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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


The Incredible Hull said...

Any chance that the halyards were meant to run external to the mast. i.e. over the sheaves. Do you have exit holes in the mast about 6 feet above the deck?

rj said...

We were wondering about that. There are no exit holes (actually no holes at all except for shroud attachment points).

But, the sheaves are set so "deep" into the headbox (see the holes closest to the center of the headbox in the pic) that I doubt this setup is for external halyards. At least that is my guess.

Very strange.

The Incredible Hull said...

Sorry for the sad sketch but does this make sense.

This was the arrangement on my last boat.

The Incredible Hull said...

Go to photo 120.

rj said...

Ahh. I see what you mean!

Well, on your sketch, where the small sheave forward is on your drawing, there was a toggle installed. So, no sheave there. The rest of the arrangement would limit the sails to something like only a main and jib.

Some of these did come with spinnakers. No roller furling for jibs back then so dual jib halyards were unlikely.
There is no opening for the staysail halyard either so that may have been external as well.

So, I guess it is possible it was intended to be rigged for external halyards!

Seems somewhat messy and limiting IMHO.

Seems it could be easily converted to internal if those holes could be drilled.

I will have to ask around the Westsail forum see if external rigging was originally spec'd.

Thanks for that! This is somewhat enlightening.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it can be of any help, but on my boat ( Tanzer 26, 1980 ) there are only 2 halyards, all external to the mast. The spinaker halyard is carried by a block afix to the mast head crane.

tania said...

i have a project and i need help plzzzzzz

in what order these go ( im a girl and i have no idea :)

1. hull
2. deck
3. engine
propeller shaft
fuel tank
fuel filters
4. sails
5. masts
6. boom
7. roller furling
8. wires
9. sheets
10. blocks

generator , batteries, lights, charger , circuit panels\

stove, propane tank, hose, solenoid, sink , faucet, microwave

head : toilets, pump, sanitation hose, sink , faucet, shower,

fresh water system: tank pump accumulator, hose

i need the order of these categories and sub categories in order to build a sail boat

thank you for all the help :)

rj said...

That order doesn't sound too bad.