For the very latest activity, click here: From a Bare Hull

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Virtual" Halyards

Last weekend's inspection of the masts revealed something interesting. Looks they were built for "virtual halyards". That is a joke BTW. Here is what I mean...

Take the construction of the masts, this is apparently how it was done: Take the aluminum extrusion (the long piece), weld a "cap" on the end that is supposed to be the top. Take the previously constructed/welded "sheave box" that holds the masthead halyard sheaves, and weld it to the cap at "top" of the mast.

For you non sailing types, the idea is the sail halyards run up inside the mast, exit out a hole in the top, goes around a sheave (pulley) in the masthead box, then down and outside the mast to attach to the top of the sail.

The problem is, there is no "exit hole" at the top! The "cap" is sealed! Ok. Drill holes! But, the hole needs to be cut, through the cap, that is now covered by the "sheave box". It is quite narrow. One might be able to do it with a right-angle drill and a short bit. As long as the chuck is smaller than the width of the sheave box, it could be done.

This is one of those head scratching "Why did they do it this way?" questions. Was there a reason? Or did someone just forget to drill the holes before welding the sheave box on?

The case of the "virtual halyard" is the same for BOTH the main and mizzen mast. Seems there must have been a reason for doing it this way.

Update: We have concluded the masts were designed for external halyards (see the comments section). This was confirmed by Bud on the Westsail Owners site. Apparently all Westsails came with external halyards, though they could easily be modified for internal halyards. Neither of us were familiar with this setup, so it seems very foreign to us. Ya learn somethin' new...

From Building a Westsail 42: Mast and Rig
Post a Comment