Highlander Rigging Roundup
Quicken Up Your Halyards
By: Mike Perakis
The kids are restless, the sun is blazing, the wind is fresh, the time is right and you're stuck at the dock trying to untangle your main halyard off of the winch. You try to pull the tangle out... no luck. You try a screwdriver... nope. Finally, you manage to pull all of the halyard off of the winch drum and into the cockpit. Then slowly re-wind it back onto the winch. Meanwhile, your buddy next to you at the dock has already returned to the dock and is re-filling his cooler for another lap around the lake.
This entire situation could have been avoided by upgrading your halyard to a "quick-up" system consisting of two mast exit plates, two tracks and two halyard hooks. Removing the bronze winch drums also saves a pound or two on the mast, making it easier to tote around.
An added bonus of removing the drums is that we can beef up the back edge of the mast, which has two gaping holes for the winches. With the addition of a length of stainless steel (NO MILD STEEL!!) threaded rod, two washers and four nuts, you can put some strength back into the mast for under $20. Your local boat yard or steel salvage yard should be able to find the rod. The hardware store has all the rest. The rod is inserted into the slot and the nuts threaded on as you go. Then just snug the topmost and lowest nuts onto the mast section and follow with the second nuts to lock the first in place. Some threadlock compound (Loctiteâ„¢ would be a very good idea too.
The track, hooks and exit plates can be order from the Allen Boat Company (716-842-0800) for about $35 each side. You can re-use your original halyards by splicing a rope tail onto them, but will probably be so twisted that they wont run free inside the mast. I highly recommend getting new halyards from Allen at $60 each.
Be sure to leave your old halyards in the mast until you have the new ones. You can use the old ones to pull the new ones in.
Have fun, be careful and speed up your hoists.