Mainsail halyard locks are cantankerous fuckers. Great when the work, deadly when they jam.

There are a few manufacturers and of them all, there's only one with which I'm familiar that's worth considering and that's the solution from Southern Spars.

All lock system of merit are based on a short section of mainsail track that is different but must exactly match the profile of your mainsail track. In many cases, this means replacing your main sail track when installing a locking solution.

There needs to be one short lock-in track section for each locking point. If you have three reefs, you need four lock-in track sections - one for each reef and one for full hoist.

The locking mechanism is integral to the headboard car and this is sold by the same vendor as sells you the lock-in track sections. There are two varieties:

  • An Active Lock system has a line that activates the lock when pulled. You raise the main above the point at which you want it to lock, and while pulling the lock line lower the main until it locks in place. To lower the main, you grind it up a bit and lower away, the unlocking is automagic.
  • An Active Unlocking system has a line that activates the trip when pulled. You raise the main above the point at which you want it to lock and then lower it onto the lock, the locking is automagic. To lower the main, you grind it up a bit, and while pulling the trip line you lower it past the lock-in point. You must "trip" once for each lock-in point if lowering all the way down. So if you were at full hoist, you need to "trip" four times to get the main down.

Failure mechanisms are the nightmare and both styles can get stuck on a lock and both styles can give false lock symptoms in which the headboard car is not properly registered with the lock-in track section with the main falling off the lock as a result.

Design of the head, gaff and installation of the headboard car are crucial to a good system.

The Southern Spars system is the only one I've ever seen perform flawlessly, but then, only when installed carefully and checked thoroughly. I've spent lots of time watching other systems fail to lock and fail to unlock. The latter is the worst, at times requiring mainsails to be cut free from the headboard in order to be lowered. This is especially not fun when the main is a brand new supermaxi 3Di on its first trial.

 

Thanks for that insight. I contacted Southern Spars for my new mast but they don't ("want to") do them for my trimaran and so sent me to Hall who suggested to install an Antal track with locking car.

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1 hour ago, JL92S said:

Never used them but looked into fitting one of the head stay locks a while back

https://www.alphalocksystems.com/

That is Eric Hall's "new" lock which uses magnets instead of springs. I saw it at the Newport Boat show however it was very pricey, almost $8K if I remember correctly for a 4T lock. 

Antal makes 2 mainsail lock systems, both for the HS22 and HS24 system and both offer tracks which can be glued onto the mast. The HS24 one is newer and incorporates a special reef point lock which allows the car to slide over it while the one at the mast head has one which doesn't require a trip line. Simply pull it up a few cm's and it automatically disengages which makes reefing much easier. 

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<thread drift>

I have never really been able to wrap my head around why you'd want to lock a halyard with a device that, at least to me, thru anecdotal evidence only, appears to fail so frequently. the risk/reward ratio just doesn't seem to pass the smell test.

</thread drift>

 

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4 hours ago, RImike said:

That is Eric Hall's "new" lock which uses magnets instead of springs. I saw it at the Newport Boat show however it was very pricey, almost $8K if I remember correctly for a 4T lock. 

Antal makes 2 mainsail lock systems, both for the HS22 and HS24 system and both offer tracks which can be glued onto the mast. The HS24 one is newer and incorporates a special reef point lock which allows the car to slide over it while the one at the mast head has one which doesn't require a trip line. Simply pull it up a few cm's and it automatically disengages which makes reefing much easier. 

How long ago did you see the Alpha lock? I've called their phone from the website recently and they seem to have gone into limbo. Rigging Projects RPG Halyard Lock  is on my 'to do' list for new build 50' cat.

 

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@Rasputin22 Last month at the Newport Boat Show. He showed how the lock composes of 4 parts (2 halves and 2 gears/rotating mechanism). Interesting but pricey and seems like it's a start to something better yet to come. 

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20 minutes ago, MR.CLEAN said:

or patent

The "new" design (he designed the old spring version as well however the IP that went along it was sold to Southern) is now patent pending as it uses magnets instead of springs. 

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My ex-boat had a Marstrom carbon stick with a clever lock.

The halyard was rope to wire, which had appropriately placed slugs for each hoist point. The mast had, after the top sheave, a set of two plates spaced (at the top) to allow the wire but not the slug, with a ramp that the slug went over to a notch to receive the slug. To release, hoist the halyard a bit high, slug goes over another ramp, and into a slot which allows the sail to drop. 

I’ve tried to draw it

4D3BA642-1252-4E76-A19C-B7C8E79A7B0C.jpeg

It was, I believe, custom designed by either Randy Smyth or Dub Granger. 

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3 hours ago, Max Rockatansky said:

My ex-boat had a Marstrom carbon stick with a clever lock.

The halyard was rope to wire, which had appropriately placed slugs for each hoist point. The mast had, after the top sheave, a set of two plates spaced (at the top) to allow the wire but not the slug, with a ramp that the slug went over to a notch to receive the slug. To release, hoist the halyard a bit high, slug goes over another ramp, and into a slot which allows the sail to drop. 

