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billygoat

Halyard pulleys and sail track lubrication

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I'm having a terrible time raising and lowering my mainsail. It's just getting stuck.

This afternoon I almost couldn't pull the halyard out of the cleat at the mast head to lower the main - I ended up trucker-hitching it off the bow stay saddle for mechanical advantage, pulling all my weight on it, flexing the mast, completely unloading the forestay before it finally moved enough to uncleat.

I'm not sure whether the sail is just not sliding in the track, or whether the pulleys at the mast head are stuffed.

Well, I know the pulleys are stuffed. They're very old and worn. How big are they supposed to be, to source replacements? Mine look to be 28mm diameter, 9mm thick, with a hole to bear on a 6mm pin.

So, with them soon to be replaced - is my sail sticking in the track? I've only sailed in freshwater lakes, so corrosion and salt isn't a consideration, but it's definitely getting harder to hoist. What do I lube the track or sail luff bolt rope with?

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Halyard pulleys sorted. As a stop gap at least.

I was in Geelong this afternoon where my "local" chandlery is. Turns out they go sailing Sunday afternoon and shut the shop. Good for them, but I have no plans to get anywhere near a chandlery again, any time soon 😕

Bunnings to the rescue. Sliding door wheels are a lot like mast head sheaves. They all have ball bearings rather than being plain nylon, but there's a heavy duty option that's all stainless in the guts (unknown "heavy duty" polymer in the wheel). 32mm diameter, about the right thickness, fits on the bearing pin. That will do for about $8 a pop. If it seizes, we find plan B.

I've read varying opinions about lubricating sail tracks, but universal suggestion is to clean it, which I haven't done. Yet. Ever. Truth be told, there's probably a bit of lake mud in there, especially near the head 🤭.  I'll give the bolt rope / luff of the sail a good scrub too. Then I might spray a bit of silicon lube into the mast track, or I might not.

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Bolt rope shrinkage causes the sail to jam in the track, if your sail has a lot of wrinkles around the bolt rope, you need to ease the luff. There is about 60/80mm of stitches through to bolt rope at the bottom, unpick this and starting from the head, pull the sail down the bolt rope. Most older sails will end up with the bolt rope 80cm up the luff.

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I did this with quite a recent sail. I put a short length of bolt rope (the white stuff, Bunnings will probably be ok) into the bottom just to make sure the sail isn't pulled out by the outhaul.

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On 3/5/2019 at 4:15 PM, knobblyoldjimbo said:

I did this with quite a recent sail. I put a short length of bolt rope (the white stuff, Bunnings will probably be ok) into the bottom just to make sure the sail isn't pulled out by the outhaul.

Took a look at my sail today and found that this has already been done. The bolt rope is hand-stitched about a foot up the luff, and there's a corresponding extra length of generic rope in the bolt rope sleeve.

I've unpicked the hand stitching - will see how things move next time I hoist the sail.

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