Friday, May 25, 2007

Changing Halyard Blocks on the Beach

I've had difficulty raising the mainsail ever since I re-launched Element after the refit. The problem is that there are two halyards for the main, one for the peak of the gaff and one for the throat. In the Wharram plans for the Tiki 21, Tiki 26 and Tiki 30, maybe other sizes as well, a side-by-side double block is shown hanging on a penant from the masthead for the purpose of handling these two halyards. The problem is, the double block wants to twist and bind, even if you try to keep equal pressure on both halyards when hoisting the sail. This is especially true in stronger winds when singlehanding and it's difficult to keep the boat headed upwind when raising and lowering sail.

From reading of other Tiki owner's experiences on the forums, I determined that it would be best to do away with the double halyard block arrangement and replace it with two separate single blocks, one for each halyard. I put this off long enough, so during my 4-day sailing trip last weekend, I decided it was time to remedy the problem. I didn't have any extra single blocks on board, so I decided to "borrow" two from the mainsheet traveler arrangement. The winds were near calm this past Sunday morning when I woke up at anchor off Horn Island, so I moved the boat as close to the beach as possible, set my main anchor off the bow and pulled the stern to the beach until the rudders were stuck in the sand. I set another anchor off the aft beam, carried ashore onto the beach to hold this position, and lowered the mast so the masthead was hanging over the beach to make changing the blocks easy.

Element backed up the beach with stern anchor set and mast lowered.

The new separate single halyard blocks. These are hung from the masthead on Dacron lanyards. The throat halyard block is positioned slightly lower than the peak halyard block, to prevent them from binding each other. This job only took a few minutes and the soon the mast was back up and I found the mainsail was easy to raise and lower, without any binding or hanging up whatsoever.

Here's a shot of the masthead showing the new halyard block arrangement, (Click on the photo to view full sized). This completely corrected the problem, and made me glad I had a boat small and simple enough to lower and re-raise the mast on my own, on a remote beach.
You will also notice the halyards are outside the mainsail luff pocket. I will put them back inside next time I remove the sail from the mast. I had pulled them outside the pocket due to the sail raising difficulties, but now know that this didn't have anything to do with the problem.

1 comment:

tsunamichaser said...

Hey Scott,

It looks like the twist happens becausre the throat halyard block wants to lie athwartships while the peak halyard block sits fore aft. I'll have to think about this as I rig my mast.