I’ve tried to draw it

4D3BA642-1252-4E76-A19C-B7C8E79A7B0C.jpeg

It was, I believe, custom designed by either Randy Smyth or Dub Granger. 

Same lock is used in Stars, Echells, Melges 32s, farr 30s and many others. Pretty simple but can be fussy. 

 

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22 minutes ago, ctutmark said:

 Pretty simple but can be fussy. 

 

Not if it's rinsed regularly!

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Had  halyard locks on a 30ft  race cat from NZ Spars and rigging. Absolutely faultless. Just needed a slug in the halyard for each reef 

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Did you look at the Karver mainsail halyard lock?

 

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On 10/15/2019 at 5:36 PM, nmanno said:

Hi all,

I am searching the internet and asking around with mast/sail makers but the world of halyard locks is a bit opaque so I am seeking your advice/views.

I have a racing multihull and I am getting a new mast for the platform. The previous set-up (Marstrom mast) was a rotating/canting wingmast with all the sails on locks. The headsails were on karver swiveling locks which work fine and I'll use a similar set-up. For the main, Marstrom put a lewamr jammer at the top of the mast with a trip line going to the base of the mast. This set-up didn't work great as the main halyard had a tendency on slipping in the jammer and so we had to use a jammer on deck as safety (which defeats the purpose). The main has 3 reefs in it and hence I will need 4 lock places on the mast track.

I am trying to find out what set-ups there are for main halyard locks and it's not an obvious/common topic as I can't find much info. I have only been able to find:

Antal - lock with trip line

Equipelite - lock without trip line

Am I missing something? Is there more out there? Any experience with the above 2 systems, i.e. with or without the trip line?

Thanks

I have sailed many, many miles in all kinds of conditions. I often wonder why there are those screw in main halyard shackles. I've never ever had a jib halyard shackle open uncommandedly.  Anyone have insight?

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On 10/18/2019 at 5:52 PM, mowgli said:

Did you look at the Karver mainsail halyard lock?

 

Thanks and no, I didn't but just had a look at it now. I am surprised they are not making more noise about their product as they are really good on locks generally.

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Hi guys,

thanks for all the pieces of feedback.

I have spoken to 2 mast builders and they both recommended the Antal product. Simple, relatively cheap and works well apparently. Also, the swan 50 use it, I assume if Swan uses them, it must be ok. I like the fact that the lock is de-facto at the bottom of the mast most of the time and hence can be serviced regularly. I'll probably go with that unless I hear otherwise.

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A friend of mine had an Antal lock (for HS22 track) for his main for a F32SR and he was not so happy with it an change to normal jammer on the deck.

I did look at it and I did find the lock and unlock lines very tiny( +/-2mm) I did see some shaving on an axel in the system after 4 times sailing.
After I did see it I decided not to go that rout.

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I heard horror stories about using a Constrictor in either the Farr 280 or C&C 30......   what will you do when it fails to unlock?    Don't get me wrong, I love Constrictor clutches and have converted my boat over to them several years ago but wouldn't want one up and inside my mast.

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@RailMeat uses them for almost all applications however his are on deck I believe and none are internal of a structure/mast. 

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For this application I would recommend the constrictor locks.  It will only require one hole and patch on the rig which is way less work than the others.  Also the track style car locks really don't have a solid design for the boats smaller than 100ft.  The loads of the lock track on the mast and the square top and you will be shearing bolts off in no time.  The only other solution is a bullet style lock internally but then you have bullets outside the rig when reefed and most sheaves are not wide enough for the bullet. 

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Harken makes a halyard lock for use with IMOCA 60 that would be good for a tri of that size.  ask them.  PLUS it works flawlessly

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We switched our main and jib halyards a few years back to Spinlock xx0812 clutches.  Zero slip on our 38' race boat.  

l-alt1_a4c26f8f-a336-48a9-bfb7-b14b50e4b5d6_1024x1024@2x.jpg?v=1571710107

 

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On 11/12/2019 at 10:19 PM, voodoochile said:

We switched our main and jib halyards a few years back to Spinlock xx0812 clutches.  Zero slip on our 38' race boat.  

l-alt1_a4c26f8f-a336-48a9-bfb7-b14b50e4b5d6_1024x1024@2x.jpg?v=1571710107

 

I’ve had those things let lines go on a 40’ monohull and Christ they go with a bang

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Anyone worried about clutch slippage or halyard creep should look at how they could put a 2:1 halyard on their mast. Boom, compression goes down, load goes down, wear on your line goes down, line diameter goes down. All good stuff!

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2:1 does reduce mast compression, not boom compression. But not nearly so much as a halyard lock, which removes 100% of the halyard induced compression, eliminates line wear and minimizes halyard diameter. Why go for a solution that requires twice the halyard and delivers half the benefit?

 

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^^ Reliability? Why would one put a mission critical close tolerance mechanism with springs and triggers and highly stressed levers way up out of sight?

Keep in mind also that an internal halyard does not contribute to the Euler buckling load like say, increasing jibstay tension does. 

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