Hi there, unfortunately my main halyard shredded and pulled out from the mast, I have been up the mast twice and cannot get anything to feed Down to pull a new line. Anyone have an idea of what's at the top?
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The masthead has two sheaves. One on the aft facing section where the backstay attaches and the other in the main part of the mast. You need to pass the messenger line over both. Tie some fishing line onto a section of bicycle chain about 8" long. Use a straightened coat hanger to push the chain twisted sideways over both sheaves, then rotate it so it bends and starts dropping inside the mast. The chain should start to pull the fishing line. You can fish the chain out the mast exit using a coat hanger bent to form a small hook. Then tie a stronger messenger line and pull that through. Once that is done, you should be able to attach the halyard to the messenger line and pull it through.
Put a reeving splice in the end of the halyard to make it easier.
Austin, I got the same experience in June. Ironic how your emotion slowly moves from - arg - I lost the beginning of my season - to gosh ... lucky I was not hung from there :-)
After 4 trips up there and countless hours, I did manage to pass the messenger. I could not get the steps mentioned by Bill to work right away, but by building on it: * 10" hacksaw blade cut in half lengthwise - no more than 1/4" in width so it can fit partly in the sheave groove: The clearance on top of the sheaves is not enough to pass the bike chain - so you need an apparatus than allows the chain to be fed partly in the sheaves groove. * remove the first sheave! that is easy and was the game changer.Building a small wire handle to prevent it to go swimming helped me. * small fishing lead I have remolded to pass in the sheave groove - attached by a fishing line to the chain: I could not manage to prevent the chain to fold on itself, but passing the small lead first made all the difference - enough to keep the chain to fold along my blade mercilessly pushing it up to the sheave...
An important part - was the adjustable splice kleimheist to deal with the taper of the mast during the ascension.
In Fireballs we use something magnetic instead of a fishing lead. Once the magnetic weight (bolt, screw, etc. ) is passed through the sheeve you can slowly drag it down the mast using a magnet on the outside. It is tricky but it does work and will ensure that the halyard is not wrapped around other lines. It also works when the mast is horizontal. I heard that they used a mouse in olden days with a line tied to its tail...